Subject: Re: Beginner question: performance problems with a simple program
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 16:17:12 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Aleksandr Skobelev <>
| So, any non-English string won't be compared correctly? 

  _Please_ try to understand there is no _one_ correct way to compare
  strings.  Monoculturalism is simply wrong.  That is why one chooses
  technical specifications that have arbitrary, but very predictable
  results.  Making string< attempt to do culturally sensitive string
  comparisons would _always_ be wrong, because it is not specified to do
  that, was never intended to do that, and should never be intended or
  specified to do that if language designers do their job.  The only
  reasonable way to do string< is to do it with repeated char<, which can
  only be done as < on char-code of the two characters (in practice, with
  machine less-than operations on the internal representation of the
  character object).  In Common Lisp, that is precisely what it does.

  The only _correct_ way to do culturally sensitive sorting is to maintain
  a collation information string in addition to the "data" string.  If you
  are unwilling to do this work, whoever employed you should get a refund,
  and if you did not know, whoever you paid for your education should be
  prepared to give you a refund, unless he demonstrated that you failed to
  do what you were told.

  So here is a hint: If you want to compare two strings with culturally
  sensitive contents, you need to know: which language both are in, how to
  convert strings of that language into collation information strings, and
  then compare the result with string<.  Do _not_ try to roll this into one
  function or make assumptions about the language in use.  And _please_
  note that string< does not work for English, either.  English is _not_
  spelled correctly only using ASCII.

  Why are you behaving as if you are _envious_ of the fact that Common Lisp
  happened to be defined in the United States?  Nobody forces you to use
  the functions that do not fill your needs.  Please quit making it anybody
  else's problems -- just go implement what you think is right.  (Whether
  you share it with others afterwards is not for me to suggest, but if you
  are concerned with the proper sorting of your natural language, it would
  seem reasonable to expect you to publish it, for pay or not.)