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The user impact and discussion have been rewritten.
Bugs in current practice have been fixed.
The proposal itself is unchanged (eliminate).

References:    *MODULES*, PROVIDE, REQUIRE, pp 188-191
               LOAD, pp 426-427
Category:      CHANGE
Edit history:  Version 1 by Pierson 9/13/88
               Version 2 by Pierson 9/19/88, change PROVIDE stuff per comments
               Version 3 by Pierson 10/17/88, remove PROVIDE locaction specs.
	       Version 4 by Pierson 10/31/88, remove from language
               Version 5 by Pierson 11/15/88, cleanup, fix discussion
Status:        Ready For Release

Problem description:

PROVIDE and REQUIRE are a dual-purpose pair of functions that attempt
to provide multi-file Common Lisp programs with a single mechanism to
detect and correct incorrect load sequences.  These functions were
also designed to be used for general file inclusion in Common Lisp.
Unfortunately, the file loading feature of REQUIRE is specified such
that it is inherently non-portable and environment dependent.


Remove PROVIDE and REQUIRE from the Common Lisp standard.

Test Cases/Examples:

(PROVIDE 'fft)

Would not be Common Lisp.

(REQUIRE 'fft)

Would not be Common Lisp.


The file loading feature of REQUIRE is non-portable.  The remaining
functionality of PROVIDE and REQUIRE (pushing and testing *MODULES*)
can easily be implemented by user code.  Since some implementations
will retain the automatic module loading features of REQUIRE and some
won't, use of REQUIRE will almost always make code less portable.

Current practice:

All implementations currently support some sort of file loading via
single-argument REQUIRE.  In general, the Lisp Machine implementations
invoke the system module building/loading facility while the Unix
implementations simply try to load a file in the current directory.

Cost to Implementors:

Implementations will have to move PROVIDE and REQUIRE to their package
for implementation extensions and change their documentation to
indicate that PROVIDE and REQUIRE are non-standard.  This is a fairly
small change.

Cost to Users:

Non-portable programs that rely on PROVIDE and REQUIRE will probably
be unaffected since implementations will probably maintain their
existing functionality.  Since the current behavior is decidedly
non-portable, portable programs have to aviod or special-case PROVIDE
and REQUIRE anyway.

Cost of non-Adoption:

PROVIDE and REQUIRE will continue as impediments to portability.


The non-portability of PROVIDE and REQUIRE will be made obvious.


This simplifies the language by removing an environment-dependent


The cleanup committee tried to come up with a proposal to restrict
PROVIDE and REQUIRE to the portable subset of their functionality.
This failed because several implementors objected that it compelled
them to significantly reduce the functionality they provided users in
order to create a trivial feature which any user could easily write
for herself.

Fahlman, Gregor, Grey, Loosemore, Moon, Pierson, Pitman, Steele, and
Zacharias have expressed support for removing PROVIDE and REQUIRE from
the language, at least as the lesser of several evils.

JonL would much rather see PROVIDE and REQUIRE remain in the language
as a safety net behind any implementation-specific system building
facility.  Pierson likes the safety net idea, but doesn't think it's
workable without forbidding REQUIRE from loading files.

Pitman suggested that PROVIDE and REQUIRE should be depricated rather
than removed entirely.  Pierson agrees, but notes that Larry wants us
to deal with deprication versus elimination as a separate global topic.

Several people have expressed a desire not to break existing user
code.  If accepted, this proposal should not break existing code
because all implementations are expected to retain their current
PROVIDE and REQUIRE functionality as an extension to Common Lisp.