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What I remember from a subcommittee meeting (that only included a small subset
of the people on the mailing list, unfortunately) is that we informally agreed
to do something of the sort; that is, to remove any operative definition of
PROVIDE and REQUIRE. The exact wording is tricky. 

The issue I think is whether we think that programs that have recursive
requirements should be portable. I think so -- it is consistent with current
practice and the users issue.

I wonder if part of the way of handling this is to be more explicit about what
we all know: that LOAD, PROVIDE and REQUIRE have to cooperate to make this work