Interview with Lua's daddy

Forum: Programming and Scripting
Topic: Interview with Lua's daddy
started by: WDef

Posted by WDef on Sep. 20 2008,04:18
This Techworld series of interviews with key figures in major or at least influential programming languages has been Slashdotted.  But where's Perl?  Maybe Larry Wall's spent so much time talking about Perl that nobody wants to interview him any more ;=)

This one is with Prof. Roberto Ierusalimschy of Lua fame:

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Now, just where is Mikshaw when he is needed to reply to something he is interested in?  Maybe this will get Robert's interest.

Posted by mikshaw on Sep. 20 2008,12:24
I've noticed a couple of A-Z's posted recently either at ars technica or fsdaily, can't remember which, and was wondering if Lua would be done.  I must have missed it (typically only scan the first page of headlines at most once a day).  Seems Perl would definitely be included, as you said, but they're not going in strict alphabetical order (Python was done before Lua).

Not a bad interview.  I like Roberto's attitude toward programming in general, based on what I could tell from these few answers.

I don't really understand what he was saying about scripting vs dynamic languages, but i guess it will sink in after the coffee starts working.

Posted by roberts on Sep. 20 2008,16:10
I truely like Lua for its small size, its clean syntax and that it is extremely fast compared to other scripting languages.

However, for GUIs I have moved on to C++ and Fluid. Much more documentation and much finer control. With option flags to g++ and use of dynamic Fltk libs size can be kept to very small size. In my new project I have converted all of my existing Lua/Fltk to C++ as Fluid projects.

Posted by WDef on Sep. 21 2008,22:03
I can understand the logic of dropping scripts and going straight to C++ binaries for speed and size, sounds great.

As for Perl - there is quite a bit already written about the genesis and philosophy of Perl and Larry Wall has always had a high profile.  I'm not sure what they'd ask him that he or his subordinate Perl Gods (yes, that's what they call them) haven't already documented.  But then, they often have surprises I guess.

One thing I'd like to hear about from them is their response to Perl's loss of ground to Python.  The young professional programmers  (a few high profile ones) I know, who do a lot more programming than me, don't know any Perl whatsoever. They seem to do all their prototyping and scripting in Python only, including server stuff.  Not knowing at least some Perl would have been unthinkable a few years ago, especially for server-end people.

Posted by mikshaw on Sep. 21 2008,22:21
Might have some relation to the fact that both Blender and GIMP utilize python as their main plugin language, and the fact that web programming has unfortunately been moving toward the client side of javascript and plugins rather than server side programming.
Posted by WDef on Sep. 22 2008,15:35
I tend to think, in the click-n-play web world, many people have lost patience with installing anything, so a lot of things will eventually all move onto the server.

For example, Joost has been failing badly, partly because they insisted on installing a large client.  Now they have a plugin instead, but they are moving to an entirely flash-based platform - nothing extra to install.  After YouTube, who wants to install anything (other than flash) to play online videos in their browser?

The people I know are mainly associated in some way with the Gnome world, some ex-Red Hat.  Fedora and the like uses a lot of Python.  One gave the "looks like line noise" response to opinions about Perl.

I know Python has a fundamentally different philosophy to Perl.  Python typically has a "one best way" of doing anything; often there is only one way.  This helps avoid weird programming since you generally copy and learn the way to do task X.   It also helps make it very readable since various code memes are easily recognizable.

Perl, otoh, has a "many ways" philosophy.  It is rich with different approaches to the same problem, and no one way is necessarily the best or only way in a given application, so there is a lot of flexibility and power but also coder stylistic preferences.  It is often accused of being hard to read and maintain as opposed to Python, and there is some truth in that.

But I guess fashion has a lot to do with it also.

Posted by mikshaw on Sep. 22 2008,22:09
Personally hoping Flash will eventually 1) die, 2) become open so it can be reworked into something lighter and more secure, or 3) be replaced by something lighter and more secure.  This is from someone who once liked Flash, and depended on it for income.

Then again, that's not what this thread is about.

Posted by WDef on Sep. 22 2008,23:04
Same feelings about Flash.  Right now Adobe has everyone by the sensitibe parts.
Posted by sankarv on Sep. 30 2008,06:02
and how about this:

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this is quite good but they hav only a player currently.....

Posted by mikshaw on Sep. 30 2008,12:03
Can't say I'm interested in Gnash yet either.  I intended to try it a while ago, but after seeing its dependencies I began to think it's probably not much lighter.
On a side note, I reinstalled the Flash plugin the other day, just for giggles.  It almost instantly degraded my web browsing experience, so I removed it the next session.  It's not entirely flash itself, by the way, but the way it's being used by everyone, simply because it is easy to develop for many different tasks (not because it is actually suitable for most tasks).  Fortunately it's not commonly used for important tasks, so it can still be safely avoided most of the time.

Posted by WDef on Sep. 30 2008,21:48
Problem I'm having is that increasingly flash7 just doesn't work eg  streaming media on BBC news websites.  Flash9 is being taken up with gusto.  Now Flash10 is out in beta for linux I believe.  I'm running across more and more sites that want Flash9.

So I'm looking forward to a stable dslcore on which I hope newer flash will work without crashes etc.

Like it or loathe it, we're stuck with it.

Gnash is promising.

Posted by curaga on Oct. 01 2008,13:01
There is still a choice. Just don't get it at all. We need to stay strong, and prefer those that do not require this disgusting technology.
Posted by WDef on Oct. 03 2008,21:37
You mean: boycott sites using Flash I assume.  

Personally I think it has too deep a hold on the web at the moment to get enough people on board to make a dent.

Probably just have to hope that Adobe's grip slips or loosens and some competing technology wins the day, or Adobe open flash up and gets it working on all architectures a lot better than it does.  For eg there is currently no hw accel on Poulsbo (Atom) for H.264 encoded flash media. That means all those Atom netbooks can't play hw accelerated H264 flash at a decent quality.  Does Adobe care? Hard to say.

Adobe's OpenScreen project is a step in the right direction:

- Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
- Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
- Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services.
- Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free.

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Posted by curaga on Oct. 04 2008,08:28
Hm, does that mean Mplayer will finally be able to read .swf?
Posted by WDef on Oct. 04 2008,19:22
I guess, at least legally.

From what I can tell (ie google), mplayer already is supposed to play .swf container files provided these only contain video and not vector/script animation.

btw there is a tool called cws2swf included in the ffmpeg sources that can decompress compressed  flash files.

Posted by humpty on Oct. 04 2008,20:19
i got so used to lua, i'm having a real hard time transitioning to
php. it's been 4 months now, i just keep getting side -tracked
by something more interesting.

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