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Re: Portability (long)
Ken says, ``I have only heard from 3 people and would appreciate more
opinions and comments.''
You asked for it.
This whole exercise seems entirely misguided to me. I have not seen you
(or anyone) respond well to Morry's objection that any ``appendix''
constitutes a standard with inertia of its own. Ziggy's idea of putting a
prefix on each name seems beside the point; if I'm going to use these
``portable'' constructs, then I'm going to hardwire these names into my
code and resist changes to their semantics. I don't see what changing the
names will do, unless you intend that every implementation retain every
version of every facility, so that each implementation would have to carry
along NB4-UNLESS, NB5-UNLESS, etc. in perpetuity. That's clearly
I have also not seen any response to, I think, Jinx's point about using
extra ``compile'' and ``load'' files that test which implementation is in
use and coordinate things appropriately. Of course, one need not actually
use files for such things; humans are reasonably good at picking out the
one ``system-dependent'' file of code for their implementation and using
that along with the bulk of the software system. If, indeed, as you state,
most implementations have facilities similar to what you've described (in
some cases, I doubt this very much), then such ``system-dependent'' files
will be terribly easy to write.
Any publication of a standard interface to certain facilities tends to
reduce experimentation among implementations. Such constraints should only
be imposed on facilities with which we collectively have significant
experience and on which we have reached consensus about what is The Right
I think that detailed discussion of your many proposals is premature until
you or others have more adequately justified the point of the whole