[r6rs-discuss] Why are we discussing R7 already?
William D Clinger
will at ccs.neu.edu
Sat Nov 1 18:42:35 EDT 2008
Ray Dillinger asked why we are discussing R7 already.
There are several reasons to move expeditiously toward
a new document. IMO, the most important reason is that
the Scheme community was split by the R6RS. Failure to
move forward toward standards that address the needs
of both camps would institutionalize this split by
creating the impression that this process matters only
to those who write R6RS-style static programs, and can
be ignored by those who continue to program in the
language that was most recently described by the R5RS.
Even if this process were relevant only to users of
the new language described by the R6RS, we already
know of many problems with that language that need
to be fixed. Some of those problems were known even
when the R6RS was ratified, having been identified
in comments that preceded or accompanied the ballot.
With a better standards process, those technical
comments would have led promptly to new drafts and
new ballots, even though the very first ballot had
exceeded the nominal 60% threshold for ratification.
For this next round of revision, we should strive
to achieve the "maximum possible timely consensus",
as was accomplished by the five drafts of IEEE-754R
that were prepared and put to a vote even after its
nominal 75% threshold had been achieved.
Furthermore we now have an entire year of experience
with substantially complete implementations of the
R6RS. With six different implementations of all or
most of the R6RS (Larceny, PLT, Ypsilon, Ikarus,
IronScheme, Mosh), we have already encountered the
most serious portability problems that were created
by the R6RS, and implementors and some users of those
systems are by now quite familiar with what Aziz
accurately described as its "useless procedures,
complex interfaces, ill-specified corner cases, buggy
code, typos, etc."
It's time to fix the many known problems of the R6RS,
and it's time for this process to make a more serious
attempt to address the concerns of those who perceive
the R6RS as a repudiation of the spirit of Scheme.
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