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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Matz on Ruby's Lisp heritage

I like this! From Matz:
Ruby is a language designed in the following steps:

* take a simple lisp language (like one prior to CL).
* remove macros, s-expression.
* add simple object system (much simpler than CLOS).
* add blocks, inspired by higher order functions.
* add methods found in Smalltalk.
* add functionality found in Perl (in OO way).

So, Ruby was a Lisp originally, in theory.
Let's call it MatzLisp from now on. ;-)
Since the late 1970s, I have always been happy writing software in Lisp, but except for the development of three commercial products and quite a bit of R&D, Lisp has been a hard sell. With the mass enthusiasm for Ruby on Rails, Ruby is starting to be an easy sell. My only problem with Ruby is that you don't get the white-hot high performance of compiled Common Lisp - but I can live with that.