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can we properly standardize a philosophy?
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.
puts the issue very well. When the question of Scheme standardization was
first raised my opinion was that Scheme was already standardized in R*S and
that anything more "official" would be neither necessary nor desirable.
But serious concerns have been raised about (1) some other group
standardizing something called "Scheme" (2) Scheme getting overshadowed by
Common Lisp (3) Scheme not being viewed as a "real language". So I think
it is worthwhile to see if we can go the standards route without blowing
"Blowing it" means setting up a situation where people feel that they
have to agree about large chunks of Scheme before they can work on
Scheme. That turns Scheme design into a political process rather than
an intellectual one. It also, unfortunately, is often the express
purpose of creating a standard.
I do think, however, that if we are careful, we could have our cake and it
(1) We could satisfy the demands for standardization and the procedural
requirements of a standards organization by "standardizing" a small kernel.
Luckily, we have already adopted the idea of a spectrum ranging from
essential features to yellow pages, which makes this possible.
(2) We could satisfy ourselves that we are not overly politicizing
Scheme development by including appropriate philosophical statements
in the report, and by identifiying a process for evolving the standard
that will guard against this.
I am not at all secure that we can manage (2), which is why I think we
need to meet to discuss this, and to continue discussions on this
mailing list. In particular, we need to hear from Clyde Camp on
behalf of IEEE and from people familiar with X3 (by the way, what is
X3 ?) about whether such an approach would be compatible with the
frameworks of the various standards organizations.