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I know this is an old issue and gripes have been overruled in the past, but
I have to side with DHD on this one.  The defaults in a programming system
should make it POSSIBLE for experts to do expert things, but EASY for
beginners to do beginning things.
    Surely most "experts" regard it as foolhardy for a file to assume
ANYTHING about the ibase without wrapping it in specific declarations.  In
any case, it makes more sense to require experts to set up init files to
override base 10., than to require beginners to set them up to override
base 8!  This sort of thing just lends support to the outside world's
belief that "Lisp is just some strange assembly-level language for esoteric
string processing applications, with lots of stupid parentheses" (a more
common view than we may care to admit).
    Regards, Mark