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I have nothing against it per se, but it seems that there is a trend in which "serious stuff" is graphically designed as if it were meant to be used by only children. There are many examples. One good example is carbonmade [1] which is a website to showcase professional portfolios (quite "serious stuff" if you ask me). I genuinely wonder where that trend is coming from. Is it because the current generation of engineers grew up watching cartoons? (Just guessing) Or is it because it is a simple way to make difficult stuff appear more friendly?

Anyway, I like the design, and I think the designers did a good job.

[1] https://carbonmade.com/




It's a worthwhile question. I'm a huuuuuuuge supporter of the current design though! This conversation came up on the guile-devel list, and I gave my response there too: https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guile-devel/2015-09/msg00...

Basically, I think that Lisp and Scheme have a reputation for being unapproachable. This reputation partly comes from how we structure our communities, who we reach out to, and etc. But it also depends on how we message ourselves.

There's a very conscious decision in the new design to make things look playful and inviting, to encourage experimentation. I think that's super important. It seems like it's having some effect on encouraging people to become engaged, and it certainly doesn't seem to be doing any harm to those who are already into hacking parentheses. :)


> Basically, I think that Lisp and Scheme have a reputation for being unapproachable.

I don't think Lisp itself has that problem any more. Everyone knows that Clojure exists and is an approachable Lisp.

The question has now become, "why should I pay attention to any Lisp that's not Clojure?"


From the point of view of commercial ones:

- Compilation to native code AOT

- Tooling

- Performance (CL has value types and way better ways to go downlevel, if needed)


Agreed. It's very inviting.


Honestly, the Guile site reminds me variously of:

• the illustrations on O'Reilly book covers

• the doodles in Learn You A Haskell and Learn You Some Erlang

• _why's Poignant Guide to Ruby

• Le Petit Prince

None of which are "childish" per se, in content or in form—but which all-save-one happen to try to include children in their target audience.


Curious, which one? I think only the last two are intentionally for children.


Add the little Schemer


I don't think it is simple to do successfully, but it is certainly a way to make difficult stuff more approachable. If you want to convey difficult stuff, you should make it approachable. Feynman, for example, was a master of using simple words to explain complex matters. We should try to do the same with graphic design.

(Carbonmade seems maybe to have aimed for "childish" rather than "simple", though, turning at least me a bit off)


I think it's cute - unlike carbonmade which really turns me off.

My only quibble is the cartoon next to "Guile is an extension language platform" - the main character is facing out off the edge of the page. I'd flip it to make the cartoon draw your eye toward the text.

(The same could be said for the cartoon at the top of the page, but I like that one the way it is.)


I had noticed this too, when docker.com seemed to slowly become more and more cartoony and juvenile, for lack of better words. I don't quite hate it either, it certainly makes the technology seem more approachable, but I think they may have taken it a bit _too_ far.


Stallman considers hacking to be "playful cleverness". To him and a lot of the old-time hackers, programming is fun and even "immature" or at least not super serious. Look at The Little Schemer, for example. Even Knuth allowed some jokes in his Concrete Mathematics textbook!

That said... carbonmade is too much for me.


Lisp and Scheme both have a long history of accessible artwork to children. Just look at The Little Lisper.




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