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Re: Revenge of the Ballot
I am going to give one of three answers: Yes, No, OK, and abstain. OK
means that it looks good to me, but I don't know enough for that fact to be
significant. Abstain means I don't know enough to be able to tell whether
it is even superficially plausible.
B1. OK. One possible disadvantage is that floating-point contagion
is not guaranteed to work. That is, floating point has an upper
bound, whereas bignum's don't. What would you do with
(COMPLEX 1E-5 ZILLION), where ZILLION is a very big bignum?
B2. OK, although I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be useful to
have either a REAL-SQRT function or the ability to say (SETQ
*NO-COMPLEX-NUMBERS-PLEASE* T). You should realize that I also believe
(CDR NIL) should be an error, and for the same reason. So for
consistency, you should probably ignore this.
B3. No, don't take pairs of arguments.
B5. abstain. My first reaction is negative. I somehow implemented a
complete Lisp, including read macros, without needing to do this. I am
always able to keep track of what is going on without requiring an
explicit argument from the user. I can only conclude from the
discussion that there must be something odd about Common Lisp such that
this can't be done. I can't imagine what it would be, but if the Spice
folks are convinced it is so, I will defer to them. (After all, I am
stealing most of their implementation, so it would not be very gracious
of me to refuse them the tools they feel they need to do it.)
B7. Yes, but can't we do a better job of defining what conventions are?.
Instead of the magic identifier TOPS-20, maybe
"HOST::DEVICE:<DIRECTORY>NAME.TYPE.VERSION", or maybe this could be the
DEFINITION property of TOPS-20. This assumes that no system will use
letters as delimiters. If this is a problem, I can come up with a more