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A Minimalist Standard
I heartily concur with Hal's philosophy on the standard. Leaving
unsettled issues out of the standard and allowing good research to
take place is crucial. However, I have a concern.
If Scheme is to be a vehicle for research and experimentation, then I
forsee little problem, but as Scheme becomes more of a development
language for delivering other applications (eg., TI's Personal
Consultant), then there will be considerable pressure to "standardize"
the non-standard parts of the language. For example, many of us at TI
have succumbed to the use of multiple values as part of our Scheme
language - not to investigate multiple values but to use it in larger
I don't have a solution to this problem, but I think that something
more than a minimalist approach will become necessary. The language
must be "sufficient" for significant development as perceived by the
users. Possibly we can address this with the R*S "optional" or
"extensions" parts of the language which commit definitions for
features which are not part of the standard. We might even adopt a
standard prefix (eg., #!@?) to avoid preempting names from a future
In any case, I think we should consider trying to develop an approach
to recognizing and allowing "registered" extensions which could help
in portability and future automated correction when a real standard is
developed. This could also be used to allieviate some of the pressure
to standardize a feature too early.