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Re: Standardization

I think that you have the priorities confused somewhat.  It is not the
outside users that have to "freeze their version at a lower level", rather
if we expect to see any of the changes that we are talking about ever leave
the realm of the ARPAnet and enter the universe of LISP as a whole then we
had better have some general method of distributing knowledge throughout
the AI (et al) community.  If there are 100,000 CADRs in the field (God
forbid) and we suddenly decide to change the syntax of DEFUN I think that
we will be laughed at -- or worse, ignored.  This is not so much of a
fantasy; there are thousands of LISP systems in the world -- 99% of which
never see these conversations.  Is it those systems that are now "out of
date" or are we talking through our hats.  They are not ALL going to change
slash to shlas unless we make it a matter of public policy.  That doesn't
mean that becuase some hacker on LISP-FORUM said that it was a good idea.  
Having an official info-center is a very important matter.  I am not about
to propose, as you thought, that we lock the language at version X and be
done with it -- that would be admittedly silly at this time, however, we
should have some means of communicating with the LISP world as well as
centrally cataloguing what we do.  A journal or newletter or whatever is
not an unreasonable way of doing this albeit a lot of work is involved.
One might argue that "well, they should join the net."  I think that this
is more of a fantasy than the 100,000 CADRs.  Also, that does not help us
in the control of the dynamic standard.  A thought -- why should we be
tied down to the "old" methods of standardization -- a "dynamic standard"
is actually feasible in LISP as in no other [common] language.  What
happens to user X's lisp system when he gets onto the net and finds out
that the only way that he has of running anyone else's code is to read
through years of LISP-FORUM mail and incorporate in his system all the
changes chronologically?  

-- Jeff

P.S. I directly challange your statement that "computer language standards
 are weak...and tell you no more than when you leave ALGOL and enter LISP."
 I think that the later is one of the few things that they DO NOT tell you
 and I hold the APL standard as direct evidence against the rest of that