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Proposal #13: Structure Sharing in Arguments

        From: willc%tekchips.tek.csnet@CSNET-RELAY.ARPA

    		  in any reasonable implementation the &REST argument will
        have been freshly consed.

    That's an extremely odd idea.  The entire reason that we have &REST
    arguments at all is to avoid the need for consing the list.  Had we
    intended for the list to be freshly consed, we would never have
    implemented &REST at all; we'd have just let the caller cons up a list
    and pass it as a regular argument.

THAT's an extremely odd idea, in my view.  It seems to me that the
entire reason we have &REST args is to allow users to call functions
with arbitrary numbers of arguments, and we inherited the &REST syntax
from MUDDLE or somewhere.  If the idea was to avoid consing up a list,
why in the world did we specify that &REST returns a list, instead of
defining some version of LEXPR that passes back the extra args one by
one upon request.  (As I said earlier, I will be proposing soon that we
add something along those lines.  The lack of a non-consing way of
handling arbitrary numbers of arguments is a big omission in the

If we ignore stack-consing, we see that in the overwhelming majority of
cases the &REST list will necessarily be freshly consed from distinct
arguments that were passed to the function.  Only in the case of the
last arg to APPLY is there a pre-existing list around that could be
incorporated into the &rest structure, and I now believe that we should
just require this list to be copied so the the whole issue goes away.
It won't affect overall efficiency in any noticeable way.

-- Scott