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[KMP@STONY-BROOK.SCRC.Symbolics.COM: Details of online access to dpANS Common Lisp spec]
As with the previous announcement of the public review status of dpANS
Common Lisp, this message is being sent to a very wide audience. Please
don't reply to all the recipients.
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 1992 02:11-0400
From: Kent M Pitman <KMP@STONY-BROOK.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Subject: Details of online access to dpANS Common Lisp spec
The administrative issues are now resolved and the dpANS Common Lisp spec
is now accessible online by anonymous ftp.
How to Obtain Your Copy
The files are on the machine named BETA.XEROX.COM in "/pub/cl/document/*",
and can be retrieved by anonymous ftp. You may or may not want all of
these files. The file Reviewer-Notes.text in that directory contains
IMPORTANT INFORMATION that EVERYONE should read BEFORE ftp'ing the
other files, especially since the document is quite large and the
information contained in Reviewer-Notes.text might cause you to realize
you only need a subset of the other files. Among other things, it
- The nature of the files in the directory.
- What the formal status of these files is.
- Important caveats for those who choose to go with online
rather than hardcopy access.
- How to make Public Review comments.
- Who to contact with administrative questions.
Background Information about the Administrative Issues
Numerous people have inquired about why there were delays in announcing
the FTP address for this data. It was suggested by some that it was an
economic issue (e.g., that CBEMA receives royalties on the hardcopy
sold by Global Engineering Documents, Inc.). I have been in direct
discussion with the people at X3 and they tell me that it is true that
they do receive such royalties, but they were basically willing to
overlook that issue in order to satisfy our needs. The real reasons
for the delay were the following, which I consider quite legitimate and
was glad to see being addressed:
- There was an issue of making sure that people understood which
sources of data are reliable. Standards bodies make their living
on being a standard source of information, and that is somewhat at
odds with the fact that data can be modified (both accidentally
and deliberately) as it moves about the net. They were not
concerned with suppressing access; rather, they were concerned that
people who had access should understand the difference between
getting random bits off of the net and getting a
- The normal procedure for standards is that if you order a
standard (in hardcopy) or you make a review comment, then you are
automatically registered to receive future notifications about the
progress of that standard--in particular, whether there are future
public review periods. Anonymous online access by its nature
doesn't provide for registering yourself, so people getting online
access need to know they won't be provided with this service.
After discussing these matters with the X3 folks, we've arrived at what
we think is a proper compromise, which is to just make full disclosure
of these caveats and let people decide what's the best solution for
themselves. The disclosure information is in the file Reviewer-Notes.text
mentioned above, so you can see that file for further details.
The people I spoke to at X3 mentioned that this is their first
experiment with this issue of online access and they were somewhat
unprepared to deal with the onslaught of requests they received. It's
a learning experience for them, and I've been quite impressed with the
way they've been handling it thus far. They do have a lot to learn, but
compared to a lot of bureaucracies I've seen, I think they're being
remarkably open minded in the ways they're looking at things. Their
primary concerns have not been blind adherence to established policies
for policy's sake, but rather thoughtful concern about principles of
fairness and quality--the things a good standards organization should
be about. So if you have interactions with them, please show proper
amounts of patience, courtesy, and thanks for the professionalism and
hard work they've put in to cut through a lot of red tape for us in a
very short time. After all, we want online access to happen increasingly
in the future, and one way to help assure that is to try where possible
to make it a pleasant experience for them.
Note that they are still not prepared to handle e-mail public comments
and want all Public Review comments in hardcopy. I know they have
additional legitimate concerns relating to use of e-mail for Public Review
and I strongly suggest we leave that entire issue alone for this round,
and let them cope with that as a separate experiment another time in the