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Re: Scheme Implementors' Workshop

What is rrrs-authors for, if not for brawling?  :-)

I am not one of the organizers of this implementors' workshop,
and I have my own complaint about its announced purpose.  Before
getting to that, however, I would like to recount the origin of
this implementors' meeting, and how it became a formal workshop.

The idea for this workshop arose at the 20th anniversary Scheme
workshop.  I and several other implementors discussed the idea
of getting a roomful of implementors together at ICFP '96 to talk
about our common problems, and to discuss things that we could do
as implementors to improve the portability and usefulness of Scheme.

It seemed likely that there would be too many of us to meet in
someone's hotel room, so we began to look into the possibility of
reserving a meeting room.  As I understand it, the reason this
meeting has turned into a formal workshop, with an organizing
committee and an official call for participation, is that meeting
rooms will be in short supply at ICFP '96, and the only way to
reserve a meeting room is to be an official workshop of some kind.
Furthermore the number of people attending the workshop is likely
to be limited by the capacity of the meeting room.

Somehow an organizing committee of non-implementors got appointed,
or appointed itself, to issue a call for participation and to
decide who is invited to attend the workshop.  As a matter of
fairness, it is probably good that there is little overlap between
the interests of the organizing committee and the interests of the
implementors who will be attending the workshop, since the
organizing committee will inevitably be viewed as the bad guys who
are out to exclude some people from the workshop.  I think the
organizing committee should be viewed as a necessary evil,
occasioned by the shortage of space at ICFP '96.

As Jeff Dalton pointed out, exclusive workshops like this occur
all the time.  The reason you're hearing about this one is that
it is more open than most.

On the other hand, I don't care for the purpose of the meeting as
it was stated in the call for participation.  There's nothing
wrong with reviewing the state of various Scheme implementations,
though I think that should be done beforehand by electronic mail
so we can spend our time talking about more useful stuff.  But I
do have a problem with seeking "to assess alternatives for the
continued development of Scheme".

My problem with this has nothing to do with Kent Pitman's objection
(that it's unfair to exclude users, et cetera).  My problem with
this is that it sounds like a waste of time.  If my goal were to
argue about alternatives for the continued development of Scheme,
I'd have tried to organize another authors' meeting.  Why should
an implementors' meeting traverse the same quicksand?

My hope is that the implementors who attend this meeting will be
able to ignore its stated purposes and make some real progress
instead on the issues they (the implementors) all face.

William D Clinger