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[Fahlman: common lisp steering and technical committee membership]

Date: Thursday, 10 April 1986  22:29-EST
From: Scott E. Fahlman <Fahlman>
To:   franz!fisi!fkunze at λkim.berkeley.edu (Fritz Kunze)λ
cc:   mathis at USC-ISIF.ARPA, squires at USC-ISI.ARPA, fahlman
Re:   common lisp steering and technical committee membership

I've been out of town and off the net for the last week, and am only now
digging through the netmail that piled up in the meantime.  I just
wanted to let you know that I take your concerns seriously.  I'll answer
your mail more fully as soon as I can, probably over the weekend.  Right
now I'm too jet lagged to deal with such a sensitive issue.  Of course,
my view on this is just that of one individual.  There won't be any
formal mechanism for dealing with such questions until X3J13 has been
formed under ANSI.  But in the meantime we want to be as sensitive as
possible to the kinds of concerns you raise, consistent with the central
goal of quickly preparing a proposed specification that is acceptable
to the community.

Since you offer it, I would indeed be interested in seeing your evidence
(or a summary of it) that the perceptions caused by the current
membership of the technical and steering committees have hurt your
business in its competition with Lucid.  There are a lot of issues here
that are difficult to sort out, and being able to talk about the
specifics, as you and your potential customers perceive them, might help
us to work out an acceptable solution.  For example, there's the
question of whether some customer is going with Lucid because they feel
that Dick Gabriel and other Lucid people have had more to do with the
definition of Common Lisp (so far) than anyone from your company; that's
not quite the same thing as choosing Lucid because they have someone on a
particular committee and you don't.  But if the committee memberships
per se are distorting the market then we should think about how to fix

Of course, you shouldn't show me anything that you consider
confidential.  I wouldn't pass such things to Lucid, since my allegience
to the Common Lisp standardization effort is much stronger than my minor
connection with Lucid, but I wouldn't want there to be any grounds for
suspicion, and I suppose that this knowledge could somehow influence the
kind of advice that I give to Lucid on those occasions when I consult
for them.

-- Scott Fahlman