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This whole discussion has strongly reinforced my belief that PROVIDE and
REQUIRE are ill-conceived and should be removed from the language.  I also
feel far too much of the limited remaining time has been spent on this
trivial issue.

If PROVIDE and REQUIRE are really trying to be DEFSYSTEM, there is little
chance of converging on a concensus of what they should be within the next
two months.  On the other hand, if REQUIRE is nothing but a way to check
whether a flag has been set, the language already contains global variables
and IF statements, so why duplicate a mechanism the user could implement
for himself?