Subject: Re: case confusion
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/08/25
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kent M Pitman <>
| That's what I get for writing a mostly-readable standard, I suppose.
| It's not perfect, surely, but compared to some other language
| stnadrds, it is approachable.  Had I made it less readable by casual
| readers, they wouldn't have tried and would, as happens with all other
| languages, be resorting to secondary references instead...

  Since I argued that Scheme has the best standard I know about, and I
  know that didn't match your views all that well, there are at least
  two metrics by which you can judge a standard: (1) How easy is it to
  arrive at a conforming implementation according to the standard?
  (2) How easy is it to understand and use a conforming implementation
  with the aid of the standard?  Scheme rules supreme on the first
  count, and that has been the traditional use for a standard.  In
  computer science, however, standards are more than that, and the
  last point you make above is that the standard is very useful as a
  reference for users of conforming implementations of Common Lisp.  I
  quite agree that secondary references are not the way to go, and I'm
  quite annoyed by the lack of official references for other languages
  that I'd like to use or understand, so let me put it this way: ANSI
  Common Lisp was the first standards document that was targeted to
  the user community (just like its predecessors), to be _the_ source
  of information on the language, not just for implementors.  I could
  say it's the best reference document for a language I know.

  With my Scheme comment, I also wanted to honor the goal of Scheme,
  which is to have an excellent standard, which implies that they
  could revel in its excellence without any implementations.  Common
  Lisp didn't have that goal: It's goal was to unite user communities,
  and later to provide implementors and users with a useful contract
  document.  The result is a remarkably good standards document, but
  for an implementor, there are still a lot to figure out that isn't
  explicitly stated in the standard.  (I believe Kyoto Common Lisp was
  the first Common Lisp to have been written without access to the
  rich oral tradition surrounding CLtL1, but I know of no Common Lisp
  implementation according to the ANSI specification that was not
  developed by people who didn't know the standards folks, too.)

  If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.