ODF vs. OOXML in New York State

New York State’s Office for Technology released a Request for Public Comment on selecting an XML-based office data format. The choices are OASIS’ ODF and Microsoft’s OOXML. Responses were due by 5 p.m. today, Dec. 28. My response is below, submitted just in time to meet the deadline. I didn’t have time to answer all… Continue reading ODF vs. OOXML in New York State

Critical Mass

Dan Weinreb posted common Complaints About Common Lisp. My personal complaint is in there — the lack of libraries that are well-documented and regularly updated. I think it’s a critical mass problem: so few people are using Common Lisp in their day-to-day work that there’s not enough momentum to keep the libraries going and make… Continue reading Critical Mass

Blogging XO Style

Just got my XO-1 laptop today, and I’m using it to write this post. First impressions: It’s light–weighs about as much as a hardback book. The screen is sharp and readable, with or without the backlight. The built-in rubber keyboard is difficult for an adult to touch-type on. I’m hoping I’ll get used to it.… Continue reading Blogging XO Style

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The Definition of Scripting

Larry Wall writes about scripting, “I can’t define it, but I’ll know it when I see it.” So I thought I’d throw out my idea of a definition. A scripting language is a programming language that relies on and is designed to run within an ecosystem based on other languages. So Perl 5 and Ruby… Continue reading The Definition of Scripting

Categorized as Programming

Easterbrook on GPL, Presages AltLaw

While playing with my current all-consuming project, AltLaw.org, I came across this case: Wallace v. IBM. In 2006 a man named Daniel Wallace sued various distributors of GNU/Linux, including IBM, Red Hat, and Novell, for “price-fixing.” Since the GPL ensures Linux will always be free, Wallace argued, he cannot afford to enter the market with… Continue reading Easterbrook on GPL, Presages AltLaw

Parsing Complex Comparisons

An interesting tidbit: can your programming language parse a < b < c? Perl can’t. Ruby can, but returns an error “undefined method `>’ for false:FalseClass.” Interestingly, Python accepts it, and even gives the correct result. Something clever must be going on in the parser to make that work. Update October 17: Although Lisp can’t parse the expression… Continue reading Parsing Complex Comparisons


A cool new site, with the best possible slogan, “All the code that’s fit to printf().” Nice to see a giant media company getting into this.