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Re: /\ Mess, upward compatibility

The issue is not in language purity, but in data storage.  When a program,
such as LOAD wants to load some data, it has to know what format the data
is in.  Currently there are two separate formats: QFASL and S-expressions.
Ideally the file system should know what the format of the data in the file
is, and be able to return it when asked for it.  The fact that this information
is stored with the data is a loss in the current file system, but the only 
real alternative to re-writing the file system so that files can have arbitrary

Currently, on the lisp machine, you can ask a file what it's properties are,
and it returns the contents of the -*- line.  This does not require one
to write a parser for the line; it already exists.  The fact that such a
feature doesn't exist in Maclisp, is what Moon was refering to (I believe).