Subject: Re: Common Lisp vs Scheme
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 14 Aug 2002 22:28:52 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kent M Pitman
| Maybe you're intending to answer for this case, but I didn't ask as
| specifically as I should have.  Let me restate and elaborate my 
| question/comment and see if it changes your answer.

  I understood your quesetion the way you intended.  I think an expired
  standard is harder to use as a legal reference than a "live" standard, but
  if you cannot actually get a vendor to state their conformance in writing,
  it is a moot question, anyway.  I think conformance clauses that require
  only products that purports to conform to the standard be called by the name
  of the standard would be more useful than non-expiring standards.  Then it
  would say in the product documentation or even its splash/banner that it is
  a Common Lisp, say, because it purports to conform to the standard and that
  it would be a serious infringement (of some kind) to call something a Common
  Lisp if it did not so state.

| Or do they secretly understand that an expired standard can still be a real
| standard and that it's just a hassle to renew.

  I think people regard an expired standard as expired for a reason.  A renewal
  is a good signal from the community that it cares enough about the standard
  to maintain it.  Failure to send that signal could be interpreted as meaning
  that anything goes and that the community no longer cares about conformance
  to this standard.  At the very least, those who depend on it should scrounge
  up the monies to renew it if that is what is required.

| You see, personally, I think it's nuts to say a standard expires.  I think
| it's like asking someone if he wants to renew his nobel prize or asking an
| author if they want renew not their copyright but their authorship.

  Well, I agree that it is nuts that it expires -- there should instead be a
  move to obsolete a standard -- but when the standards bodies require it, you
  either play their game or you lose by default.  If you want to move that a
  particular standard should not expire despite the rules that are intended to
  expire defaultly obsoleted standards. there are rules to that effect, too,
  if you want to get ineto the politics of IEEE standardization.

  Not that I think this matters for Common Lisp concerns.  I would find a way
  to get the money to pay ANSI to keep ANSI X3.224 alive for however long it
  requires.  (I even toyed with the idea of having one of the Bible printers
  produce a gilded, leather bound version of the standard on their fine India
  paper.  When they can do that with dictionaries, they can do it with real
  reference works.)
Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.