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   Date: Wed, 14 Mar 90 06:08 PST
   From: Bruce Esrig <oravax!esrig@wrath.cs.cornell.edu>
   To: commonloops-request.PA
   Subject: ANSI CL Spec

   Is Steele, 2nd ed. the current best presentation of ANSI Common Lisp ?
	   Bruce Esrig

Perhaps the following text, excerpted from the preface to the
second edition of "Common Lisp: The Language", will shed some
light on the intended relationship of that book to the standard:
X3J13 has completed the bulk of its technical work in rectifying the
1984 definition and codifying extensions to that definition that have
received widespread use and approval.  A draft standard is now being
prepared; it will probably be available in 1990.  There will then be a
period (required by ANSI) for public review.  X3J13 must then consider
the comments it receives and respond appropriately.  If the comments
result in substantial changes to the draft standard, multiple public
review periods may be required before the draft can be approved as an
American National Standard.

Fortunately, X3J13 has done an outstanding job of documenting its
work.  ... By my count, by June 1989 some 186 [proposals] were
approved as language changes....

The purpose of this second edition is to bridge the gap between the
first edition and the forthcoming ANSI standard for Common Lisp.
Because of the requirement for formal public review, it will be some
time yet before the ANSI standard is final.  This book in no way
resembles the forthcoming standard (which is being written
independently by Kathy Chapman of Digital Equipment Corporation with
assistance from the X3J13 Drafting Subcommittee).

I have incorporated into this second edition a great deal of material
based on the votes of X3J13, in order to give the reader a picture of
where the language is heading.  My purpose here is not simply to quote
the X3J13 documents verbatim but to paraphrase them and relate them to
the structure of the first edition.  A single vote by X3J13 may be
discussed in many parts of this book, and a single passage of this
book may be affected by many of the votes.

I wish to be very clear: this book is not an official document of
X3J13, though it is based on publicly available material produced by
X3J13.  In no way does this book constitute a definitive description
of the forthcoming ANSI standard.  The committee's decisions have been
remarkably stable (it has rescinded earlier decisions only two or
three times), and I do not expect radical changes in direction.
Nevertheless, it is quite probable that the draft standard will be
substantively revised in response to editorial review or public
comment.  I have therefore reported here on the actions of X3J13 not
to inscribe them in stone, but to make clear how the language of the
first edition is likely to change.  I have tried to be careful in my
wording to avoid saying ``the language has been changed'' and to state
simply that ``X3J13 voted at such-and-so time to make the following

Until the day when an official ANSI Common Lisp standard emerges, it
is likely that the 1984 definition of Common Lisp will continue to be
used widely.  This book has been designed to be used as a reference
both to the 1984 definition and to the language as modified by the
actions of X3J13.
--Guy Steele