Why not discuss Lisp at Lisp conferences? - Lisp Propulsion Laboratory log

Lisp Propulsion Laboratory log

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Why not discuss Lisp at Lisp conferences?

Monday, November 22, 2004

The ALU has recently posted an ILC 2005 call for contributions. I have never been at a Lisp conference, and this is a good occasion to tell something that always bothers me when browsing the proceedings of ILC 2002, the latest I have -- the ILC 2003 proceedings have not been published yet.

With the tongue firmly in check, and with the caveat that this is my understanding from the printed edition of the proceedings, consider the following ILC 2002 talks, which can be grouped into a few "unusual" categories:

In short, I think that the scope of recent ALU Lisp conferences may have been too broad.

Some think that, in order to spread the voice about Lisp, it is useful to organize conferences of broader appeal for business people and programmers from other language communities. After all, Lisp may benefit from exposure to new ideas.

I no longer buy this. It's more the other way around: other languages are getting more and more Lisp features. And since good ideas can come also from other fields, then Lisp conferences should be general computing conferences. You have to draw the boundary somewhere.

Given the limited resources, I think that Lisp conferences should appeal to hackers and focus on technical Lisp issues. Lisp needs just one thing right now: code, code and code. Hackers are the only ones who can deliver the code. Events such as the 1st European Lisp and Scheme Workshop, and the informal talks at the Libre Software Meeting high-level languages track, seem similar to what I think would be useful.

I have never been at a Lisp conference. But having to pay 500$, plus a trip abroad, for attending Lisp-bashing talks at a Lisp conference, makes me think twice. When Kenny Tilton gives a keynote speech at a major Perl conference, I may relax my constraints -- no pun intended.

Copyright © 2004 by Paolo Amoroso

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