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[hudak-paul@YALE.ARPA: Re: call for standardization meeting]

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 88 10:43:06 EST
From: Paul Hudak <hudak-paul@YALE.ARPA>
Subject: Re: call for standardization meeting
To: hal@ZOHAR.AI.MIT.EDU (Hal Abelson)
In-Reply-To: hal@ZOHAR.AI.MIT.EDU (Hal Abelson), Thu, 11 Feb 88 10:57:35 est

    I would like to hold a one-day meeting of RRRS authors to address the
    standardization question.
Hal, as you know I am not a super active member of the RRRS committee,
but am very interested in Scheme and its promotion.  I won't be able
to attend the standardization meeting, but if you're interested, here's
my opinion about the whole matter:

I am morderately in favor of standarization for two simple reasons:
1) Historically the standardization of a language seems to have helped
   the promotion of the language.
2) In the face of CL standarization, Scheme's NOT being standarized 
   may give the impression that the Lisp community is more confident 
   in CL and is thus endorsing it's use in production-quality software 
   systems, etc.

With regard to the latter comment, I must say that I've been somewhat
surprised by the amount of discussion about Scheme being as different
from CL as Pascal is from Algol, etc. etc.  I certainly agree with
that argument, and it's a compelling argument against having the
standarization efforts combined, but in the context of how the "real
world" views things, it may be irrelevant.  The fact is, "Lisps" in
general offer many common advantages, and when a programmer/manager/
whomever decides that Lisp is best for a particular application, they
will tend to look for the best-documented/supported/tried/standardized
etc. language available.  (This same kind of reasoning will be used by
the software/hardware manufacturers when trying to decide what
languages to support.)  Ok, so they'll also ask which is best from a
programming language standpoint, but my point is that there are many
other, often overriding, issues that they will consider as well.

The awkward conclusion I find myself making is that I think Scheme
needs to be standarized primarily because CL is.  Otherwise, I think
(as everyone else apparently does) that it's too early.  (The awkward
thing about this conclusion is that I also think it's too early to 
standarize CL, so implicit in my conlusion is that one wrong justifies 


P.S. I have no opinion about which of the various means for standarization
     is best (or worst).

P.P.S. If you think it's appropriate I don't mind if you cc this to RRRS.