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Re: Language design online
- To: SHRAGE at WHARTON-10
- Subject: Re: Language design online
- From: JL at MIT-MC (Jonathan Lettvin)
- Date: Fri ,6 Feb 81 15:38:00 EDT
- Cc: lisp-forum at MIT-AI
I fully concur with the statement that the decisions on LISP
or MACLISP development should be centralized. The only reason I would
dare to speak up (seeing that I am an extremely prolific, yet novice,
LISP programmer). Is that having very divided DEFSTRUCTs and STRINGs
from implementation to implementation as well as randomly distributed
or non-existent documentation for installed features makes it
impossible for me to use good judgement in either learning or code
As I am intending to install hairy features at distant sites I
need to have ready access to known system inadequacies of PDP-10s ITSs
Multices et. al.
A for instance. Multics string handling is non-standard in
that caseness is handled. For my purpose, the string handling packages
MUST be able to separate cases. The functions of the same name (i.e.
SUBSTR INDEX etc...) do NOT do the same thing at MC. Furthermore, MC
does handle these, but to my knowledge, in no way does it make their
existence public and the documentation is hidden in some obscure file
in the form of the original source.
Back to the point. I agree that having development from
several varying sources (i.e. DEFSTRUCT at LM and MACLISP) is terribly
valuable. Just that, once one has been shown to be more popular and
accepted, it should be installed in a constantly updated on-line
manual, indexed, cross-referenced, and all the good things that would
make MACLISP outstanding. I already think that LISP is God's gift to
the world. Now let's make it available.
I volunteer to help or even learn enough to direct (although I
know there are far more talented people available) any effort to do
so. I even offer to become a part member of MathLab or AI or whatever
for that purpose. Please though, If anyone like KMP or JONL or SOLEY
or JIM or ...... can manage to fiddle up the time, they are eminently
more suited than I.