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The only useful metric of a language (or any other tool, for that matter) is how well can you/your team get your project done with that tool. Period, end of story. Remember - every programming language is Turing-complete, so anything you can write in one language, you can write in another.
A few illustrations - ASM is a perfectly good fit for some projects, because of what that project's requirements are. COBOL can be a perfect fit. I know several excellent programs where the developer(s) chose to use languages like Fortran over C/C++/etc, because of the problemspace.
As for Lisp, I think that Lisp has the best set of codepoints for all projects, because you get to define how Lisp is going to work for your project in a way that few other languages can do.
Another thing to think about - some languages are endoskeletal (C/C++/Fortran) and others are exoskeletal (Perl, Ruby, SQL, HTML). If a language is endoskeletal, the programmer has to do more work, but the program can work without the framework needed to build it. If a language is exoskeletal, the programmer does less work, but with the restriction that the framework must be available.
Here's yet another thought - Perl5 can be considered a minilanguage within a C program. Does that change your viewpoint?
My criteria for good software:
In reply to Re: Comparing languages