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I agree with most of what Guy Steele and Bob Mathis have said on the
subject of how much we want to change the language in the course of
producing this first standard.  I would add only two things:

First, I think that it would not be out of order to consider
incompatible changes, even where the current language is unambiguous and
implementable, if we really feel that the change is worth it.  But in
all such considerations, we must bear in mind the costs as well as any
possible benefits.  There are now a lot of Common Lisp implementations
around, a growing body of Common Lisp software, tutorial material on the
language, and some users who have invested time in learning this
language.  By the time the standard is ready, there will be a lot more.
The more of this investment that a proposed change would effect, the
more benfit we would have to see in order for the change to be adopted.

We certainly are not looking at a situation where we have license to
start from scratch or to make a lot of gratuitous changes based on minor
aesthetic considerations.

The other thing to say is that before beginning this in earnest, we may
want to plan on the existence of future versions that could make more
radical changes (given a lot more lead time and a stable Common Lisp
where people can get work done while waiting for the changes).  I think
that for many good, pragmatic reasons we need to standardize something
like the current Common Lisp, but this is certainly not the last word in
programming languages, and if we think carefully about when the next
wave might break, we might have a better idea of what we can afford to
change, or not to change, in this one.

-- Scott