[r6rs-discuss] steering Scheme
matthias at ccs.neu.edu
Wed Feb 18 11:05:27 EST 2009
On Feb 18, 2009, at 3:04 AM, r6rs-discuss-request at lists.r6rs.org wrote:
> Message: 11
> Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 00:04:00 -0800
> From: Thomas Lord <lord at emf.net>
Posted at http://blog.plt-scheme.org/
Sorry for the remnants of html -- Matthias
> Election time is here again. A couple more days and the Scheme
> community will have a set of new steer-ers.
> I have argued at this place before that good language design needs
> a feedback loop. Language designers write down specs; language
> implementers translate those specs into compilers and interpreters;
> programmers use these implementations to produce useful software.
> The loop comes in when implementers inform designers of flaws,
> inconsistencies, mistakes, errors, and other internal consistency
> problems in the specs. This is clearly happening with R6RS, and it
> is good. Implementers are a biased bunch, however. After all, they
> work on just one kind of program, and in a highly specialized
> domain that has been mined for a long time. How can you trust them?
> The loop becomes truly useful when people write large software
> systems (not just compilers, because they really are special
> cases!) and find that the language fails them in some way. Such
> failures can come in a number of flavors. For a document such as
> R6RS, we should hope that programmers can discover problems with
> porting systems that are apparently due to ambiguities, flaws,
> mistakes, roaches in the actual document (as opposed to a specific
> The last thing we want from a steering committee is a radical
> commitment to change (whatever it may be); a prejudice concerning
> R6RS; a closed mind about the size of "Scheme" (it's too large,
> it's too small); a willingness to steer without making
> observations. A steering committee of overbearing curmudgeons is
> not what we want.
> What we do want is a committee that is willing to figure out how
> the listening is going to happen; how we can possibly finance a
> systematic way of listening (writing NSF grants, anyone?); how the
> feedback is best channeled into language design.
> Let's hope we get such a steering committee. The Scheme community
> deserves it.
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