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[This is a little late - I sent it a week ago and went out of town -
when I returned I found that my message had also]
After reading rpg's arguments in support of working with the ANSI
effort, I wonder if it is really possible to allow a sub-committee to
sit as idly to the side as he suggests (I don't really purport to
know). If ISO is interested in Scheme and is active, would the US
effort not be compelled to join the fray. It seems a bit
disconcerting to me to sit in the midst of a swamp full of alligators
when my initial goal was a family picnic!
It seems to me that whether we work with the IEEE or ANSI, Scheme can
remain a reasonable language if the major implementors/researchers
continue to work together and will otherwise be abandoned. If alien
forces were to take control of an IEEE or ANSI effort and
significantly harm Scheme or make the process intolerable, I would
imagine that most researchers would ignore it and a new direction
would occur. This would indeed be unfortunate, but the most likely
result would be that the current implementations would define a dying
"standard" until a new language evolved.
If the current implementors continue working together, with or without
the support of a standards group, I think that we will continue to
develop a language which will gain substantial use.
It seems to me that participation in one of the standards efforts
*may* provide a vehicle to encourage more acceptance of Scheme and the
development of a broader community (which we need). If we keep a goal
of accepting only widely supported additions, then we ought to be able
to manage an evolution from the R3RS (maybe even R3RS itself).
Its not clear to me which is better, somehow it seems that the IEEE
may have the less burdensome process. Could the ANSI committee be
"formed" and sit idle as a placeholder and then maybe adopt/endorse a
successful effort through the IEEE?
I would vote to attempt a standardization effort - if only to
encourage discussion and dissemination of the concepts. If it becomes
too unwieldly, then just abandon it - there is no sense in
standardizing a competitor to Common Lisp that has nothing new to
offer - that would be damaging to the entire Lisp community. If
Scheme is to become a widely used language, it must be something we
are still proud of - otherwise it should remain a minor research tool.