[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

cases. reader poll

Since JKF asks about our voting procedures, and since there seem to be
some new folks on the list, we should review the decision procedures
under which we have been working.

Basically, the decisions have been made by attempting to find consensus
among those working on actual Common Lisp implementations.  Such people
obviously have a sort of veto power -- if some feature is truly
unacceptable to them, they have the ability to walk out and take their
implementation with them.  We have also actively sought advice and
suggestions from selected people whom we believe to have good ideas or
who represent important constituencies whose concerns we want to be
aware of, including the Franz/Unix folks.

On trivial issues, for example whether a function should be named
CONCATENATE or CATENATE, we have voted, since it is clear that nobody is
going to walk out over such a thing; on more important issues, we have
so far been able to reach consensus among the implementors, though we
have each had to compromise on a few things for the sake of the overall
effort.  It these more important debates, it definitley has not been the
case that majority rules.  In the end, it comes down to what Guy decises
to put into the manual and who walks out as a result of that decision;
so far, this power has only been used once, to resolve the impasse over
the symbolness of NIL, and nobody walked out.  That's an amazingly good
record, I think.

This is all sort of like the U.N. -- the General Assembly debates, but
the Security Council is the only body that can send in the troops, and a
few major members have veto power.  This may seem undemocratic, but it
is the most democratic thing I know of that is still likely to produce a
Common Lisp.

So a vote is not the way to decide this, but some additional input from
the unix people would be welcome.  In particular, I would be
interested in whether JKF really is properly characterizing the unix
community, a group that we do want to keep aboard.  It is my suspicion
that, while unix people do not want to type anything in upper case or
see upper case output (we already can handle that), only a few of them
would find Common Lisp unacceptable because "Foo" and "foo" map into the
same symbol.  Some unix people -- not all of them, I bet -- might prefer
case-sensitivity, but that is different from the issue of whether Common
Lisp is "usable by people who favor case-sensitive systems".  That
strikes me a clear over-statement of the case, though I could be wrong
about this.

-- Scott