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Estimating the size of the ocaml community
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Date: 2005-02-04 (01:17)
From: Michael Walter <>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Estimating the size of the ocaml community
On Fri, 4 Feb 2005 00:22:47 +0100 (CET), Thomas Fischbacher wrote:
> When I first encountered Lisp, I also found it "ugly", due to the
> parentheses. Only later, I learned to understand. One cannot and
> should not judge this peculiarity of Lisp from the viewpoint of an
> outsider.
> I'm pretty sure (1) musical notation, (2) heavy-handed uses of tensor
> notation in supergravity, (3) any other comparable highly specialized
> notational system must look exceedingly scary to the uninitiated as well.

I think part of the problem is that those are domain-specific
notations, whereas S-expressions are used for general purpose (in the
domain of expressing programs = data).

Differently put, in that they are syntax they try to cover a "broader"
(not in the "there are xxx musicians and yyy coders" sense) domain
than in what they are useful (the domain of generically representing

A naive and not quite matching example of what I mean is that musical
notation isn't used for encoding sample data.

Some ex-developer of the Dylan language makes some interesting points
about S expressions in a response to Arc (in the feedback on Arc text
file on