Allen's lambda syntax proposal

Brendan Eich brendan at
Thu Dec 4 15:10:48 PST 2008

On Dec 4, 2008, at 2:45 PM, Jon Zeppieri wrote:

> 2008/12/4 Breton Slivka <zen at>:
>> this may be a stupid question, but why? Is it really so impossible to
>> have λ(a,b,c){}  ?
> Last time I brought this up, Brendan made fun of me on a podcast. :(

Not you personally! I hope that was at least a :-/ emoticon...

> On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 5:35 PM, Brendan Eich <brendan at>  
> wrote:
>> On Dec 4, 2008, at 2:31 PM, Breton Slivka wrote:
>>> I admit this seems ludicrous at its face, but admittedly I have not
>>> really seen the arguments against λ as an abbreviated lambda syntax
>>> yet.
>> Not compatibly: ES3 already allows Unicode identifiers, including  
>> Greek
>> Lambda.
> Also including the word 'lambda' -- but that hasn't stopped it from
> being seriously considered.

True enough. And 'lambda' is likelier to be in use in web JS as an  
identifier than λ, at a guess.

If we have to go to one character, though, I'd rather we use an ASCII  
punctuation character, for the reasons given (hard to type, slight  
incompatibility). But you λ fans need to help me here: how does one  
type λ on a Mac laptop? How about on a standard Windows machine? Pick  
a Linux and lay the clues on there, too.


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