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Can we standardize Scheme without killing it?
2) However the politics goes, the technical content of the first
Scheme standard should be what we have already agreed upon in R*S with
the possible exception of correcting obvious blunders. I appreciate
Guy Steele's sentiment that we pass a rule saying that each person can
nominate at most one feature to be included. But I think that this is
one feature too many. (Guy's suggested REDUCE, which I think is a
wonderful thing, can be put in the Yellow Pages.) In general I would
like to see a VERY conservative and VERY minimal standard.
Hal's point is very well taken here, and I humbly retreat even further.
After distilling Hal's suggested introductory paragraphs, however, I find
that perhaps what many of want is not so much a standard programming
language, but a standard framework within which to investigate a family of
programming languages. I know we can standardize a programming language
within IEEE or X3, but can we properly standardize a philosophy?
I think that latter goal has already been served by the publication of
R^3S. Had it not already appeared in SIGPLAN Notices, it might have been
a candidate for the Lisp Conference. Compare this to the appearance of
Milner's "A Proposal for Standard ML" in the 1984 Lisp Conference.
I agree with Hal that better ideas for language design come out of the
academic arena than out of standards committees--even when it is the same
people involved--because the processes are very different.
People continue to ask me (or tell me) whether X3J13 is really needed or
whether the mere publication of CLtL was sufficient. My reaction is
almost invariably "You're asking ME??"
I like Scheme. Scheme is nice. Scheme makes me happy. I want everyone
else to be happy too. Am I a sap?