Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why Only Emacs Uses Lisp

Why is it that the primary use case for the world's most powerful language is pimping out text editors?

Doesn't that imply that the technology industry as a whole squanders resources to an absurd degree?

Imagine if doctors did surgery with sharpened rocks and only used laser scalpels to open their junk mail.

Many programmers know that the costs of using powerful languages are low, and the benefits are immense. Cost-benefit analysis is obviously a useful strategy. Why is it not the most popular strategy?

The answer is simple.

When a nontechnical person tries to perform cost-benefit analysis against technological strategies, they're basically solving for value, where value equals benefit divided by cost. That's trivial arithmetic. But even though it's trivial arithmetic, it's unsolvable trivial arithmetic, because value is unknown, benefit is unknown, and cost is unknown. Question mark equals question mark divided by question mark.

x = y / z
solve this equation, for all values of x