Subject: Re: I don't understand Lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/11/07
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* (Mike McDonald)
| I'd go so far as to say most innovative things start out "proprietary".
| Afterall, most innovations start with one person and then, hopefully,
| spread.  Except if it's related to CL.  Then everyone will implement
| their own incompatible version.

  amazing.  you appear not to know any history _but_ that of CL.  the Unix
  world has been under (well-deserved) attack for as long as it has existed
  for precisely this problem.  I lecture on the history of Unix, and do
  some quantitative research just for fun, and on last count, there had
  been more than 50 incompatible regexp pattern matching libraries for Unix
  and C by its 25th anniversary.  today, there are 6 widely used libraries,
  all seriously incompatible both in syntax and in calling conventions.

| Why?  In just about every other industry, release cycles aren't
| synchronized either.  But yet they manage to support "defacto standards".

  in actuality, they don't.  you just don't know them from the inside.

| In this case, all Franz would have to do is release the one source file
| under somethng like a GPL copyright.  (Scanning thru the symbols, it
| looks like it's all defined in  Then Harlequin, Digitool,
| CMUCL, CLISP, and users can all pick it up.  That's one problem solved.
| But they won't, so they must think it gives them some great competitive
| edge.

  would you stop complaining if they did?  would you demand support for
  your favorite regexp feature?  would you require Franz Inc to support
  other vendor's Lisp systems?  what would happen if one vendor decided to
  make an enhancement to the public source?  etc.  maybe it just costs too
  much to give something away.

| This is NOT early design stuff.  Crap, in 10 days we're celebrating the
| 40th anniversary of Lisp!  And we can't even get regexp

  so if you can't eat _just_ what you want, you'd rather starve?

| Standards committees are no place for end users, especially not
| individuals.

  you know not at all of what you speak.  in all the standards committees I
  have worked with through the years (eleven all told), end users have held
  the majority.  in six of them, the number of concerned individuals have
  outnumbered the vendors, too.

| The time and money it takes to participate is beyond the reach of most
| users.

  ok, so I'm not "most users", but it is _easily_ within reach for most
  professionals and there is usually somebody who can sponsor you if you
  ask them nicely.  it should not be a particularly hard job, either,
  unless you are the only user in a fairly large geographical area.

| We seem to have the chicken and egg problem.  The vendors won't agree to
| anything until it's blessed by X3J13.  But X3J13 won't bless anything
| until the members, aka the vendors, agree.  Stalemate!

  I see no evidence of this being true.

  The Microsoft Dating Program -- where do you want to crash tonight?