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- To: common-lisp at SU-AI
- From: Kent M. Pitman <KMP at MIT-MC>
- Date: Fri, 03 Sep 1982 05:52:00 -0000
I agree with Moon re case-sensitivity. I think any proposal involving case
sensitivity as a default is a very bad idea.
I have avoided sending mail to this list which enumerates by particular
feelings on case because I imagine everyone has a lot to say about it and
I've tried not to contribute excessively without having something truly
novel to say. But since people are starting to draw conclusions by the lack
of mail opposing the idea of case-sensitivity, let me say that this lack
of mail doesn't mean that people don't object, it just means that no vote
has been taken (nor, as someone pointed out, is a vote necessarily the way
to decide such an issue) so I think people are just mostly listening to what
others have to say.
As long as you've got this message anyway, I might as well put out my views
so they'll be on record and I won't have to send another later...
* I think case sensitivity has no place in a language (formal or otherwise).
WORDS are Words are words. People remember the auditory representation of
words and since case is not pronounced, it is hard to remember. Languages
should be designed such that you can comfortably talk in or about them
and having to say "Oh, you need the function capital KILL" or say
send mail to me as "Capital P Little I-T-M-A-N at Multics" is really
* Any case sensitivity is prone to ideosyncracy. If I happen to *like*
upper case or even just uniform case (ThisDrivesMeUpAWall!), it's nice
that I can write my code one way and you another and they'll still talk
back and forth. Lack of case sensitivity gives a shield from peoples'
odd casing styles which actually allows people more flexibility in their
use of case, not less.
I spent my first few years (what I would have expected to be my "formative
years") on case sensitive systems (Multics, Unix) and was truly happy to
find Maclisp's readtime character translation... Basically, it lets me write
code in whatever case I like and since I type to an editor and just load
code and run it and most anything that types out had "..." around it anyway,
so I get nice mixed case output.
Indeed, I wonder often if part of the push from the Interlisp crowd for mixed
case does not revolve around their heavier use of an in-core editting
which causes them to have to worry about "losing" the case information
in their source code where in the case of Maclisp/LispM since functions
are almost always defined in an external editor (in the LispM case, a
well-integrated external editor) and the actual source is never touched
by anything which would propose to change its case...