[r6rs-discuss] R5RS is not a baseline
samth at ccs.neu.edu
Fri Feb 20 18:51:06 EST 2009
On Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 2:45 AM, Brian Harvey <bh at eecs.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> John Cowan <cowan at ccil.org> says:
>>> I hope things have not reached that point among Schemers!
>> I think they have, with respect to goals rather than means. If we
>> agreed on goals, then means would be a matter of engineering judgement.
>> But in fact, the only major goal that all the electors seem to agree on
>> is unity! Everything else is up for debate.
> If you mean only that there is some unclarity in articulating the shared
> goals of our community, this can be resolved by discussion and consensus.
> If you mean that there is a true bifurcation (or worse) of goals, then
> your later comment becomes very relevant:
>>> As a result, changes often don't happen until an
>>> old generation dies off.
>> Alternatively, they happen by split.
> And if things are as bad as you suggest about goals, then maybe that's a
> better solution than an attempt at papering over the problem. (As I said
> earlier, I hope that's not the case.)
But you've made very clear that this is the case. To quote you two days ago:
> IMHO Scheme has a noble, holy purpose: to embarrass the designers of other
> languages into reconsidering their accretions of features, and to teach
> budding computer scientists the virtues of parsimony.
> Should there be one language for both? No; there should be Common Lisp for
> the industrial users and Scheme for the academic users.
which makes it pretty clear that your goals do not coincide at all
with mine, or with anyone else who wants this standards process to be
primarily about creating a dialect of Scheme  for use in writing
portable real programs.
It's fine to have differing goals, but we need to be up-front about
that fact. If we pretend now that we all have the same goals, we'll
be very disappointed later when it turns out that we have to choose
between conflicting goals.
 There's certainly a place for other dialects of Scheme, without
the sorts of features one might want for "industrial" use. I teach
with such a dialect every day. But we shouldn't think that either one
dialect can be all things to all people, or that the primary purpose
of RnRS should be teaching beginning programmers.
samth at ccs.neu.edu
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