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My own experience on the Macintosh is that flushing the output buffers
at regular time intervals is good enough for typical interactive
applications. The Mac version of Gambit flushes the buffers every
1/10th of a sec (actually, everytime the event handler is called which is
at most 1/10 of a sec). This gives performance comparable to MacScheme.
I think such a technique is both efficient and, for interactive programs,
is close enough to non-buffered output to be indistinguishable from it.