The bottom line: Languages like Java give you an object protocol: There is one way to do things with objects and classes and interfaces, period. Anything else, like adding generics or annotations, must be done outside of the language, it must be done by the creators of the language.
Languages like Common Lisp and Smalltalk give you a meta object protocol: You can decide for yourself how to do things with objects, classes, interfaces, generic functions, whatever you want. You don’t need to wait for a committee to try something different.
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