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I believe that we are ready to start making formal decisions on what
should go into the new language definition that we will later propose to
the standards organizations.
The current plan is this:
I am maintaining three online files: a list of issues, culled from old
mail, that need to be resolved (not yet completed), a list of proposals
that are before the technical committee, and a list of decisions that
have been made by the technical committee. Issues will be raised and
discussed on the Common Lisp mailing list, a few at a time (I hope!).
Whenever I think the discussion has converged, as much as it is going to
converge, I will send out a formal proposal on the issue, or a set of
proposals representing the live alternatives. People will have an
opportunity for a last round of comments on the proposals, and then the
technical committee will make a decision. That decision will be
recorded in the decisions file. Such decisions will be final unless the
technical committee decides to re-open them.
As of now, no such decisions have been made. The issues that have been
discussed on the mailing list and tentatively settled since CLtL was
written, including most of the issues on the list Guy distributed in
Bosotn, will be run through the above process for formal approval. I
hope that most such things will be approved quickly, without too much
re-hashing of old arguments. We have a lot of ground to cover.
We are also writing a new language definition document from scratch. It
was too complicated to get the rights to use CLtL or other existing
manuals without a lot of legal strings attached. The new document will
differ in form from CLtL: it will be written as a specification, with
emphasis on precision rather than tutorial value. The intent is that
the language definition contained in this document will be exactly the
language defined in CLtL, as modified by the approved changes. In the
end, however, this document is what we will submit as a standard, and
it will become the definitive text in the event of any discrepancy.
There may also be a second edition of CLtL, updated by Guy Steele to
match the new spec. This manual will aimed at meeting the needs of the
working programmer, and it will explicitly point to the language
definition document as the definitive specification of Common Lisp.
I have encouraged Guy to produce such a thing, since I think this
document will serve a useful purpose alongside the official definition,
but this is not one of the things our committee has anything to do with.
All of the files mentioned above, plus the evolving drafts of the
language definition document, will be kept online on C.CS.CMU.EDU, a
Dec-20 system, in directory PRVA:<SLISP.STANDARD>. These files can be
FTP'ed to other arpanet sites with anonymous login. To find your way
around, first read the READ-ME.TXT file. There is not much of interest
in this directory now, except for the ISSUES.TXT file, which is still
incomplete, but people are welcome to browse. I will send mail to this
list when parts of the specificaiton document are ready for review and
discussion, but that will not happen for a couple of months, at least.
At the moment, there is no mechanism for distributing this stuff to
sites that are unable to FTP it. I am hoping that ISI will soon be in a
position to handle such distribution.
The first few proposals will be sent out later this evening.