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If the syntax #^C were to be the same as #\CONTROL-C, I don't see any problem
with machine independece.  If you define machine independence as doing the same
thing on all levels, then yes, it's not independent, but if you define it as
having the same semantics, there is no problem.  On the LISPM, it returns the
character with CONTROL bit added in.  On the 10 or VAX, it uppercasifies and
XOR's 100.  Knight keyboards, with the TTY opened in FIXNUM mode, there is yet
another character set, but it is not usually used from LISP, and if the user
wants to talk in that langugae, he can just redefine #^.  On the S-1, it
probably does something else.  The point is that while the exact fixnum meant
varies from machine to machine, the user is in each case going to hold down the
control key and type a character, and that's the machine-independent action we
want to capture.  Yes, you can do #\CONTROL-C (and I've just added those to
SHARPM), but I happen to think those are ugly to see in your code.
(TYO #\CONTROL-C) vs. (TYO #^C)