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CAR and CDR again
Maybe I'm just being old and tired, but I like CAR and CDR! I
would be saddened to see them lost in a wave of "modernization".
Would you consider changing LAMBDA to something else? I think
that CAR, CDR and CONS have the same historical value (as does
COND, I suppose).
LAMBDA derives from the Lambda Calculus, where the association with
lambda expressions is clear. CAR and CDR derive from obscure machine
features whose meaning is not clear. CONS is not so bad because it
is short for CONSTRUCT, although PAIR would probably be better.
Obviously, I like keeping in touch with the past, as long as it
doesn't cloud the thinking of the future. This doesn't seem to be
such a case; might as well call the operations "0" and "1", if you
want to be really, really efficient.
Efficiency, of course, is not the rationale for any of this. It's
choosing a name that makes sense. Why did we choose names like WALK
instead of the "traditional" MAPC or MAPCAR or whatever? Some people
probably feel as bad about loosing those as they would for CAR and CDR.
However, I'm not one to stand in the way of preserving history! I was
curious to see how people felt though, and wanted to see how far Essential
Scheme's modernization effort, which does exist, was willing to go.