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One of the nice things about Pitman's proposal is that it is general
enough so that you could use it to implement the kind of rule-based
approach you describe.  I tend to agree with Pitman that this is an
advanced feature, and that people who use it will be willing and able
to do that kind of thing.

I suppose we could make this like DEFSETF and provide 10 different
ways of specifying the same transformation, but that really seems like
needless complexity.  Also, while I think that just about all
compilers do some kind of pattern-matching transformations, everybody
seems to use a different technique and syntax for specifying them, and
we'd probably get into religious wars if we tried to standardize one
or another of them.  (I know of at least a half-dozen different ones
that have been used in the various compilers developed here at Utah
within the past 2 or 3 years!)