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LISP standardisation

     A statement about the European standardisation effort on LISP.

A committee, called the EuLISP committee, has met regularly since
September of last year to prepare a definition of LISP for presentation
to the respective national standards organisations of the members and
thence to ISO.  Regular participants include Chailloux, Christaller,
Krumnack, Fitch, Padget, Pope, Queinnec and Steels.  EuLISP is simply the
name of the committee; the name of the defined language will, we hope, be
ISO LISP.  For convenience that name is used for the definition in the
rest of this message.

ISO LISP is a post Common LISP (CL) LISP, which is to say that it draws
on the experience of the CL definition and development effort, as well as
the experience of other LISP activities.

ISO LISP has a compact, identifiable kernel, which, in itself, will
correspond to the level 0 definition.  The full ISO LISP will be defined
at several levels in two dimensions.  Along one axis is the complexity of
the language, and along the other are the multiple levels of
programming environment support.

It is our intention to define the kernel such that Level (0,0) be very
simple and portable even to current micro-computers while Level (3,3) (or
more likely (3,2) or (3,1)) with less environment will have at least the
breadth and depth of CL as discussed in Steele et al.  (Digital Press),
but this should by no means be read as a committment to correspond
exactly or completely (by extension or omission) with that document.  CL
is certainly the major input to the definition, but it is not the only
one.  Even now, CL, as laid down by Steele et al., is under review and
this fact alone makes such a committment unwise.

The EuLISP committee includes representatives of the implementors of two
LISP dialects widely used outside the United States, namely Leâ??LISP and
Cambridge LISP, in addition to large LISP users.  The effect of this is
that the committee can take advantage of the lessons learnt over the
lives of these systems, whilst at the same time using them as an
environment for prototyping the new definition.  Let it be clearly stated
that this is not an attempt to make either Cambridge LISP or Leâ??LISP or
some hybrid into a standard, but to evolve a new standard.

A fundamental part of the definition process includes a rationale for ISO
LISP and, incrementally, there will be a rationale for each major design
decision, such as why something is included, excluded or at variance in
some other way with existing dialects.

The EuLISP committee meets on the first Monday of each month and the
sessions are open.  The next three meetings are scheduled as follows:

	March 3 1986 - IRCAM (near Pompidou Centre), Paris.
	April 7 1986 - INRIA, Sophia Antipolis (near Nice).
	May 5 1986 - IRCAM, Paris.

Subsequent meetings will be arranged on a three month forward plan.

We are determined that the definition will be complete in twelve months
and in accordance with that aim, the draft level 0 definition will be
produced by 1 June 1986.  It is also expected that prototype
implementations will conform to that definition very close to that date.

The monthly meetings are first and foremost for coordination, review and
setting the next group of objectives.  The remaining time is allotted
to technical issues, but for the most part, such details are discussed on
electronic mail, to which end there is a mailing list:

	{seismo,decvax}!mcvax!inria!eulisp at INRIA (Paris).

Interested parties should mail Chailloux at that address (...!inria!chailloux)
to be added.