Subject: Re: How to get a wider audience for CL
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 31 Aug 2002 04:27:13 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Nicolas Neuss
| Could someone who has got this pdf file tell me, if it is reasonable to buy
| it (wrt printing quality)?  (Alternatively, I could try to tex the draft
| sources at or simply remain with the Hyperspec.)

  I bought the actual standard and it nicely printed and bound.  (The only
  objection I have against the standard qua publication is that it uses the
  butt-ugly default TeX fonts.)  In order to know whether it was advisable for
  me to recommend that others spend the USD 18 on the PDF file, I bought it
  only to discover that there are things worse than almost computer modern --
  almost computer modern printed scanned back in at 150 dpi by a person with a
  serious grudge against attention to detail.  The bad PDF document looks like
  evidence of a passive-aggressive personality disorder hard at work.  You
  could not make something that ugly unless you were deliberately trying to
  punish people for wanting to buy the standard, especially since ANSI had the
  original postscript files, from which they should have been able to destill
  a PDF.  But then again, ANSI even failed to list the Common Lisp standard
  properly in their catalog.

  Now, the obvious conclusion from the above is that I should no longer advise
  people to purchase the PDF document.  But it is also the wrong conclusion.
  You need the real thing and the ANSI document is the real thing.  USD 18
  will set you back one good meal or a movie and a burger date, but you are
  single, anyway, right?  (But purchase the actual document and you may have
  to forgo real food and eat rice for a month or more.  Obesity has become an
  epidemic in Western cultures and asceticism quite undervalued, but one may
  still find cause to prioritize food over standards.)  So the only reason you
  want this document is that you want to ascertain that what you read elsewhere
  is the true standard.  It may not be a great read -- for that, the postscript
  files are still available or get the TeX sources and compile your own -- but
  there are some differences between the abject representational poverty of
  HTML and the paper version has a very different feel than any of the HTML
  versions available.

  Since I mentioned it, I got quite a handsome number of positive responses,
  so I think I shall go forward with an idea I got as I came across amazingly
  beautifully printed and bound versions of the Bible and the Qur'an (which are
  admittedly aimed at larger markets than standards) and noticed that Webster's
  New World College Dictionary comes in a black leather-bound and gilded
  edition for their 50th anniversary.  As a bibliophile I would so very much
  like to produce the last public draft of the Common Lisp standard in a nicer
  font and in the high-quality binding that I think it deserves.  Since it is
  not going to change any time soon and we should try not to worry about its
  status as ANSI standard, I should hope there is a sufficiently large market
  that I am willing to take on the job of producing this book in a lasting and
  beautiful version.  The problems are the print run, the cost of the binding,
  and the financial risks involved.  I have no idea what the costs might be,
  but will investigate in the coming week.  It will be substantially more than
  the USD 18 for the PDF file, however.  Please indicate your preliminary
  interest to me by mail with some indication of the price level at which that
  interest would wane.

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.