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Complexity, yet again

    Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1985  23:26 EDT
    From: "Scott E. Fahlman" <Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU>
    ....Those are two of the things I had in mind, plus the non-propagation of
    wrapper changes (if that hasn't also been fixed).  

That's the same thing; it's been fixed.  It sure was ugly before it was fixed!

						       I have the impression
    that there are several other such things, but I'd have to make a careful
    scan of the new documentation to see if any of these really existed or
    if I imagined them, and whether all such things have been fixed.  Also,
    some machinery is described that allows the user to avoid having things
    recompile when the first instance is created or at load time -- this is
    not really a bug if the user ignores it, but I got the impression that
    it was something that users ought to pay close attention to if they
    don't want things to take forever.

Isn't this the distinction between exploratory and production modes?
I.e.  whether you want to do your compilation ahead of time as part of
compiling a file, or whether you want to let the system just do it when
it feels like it.  I imagine that CommonLoops, and any other system that
uses any sort of caching, faces the same issue, and it's more or less
visible to the user depending on how long it takes.  In our system it's
pretty easy to find cases where the system programmers forgot to
compile-flavor-methods, especially for errors that rarely occur, and it
usually takes just long enough for the user to wonder "why is the
debugger slow today?" and not long enough for a riot to break out if it
isn't fixed.  Say 5 or 10 seconds.

    If these things are fixed, or are fixable, then what we have is mostly a
    documentation problem after all.  The point is to make it aboslutely
    clear to the user that he doesn't have to worry about any of this, and
    to hide the description of all this stuff in the "experts' section".

Indeed.  At Symbolics we're still learning how to write documentation that
is useful to audiences of widely varying expertness.