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FBI Alleged To Have Backdoored OpenBSD's IPSEC Stack

vsedach Re:But but but (536 comments)

There's easier ways to add backdoors to Linux. Most distributions come with loads of binary drivers, anything could be in there. This is one of the reasons why OpenBSD will not include any binary drivers.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Re:21st Century started in 1958? (330 comments)

I am totally missing the point you're trying to make. I think the important parts of CLOS and AOP is the idea of "join points" - flexible ways of specifying when particular code needs to run. There's nothing fundamental or theoretical about it, but it's an extremely powerful way of making simpler systems (otherwise you're just copy-pasting patterns to program around the fact that everything in your system is being forced through message-passing).

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Re:Hi- I'm the Author (330 comments)

I think it could work. The book starts out at a very basic level. The only trouble I could see is that it doesn't define what functions and variables are, but it explains how to define a variable and how to define a function and what that does. Other than that, it pretty much starts out at the beginning explaining what the different types are and how they work, arithmetic and binary numbers, etc.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Re:Lisp is cool... (330 comments)

When it comes to typing, there's no advantage to microcode and baked-in type schemes vs byte-addressed but word-aligned machines (ie - pretty much 99% of today's computers). On 32-bit systems you get 3 bits of tag - more than enough for the basic types you need to make a fast runtime. 64-bit gives you 4 tag bits, and if you actually look at any CL compilers today, most of them are unused.

Further, you can exploit various properties of modulo arithmetic over the full pointer to actually produce *faster* code than would be possible with baked-in type checking (see the alignment section in "Arm porting notes and issues" in the Clozure wiki; I'd link but Slashdot box won't let me copy-paste, probably as an anti-spam measure).

As far as GC goes, the biggest problem isn't the hardware, it's the operating system. Look at the Azure Linux kernel patches - they're getting similar GC performance on commodity 64-bit hardware as they did on their custom Java processors with various GC-accelerating features.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Re:Lisp is cool... (330 comments)

You'd be surprised at the number of people working on that (in terms of large-scale "LispM in the cloud" startups, and even new OS efforts). The problem IMO is that Lisp programmers were 15 years late to the Free Software game, and didn't understand the value of portability. The 90s were basically a lost decade for Lisp infrastructure because of that, but I think it's really changed in the past 5 years.

It's amazing how prescient RMS was on the issue. If you didn't know, he started the FSF because he believed Symbolics, the first commercial Lisp machine spinoff from MIT, was going down the wrong path. He was totally validated on everything. If Genera had been open sourced, Symbolics probably would still be a thriving company today.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Re:LISP a bad choice as a starter language. (330 comments)

I think Conrad addresses this criticism effectively in the first few chapters of the book. There's no weird recursive code, and the whole premise is you just download CLISP, get a prompt, and start working (on Debian, apt-get it). That's not any harder than getting Python.

I also don't see how Lisp is not a marketable skill, it's been pretty good at putting bread on my table for a few years now.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Re:21st Century started in 1958? (330 comments)

CLOS IMO has almost nothing to do with Smalltalk or object-oriented programming. It's a system for structuring code in large programs in a way more akin to aspect-oriented programming (I think that Kiczales' subsequent work on AOP in Java is far less usable than CLOS). When combined with dynamic binding, CLOS is really the only practical solution for building really large, maintainable systems today without resorting to "brute force and thousands of slaves" (as Alan Kay calls it) and re-writes every 10 years. The only alternatives that seem to work is to break everything up into untrusted components of a distributed system, but that's a lot of overhead and extra engineering if you can't use off-the-shelf stuff.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Hi- I'm the Reviewer (330 comments)

I'm the reviewer, so I can probably explain how this happens.

I started out writing posts on my blog about old obscure distributed systems and programming books that I thought deserved more attention. Then I got a copy of Masterminds of Programming for giving a lightning talk at a conference (International Lisp Conference 2007; O'Reilly were giving out books to lightning talkers), and decided to write a review on my blog (it's an interesting book).

A few months later, Peter Seibel's Coders at Work was about to come out, and Peter noticed that I had written about Masterminds and decided that I would be interested in a preview copy of Coders at Work (which I was). Then he mentioned that I should consider writing a review for Coders at Work on Slashdot instead of my blog, and I liked the suggestion, so I wrote a review (it is a good book). Peter says it helped the book's sales a lot.

I heard about Land of Lisp from the O'Reilly media relations mailing list (I'm on the list because I'm the O'Reilly User Groups program contact for the Montreal JavaScript user's group; they give us discounts and freebies). The media relations list is basically O'Reilly spamming you with descriptions of upcoming titles - if you think something is interesting, you ask them to send you a review copy. Actually, I had heard about Land of Lisp a long time ago (the book was originally supposed to come out in 2007), but forgot about it in the meantime. If it wasn't for the O'Reilly mailing list, I wouldn't have heard about the book until after it had come out (and then only because I'm very involved in the Lisp community).

So the lesson here is you should look for someone interested in the book's subject who has written about other books before, offer to send them a review copy, and suggest they write a review for Slashdot. It helps to stroke their egos ("I really like your writing, would you like a super-special advanced exclusive preview copy for super-smart special people? The proles won't get to see this for another two months!")

Obviously blogs are the best places to find these people; look at blog aggregators on whatever subjects your book is about (for example, the Lisp-related postings on my blog are syndicated on Planet Lisp and Russian Lisp Planet).

O'Reilly has by far the best book promotion efforts of any technical publisher (media relations mailing list, user's group program, and an extremely active presence at conferences), but it's actually not very effective compared to being part of whatever community your book is about, and simply informing community members of your book's existence. Conrad does pretty well in this respect. I'm sure if I hadn't written a review of Land of Lisp for Slashdot, someone else would have.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Re:Oh Come On! This is a Book Review! (330 comments)

Hahaha, I knew someone would make that comment! But it really is called "why's (poignant) guide to ruby" and not "why's poignant guide to ruby."

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Book review submissions broken? (1 comments)

Ok, this is better than the previous try in that the first paragraph hasn't been chopped (see my other submissions for an example of what I'm talking about; I posted this in Chrome, the other ones in Firefox and Opera), but the book info box is not showing up. I've filed a bug report on the SourceForge Slashdot bug tracker already.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Bug in book review submissions (1 comments)

Ok I've tried re-submitting this with a clean form, and it looks like book review submissions are broken. I'm filing a bug report on SF.

more than 3 years ago
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Land of Lisp

vsedach Book review/submission (1 comments)

I tagged this with bookreview but attached a URL to the book's website. As I'm seeing this right now, it *definitely* does not look like a book review. Should I re-submit without putting in a URL?

more than 3 years ago
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Coders At Work

vsedach Re:Programmers at Work (1989) (207 comments)

Talk about not knowing the history of the field! I haven't read Programmers at Work yet, but it is on my to-read list. I completely forgot about it when writing this review.

more than 4 years ago
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Coders At Work

vsedach Re:Does this complement "Code Complete" (207 comments)

Code Complete obviously has a lot more technical details in its advice on writing code. A lot of them are very specific to C/C++. A lot of them should be obvious. Coders at Work has a lot more general guidance that can be applied in any programming setting, and more importantly they're put into better context so you can kind of get why people recommend doing what they recommend. Code Complete is not that great at explaining "why." I think both are worth reading.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Land of Lisp

vsedach vsedach writes  |  more than 3 years ago

vsedach (1630061) writes "Remember the 1980s and BASIC, when programming was simple, brains flew through space, and everyone ate lasers? Computer magazines came with code listings, and classics like David Ahl's BASIC Computer Games offered a fun and easy way to get started in computer programming. Conrad Barski remembers, and with Land of Lisp, he's set out to demystify programming in the 21st century.

This is no small feat. Modern computers don't come with anything that looks like BASIC. Getting started with a "real" programming language like Java requires installing and learning hundreds of megabytes worth of compiler and integrated development environment. Barski's thesis is that Lisp is a refreshing alternative — it offers BASIC's ease of getting started (get a prompt, type in code, and it works), while providing a combination of modern features unmatched in other programming languages.

The first thing that immediately jumps out about Land of Lisp is that it has a lot of comics. The book is an outgrowth of Conrad's Casting SPELs in Lisp illustrated online tutorial, which originally appeared in 2004 (incidentally, around the same time as why's (poingant) guide to ruby, probably the most famous and epic programming language comic book). The comics are humorous and irreverent — if you're a C programmer, you might be surprised to know that you're a Cro-Magnon fighting the COBOL dinosaur.

Despite the silly humor and Barski's approach of introducing programming completely from scratch, Land of Lisp builds up to cover topics like graph theory, search algorithms, functional and network programming, and domain-specific languages. All throughout, the book emphasises various techniques for doing I/O. The topics covered will leave the reader with a solid understanding of what modern programming entails and a good basis from which to explore either application or lower-level systems programming.

The most unintentionally impressive aspect of Land of Lisp is that it manages to completely explain web programming. No more hiding behind complicated software stacks and impenetrable web server packages — chapter 13, titled "Let's Create a Web Server!," does exactly what it promises, in only 15 pages. Later chapters introduce HTML and SVG to build a graphical game as a web application. If nothing else, this book will leave the reader with all the necessary basic skills and total confidence in their understanding to build real-world web applications.

Other introductory programming books use Lisp, but none fall into the same category as Land of Lisp. Abelson, Sussman and Sussman's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs , arguably the greatest introductory programming book ever written, requires a solid math background to understand the examples. Felleisen et alia's How to Design Programs offers a much deeper introduction to programming than Land of Lisp, but is an academic textbook, and hence lacks funny cartoons and may be boring. Friedman et alia's The Little Schemer is a favorite of many, but doesn't have LoL's real-world applications.

Land of Lisp is an excellent book for someone who wants to learn how to program, for web programmers who want to move up out of their niche and start learning about CS theory and systems programming, and for anyone who is puzzled about what really goes on behind the web and wants to learn what web programming is really about. Experienced programmers who want to jump into using Lisp are probably better off with Peter Seibel's Practical Common Lisp, though.

BONUS: Watch Conrad's hilarious promotional music video for the book."
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Land of Lisp

vsedach vsedach writes  |  more than 3 years ago

vsedach (1630061) writes "This is no small feat. Modern computers don't come with anything that looks like BASIC. Getting started with a "real" programming language like Java requires installing and learning hundreds of megabytes worth of compiler and integrated development environment. Barski's thesis is that Lisp is a refreshing alternative — it offers BASIC's ease of getting started (get a prompt, type in code, and it works), while providing a combination of modern features unmatched in other programming languages.

The first thing that immediately jumps out about Land of Lisp is that it has a lot of comics. The book is an outgrowth of Conrad's Casting SPELs in Lisp illustrated online tutorial, which originally appeared in 2004 (incidentally, around the same time as why's (poingant) guide to ruby, probably the most famous and epic programming language comic book). The comics are humorous and irreverent — if you're a C programmer, you might be surprised to know that you're a Cro-Magnon fighting the COBOL dinosaur.

Despite the silly humor and Barski's approach of introducing programming completely from scratch, Land of Lisp builds up to cover topics like graph theory, search algorithms, functional and network programming, and domain-specific languages. All throughout, the book emphasises various techniques for doing I/O. The topics covered will leave the reader with a solid understanding of what modern programming entails and a good basis from which to explore either application or lower-level systems programming.

The most unintentionally impressive aspect of Land of Lisp is that it manages to completely explain web programming. No more hiding behind complicated software stacks and impenetrable web server packages — chapter 13, titled "Let's Create a Web Server!," does exactly what it promises, in only 15 pages. Later chapters introduce HTML and SVG to build a graphical game as a web application. If nothing else, this book will leave the reader with all the necessary basic skills and total confidence in their understanding to build real-world web applications.

Other introductory programming books use Lisp, but none fall into the same category as Land of Lisp. Abelson, Sussman and Sussman's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs , arguably the greatest introductory programming book ever written, requires a solid math background to understand the examples. Felleisen et alia's How to Design Programs offers a much deeper introduction to programming than Land of Lisp, but is an academic textbook, and hence lacks funny cartoons and may be boring. Friedman et alia's The Little Schemer is a favorite of many, but doesn't have LoL's real-world applications.

Land of Lisp is an excellent book for someone who wants to learn how to program, for web programmers who want to move up out of their niche and start learning about CS theory and systems programming, and for anyone who is puzzled about what really goes on behind the web and wants to learn what web programming is really about. Experienced programmers who want

Land of Lisp is an excellent book for someone who wants to learn how to program, for web programmers who want to move up out of their niche and start learning about CS theory and systems programming, and for anyone who is puzzled about what really goes on behind the web and wants to learn what web programming is really about. Experienced programmers who want to jump into using Lisp are probably better off with Peter Seibel's Practical Common Lisp, though.

BONUS: Watch Conrad's hilarious promotional music video for the book."
top

Land of Lisp

vsedach vsedach writes  |  more than 3 years ago

vsedach (1630061) writes "This is no small feat. Modern computers don't come with anything that looks like BASIC. Getting started with a "real" programming language like Java requires installing and learning hundreds of megabytes worth of compiler and integrated development environment. Barski's thesis is that Lisp is a refreshing alternative — it offers BASIC's ease of getting started (get a prompt, type in code, and it works), while providing a combination of modern features unmatched in other programming languages.

The first thing that immediately jumps out about Land of Lisp is that it has a lot of comics. The book is an outgrowth of Conrad's Casting SPELs in Lisp illustrated online tutorial, which originally appeared in 2004 (incidentally, around the same time as why's (poingant) guide to ruby, probably the most famous and epic programming language comic book). The comics are humorous and irreverent — if you're a C programmer, you might be surprised to know that you're a Cro-Magnon fighting the COBOL dinosaur.

Despite the silly humor and Barski's approach of introducing programming completely from scratch, Land of Lisp builds up to cover topics like graph theory, search algorithms, functional and network programming, and domain-specific languages. All throughout, the book emphasises various techniques for doing I/O. The topics covered will leave the reader with a solid understanding of what modern programming entails and a good basis from which to explore either application or lower-level systems programming.

The most unintentionally impressive aspect of Land of Lisp is that it manages to completely explain web programming. No more hiding behind complicated software stacks and impenetrable web server packages — chapter 13, titled "Let's Create a Web Server!," does exactly what it promises, in only 15 pages. Later chapters introduce HTML and SVG to build a graphical game as a web application. If nothing else, this book will leave the reader with all the necessary basic skills and total confidence in their understanding to build real-world web applications.

Other introductory programming books use Lisp, but none fall into the same category as Land of Lisp. Abelson, Sussman and Sussman's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs , arguably the greatest introductory programming book ever written, requires a solid math background to understand the examples. Felleisen et alia's How to Design Programs offers a much deeper introduction to programming than Land of Lisp, but is an academic textbook, and hence lacks funny cartoons and may be boring. Friedman et alia's The Little Schemer is a favorite of many, but doesn't have LoL's real-world applications.

Land of Lisp is an excellent book for someone who wants to learn how to program, for web programmers who want to move up out of their niche and start learning about CS theory and systems programming, and for anyone who is puzzled about what really goes on behind the web and wants to learn what web programming is really about. Experienced programmers who want to jump into using Lisp are probably better off with Peter Seibel's Practical Common Lisp, though.

BONUS: Watch Conrad's hilarious promotional music video for the book."

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