Subject: Re: I'm outta here...
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 20:05:07 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Janis Dzerins
| The point John tried to make (as I understood it) is that he writes the
| software for one platform only (Allegro CL) and if anybody tries to port
| it to other platforms, the conditional macro is the smallest and easiest
| part of porting effort, and he never claimed the software as being or
| purporting to be conforming to ANSI Common Lisp.

  None of this would ever have come up as an issue if he had said he wrote
  and posted programs in Foderaro Lisp, which is what he is really doing.
  It looks like Common Lisp the same way Microsoft's languages look like
  the standard -- not quite.

| Users may modify the code but _must_ obey that coding standard, which is
| not The Common Lisp Standard (the ANSI one, because there is no other).
| And hence if anyone thinks it's junk in there, they are not free to
| improve it or even discuss whether something is an improvement -- you
| either obey what the author thinks is best or go code something else.

  Excellent point that has not been made explicit until now.  Thanks.

| Some people here argue that if they can create their favorite Lisp
| dialect of past in a conforming Common Lisp program then it is good to
| do it.  I think it is not.

  I agree.

| If we all agree that _Commn Lisp_ is the base from which we move on then
| we can move on.  People who think that Common Lisp should be changed
| before we move on should either rethink their values and accept The
| Standard as a starting point or create another community and leave Common
| Lisp alone.

  This would not have been a problem if it were not for the weird desire to
  name the new community "Common Lisp".  However, there are always those
  who think they can steal the momentum of the good name of something they
  want to destroy and replace.

| The acceptance of Common Lisp as the authority should have been implicit
| for people wanting to be a part of the Common Lisp community, but it
| seems that somehow some people don't understand it.

  There is a difference between accepting something _as_ an authority and
  accepting everything it says as authoritative.  This is an important
  distinction that Paul Foley helped me realize was not made explicit.  The
  latter is simply wrong -- but I do not think anybody actually _does_ that
  except to accuse others of it.  That is, if you say you accept the law
  _as_ the authority on public conduct in a society, someone who does not
  accept the law _as_ an authority will typically argue that you should not
  accept everything it says as _right_.  Our perpetrator does exactly that
  and it did not even occur to me just _how_ sinister this was: It means
  that you cannot accept someone or somethinig _as_ an authority unless you
  agree to everything they say, making infallibility a prerequisite for
  authority, which is simply so insane that nobody _should_ be able to come
  to this conclusion on their own, but again, some people tend to think
  that other people believe insane things so they are easier to fight.
  This prerequisite of infallibility is fantastically destructive to the
  very fabric of a reasonable society, but many religions incorporate it.
  This is why the perpetrator thinks that Common Lisp is a religion and a
  cult to those who accept the standard _as_ the authority.  To him, to
  disagree with an authority means to dethrone and reject it.  Since this
  is so nuts as to be excluded from the conversation among reasonable men,
  anyone who actually believes something like this is very destructive.

  This "accept the standard as authority" is what I have meant by "respect
  for the standard".  You can respect someone while disagreeing with them.
  You can respect the police even while arguing against their behavior, but
  if you just get mad at police in general and start to fight the police
  for no better reason that they _are_ the police, it is not _disagreement_
  that you should be prepared to defend yourself against.  Curiously, it is
  precisely with "disagreement" that our perpetrator has tried to summarize
  his conflicts with those who uphold the standard _as_ the authority.  We
  should not buy into this line of argument at all.  If you reject the only
  authority in a community because you disagree with it, it is not because
  of your "disagreement" that people object to your behavior, it is because
  the whole community reverts to anarchy and is filled with uncertainty,
  loss of stability, and absence of trust in the vendors in the market.

  If there is _one_ thing that the Common Lisp community must have more
  than any other community, it is trust in its vendors and respect for its
  standard.  The language community is too small to sustain splinter groups
  and fragmentation.  A vendor who answers to nobody, but which is willing
  to "go their own way" regardless of consequences and objections is hard
  to trust to do things right, to correct mistakes, etc.  If they "answer
  to their customers", it only means that customers who do not want the
  standard behavior are valued higher than those who do -- that particular
  terminology has forever been usurped by Microsoft to mean disrespect for
  any authority that is not themselves.  It also means they are unlikely to
  fix conformance bugs upon which some _past_ customers have based their
  applications that are valued higher than future customers who cannot base
  their applications on their lack of conformance.  This is _not_ what the
  Common Lisp community needs to survive.

  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.