Hi Javier, TC,

>> Hello, I'm new to the list and Picolisp.

Nice to see you here :-)

>> I tried this, and obtained a segfault:
>> : ('(1 2) 6)
>> ViolaciĆ³n de segmento

Yes, this is the expected behavior.

PicoLisp evaluates the CAR of a list, perhaps repeatedly, until it hits
upon a function. A function is either a list (then it is a Lisp-level
function) or a short number (then it is a built-in function, written in
either asm or C). If that number does not point to executable code
(which is difficult to check at runtime), a crash happens.

I would consider such a crash an "extended error message": Why not let
the hardware (MMU) do the runtime check?

In general, it is not possible to have the interpreter catch any
possible error (think of infinite loops, for example), so PicoLisp takes
the stand of giving some responsibility to the programmer.

In practice, an error like the above one will be detected at the first
test run of your program.

BTW, an exception to the above rule is only a list that directly has a
number in its CAR. Such a list auto-evaluates:

   : (1 2 3)
   -> (1 2 3)

Is just a convenient feature, not having to quote such constant lists.

>> : ('(a b c) 6)
>> -> NIL
>> I mostly understand why, but it was a surprise that Picolisp responded with 
>> a segfault instead of an error.
>> Does this means that Picolisp doesn't check if a number is a function but it 
>> does when it is a symbol?

In that case, (a b c) is in fact a legal function definition: It is a
function with a single symbolic parameter 'a' (so that function does not
evaluate its arguments), and a body of two symbols. This is equivalent

   : (de foo a
      c )
   -> foo

When this function is executed, it binds the argument list (3) to that
symbol 'a', then executes 'b' and 'c'. This function returns the value
of 'c', which was NIL in your example.

> When you do:
> : (de foo H
>     H)
> : (foo 1 2 3)
> -> (1 2 3)
> : foo
> -> (H H)
> so you can also do:
> ('(H H) 1 2 3)
> -> (1 2 3)


> I bet you know what happens here; you are trying to use a number as a
> variable, which is illegal -> crash (besides it does not make sense
> anyway)

So this is not correct. Trying to use a number as a variable usually
gives an error

   : (setq 7 5)  
   !? (setq 7 5)
   7 -- Variable expected

The crash happens, as explained above, because execution jumps to a bad
function pointer.

> Regarding the error, checking for these things is an unnecessary overhead.

Very true!

- Alex
UNSUBSCRIBE: mailto:picol...@software-lab.de?subject=unsubscribe

Reply via email to