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I hope you will not choose to withdraw from the "arena of bringing the
Lisp/Scheme communities together." I, for one, found your explanation of the
(Common) Lisp standardization situation extremely enlightening and helpful,
and I am sorry to hear that some people think you are trying to destroy their
community. I did not observe any such sentiments in the recent net traffic.
There is a legitimate concern about the future of the Scheme community, but I
do not believe that this is a response to any perceived threat from the Common
Lisp community or from X3J13, etc. As Scheme matures and its user community
grows, it is no longer controlled by a group of 2 or 5 or 18 or 31. We
(meaning the members of any of these sets) can no longer control or direct the
growth of the language; such direction must be shared with other as yet
unknown persons or institutions which may or may not share the intellectual
goals of the original group.
Consequently there is understandable uncertainty about the the best way to
ensure orderly development of Scheme, that is, one which will preserve its
original intents. This uncertainty was reflected in the discussions of the
June 87 rrrs meeting and in the current interest in standardization.
[There is considerable irony in this analysis. Sussman has said on several
occasions that he was never interested in Scheme as a programming language; he
was just interested in writing some code. I'm not sure about Guy's feelings
on this. Thus most of the "community" in question consists of second and
third generation Schemers, programming-language-people who have long since
wrested control from the original 2!]
I hope we can endorse Bartley's characterization of the relationship between
Common Lisp and Scheme in the family of Lisp-like languages. I think it is
astute both intellectually (being factually close to true) and politically (as
a position to take in the standardization process). I think we have a good
deal to learn from each other, and I hope that the current brouhaha will not
prevent this from happening.
Dick, I thank you for explaining the ISO/X3J13 situation to us and explaining
how Scheme might fit into that scheme. Unfortunately, I find the argument for
participation in X3J13 (or maybe it's X3?) unconvincing: your description of
this looking-glass world seems more apt as an argument to run as fast as
possible in the other direction. I have not yet decided whether the correct
course is to participate in the IEEE standards process or to ignore the
standards process altogether. I hope that we will have some good discussion
on the net on this topic.