Subject: Re: List comprehension
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2001 12:31:27 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kent M Pitman <>
| One can't re-open the standards process on condition that only certain
| changes be made.  It can only be reopened generally, and that can
| destabilize other things.

  Considering that we have a few people (still) in the community who want
  to redefine if and remove when, unless, and probably extended loop, too,
  who fight against upper-case symbol names, want to get rid of characters
  and leave us with the C-like stupidity of conflating characters and small
  integers, etc, and who will _not_ quit regardless of how much negative
  feedback they receive for their "efforts", it is impossible to reopen the
  standard for danger of having someone like that fight tooth and nail for
  their favorite personal issues to the detriment of us all.  Again, it is
  not that they want something for themselves, it is that they are so
  arrogant and egoistic that they want everybody else not to have something
  they do not want.  That kind of attitude is incompatible with responsible
  participation in the standards process, and is frankly so dangerous that
  those who want the standard not only to be stable, but to remain a
  standard at all, need to keep it from reopening until the rebels can be
  controlled.  This means that one of the reasons that we cannot add stuff
  to the standard that people ask for and for which there is sufficient
  consensus is that there is at least one prominent nutcase out there who
  does not want to be part of the consensus-creation process and who cannot
  be trusted not to shy away from derailing the whole standard if he does
  not get his pet peeves "serviced" by the committee.  The strong hostility
  towards the choice of upper-case symbol names alone should make everyone
  nervous about reopening the standard.

  In the SGML community, stability of the standard was considered much more
  important than we see the stability of ours, and the terrible fighting
  that took place in order to keep representatives of several countries who
  did not quite grasp the purpose of a standard and who wanted to change a
  lot of small things that would have meant the rest of the world would
  have been put on hold waiting for the last such nutcase to be satisfied.
  The danger in an open committee is that it cannot exclude people who are
  too narrow-minded, selfish, or stupid to figure out how their "desires"
  will impact other people if implemented, or who even do not care.  As
  long as such people are vocal in the community, _nothing_ will happen in
  the form of standards and other political arenas.  If such people are not
  excised from the community, _all_ political processes will halt pending
  the emergence of responsibility and stability and respect for the process
  and the results that it produces.  The SGML community tried to shut up
  its nutcases by writing a document that detailed what kinds of changes
  would be allowed, and had all the countries vote on this document, which
  at the time looked draconian and dictatorial, but it turned out to be
  quite necessary to keep a few vocal nutcases from going postal and cut
  and slash at random from the standard, primarily motivated by a sense of
  "competition" from ODA.  This worked for a few years, until W3C took over
  the lead to create XML, which has certainly destabilized the SGML world
  and wasted enormous amounts of money on re-tooling applications, despite
  all the political verbiage to the contrary.

  I am deeply concerned about the future of Common Lisp because of the lack
  of respect for the one document of community agreement that we have today.
  That some renegade nutcase is so irrationally opposed to upper-case and
  to the standard conditionals means that we will spend lots and lots of
  energy keeping the renegade nutcase from damaging what we have managed to
  scrape together and hold together with chewing gum and duct tape _because_
  of the nutcase's incessant rantings about the flaws of the standard.  If
  we could get rid of the overly vocal nutcase, or he could figure out that
  he has _quit_ the community and should just go away and make his own Lisp,
  the stability of the standard would improve so much that people could
  again look to it and _trust_ that stability and use the document itself
  for reference and _expect_ it to be implemented fully and correctly, as
  opposed to having to wonder what influence the nutcase has had on the
  willingness to implement the many parts of the standard he rebels against.
  Once we have that sense of stability and trust, we can work to improve it.

  Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's
  Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate.
  Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.