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Gmane
From: David Kastrup <dak <at> gnu.org>
Subject: Re: "Misunderstanding of the lambda calculus"
Newsgroups: gmane.emacs.devel
Date: Monday 30th January 2006 19:28:34 UTC (over 11 years ago)
"Richard M. Stallman"  writes:

>     Uh, "archaic" and "alive" is not a contradiction.
>
> Yes it is.  "Archaic" does not mean "old" or "early".
> It means "obsolete".

ἡ ἀρχῆ in Greek means "the beginning".  John 1 starts of with
"ἐν ἀρχῇ
ἦν ὁ λόγος": in the beginning, there was the word.

Now of course we all know that Emacs was there before Word, but this
might have escaped John's notice.

Webster defines "archaic" as

    Main Entry: ar·cha·ic
    Pronunciation: är-'kA-ik
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: French or Greek; French archaïque, from Greek
    archaïkos, from archaios 
    1 : having the characteristics of the language of the past and
    surviving chiefly in specialized uses 
    2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of an earlier or more
    primitive time : ANTIQUATED  
    3 capitalized : of or belonging to the early or formative phases
    of a culture or a period of artistic development; especially : of
    or belonging to the period leading up to the classical period of
    Greek culture 
    4 : surviving from an earlier period; specifically : typical of a
    previously dominant evolutionary stage 
    5 capitalized : of or relating to the period from about 8000
    B.C. to 1000 B.C. and the North American cultures of that time 

As you can see, practically all meanings involve surviving into the
present time.  So I stand by my point that "archaic" and "dead" are
not synonymous.

TeX certainly is archaic in the context of typesetting software, being
something like 25 years old in a form very similar to the current one,
yet it has very much survived.

The case is different with Emacs, since it is very far from what has
been called "Emacs" 25 years ago.  But still its user interface got
characteristic traits from a time long ago.

There is an old joke "I don't know what the computer language of
choice for numerical work will look like in 20 years from now, but it
will be called Fortran".  The same could be said about my editor of
choice, probably with more justification.

-- 
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
 
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