[plt-scheme] Re: PLT-Scheme object system (was re: Image Snip initialization)

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Fri Aug 4 15:05:39 EDT 2006

On Aug 4, 2006, at 1:33 PM, Nicholas Chubrich wrote:

Thanks for the best coherent argument against parentheses that I have  
ever heard. (It's quite possible that someone has said this before; I  
am saying that it clicked now.)

> I realize that PLT's mission does not include modifying Scheme itself.

Indeed, we don't see ourselves at all as the guardians of Scheme. As  
you may very well know, we have pushed Scheme's boundaries very much.  
We have added structures, exceptions, modules, custodians, a rich  
syntax system, various inspectors, and a parenthesized version of C  
-- to the core. At the periphery you get units, classes, matching,  
and a host of libraries. Why? When I speak about the original   
DrScheme project to academic/research audiences I mention it a  
"project to determine the usefulness of Scheme" as much as "a device  
for introducing novices to programming (HtDP language levels)." My  
stock answer is that "Scheme isn't useful. PLT Scheme is."

As you may also know, this doesn't endear us to those who are  
guardians of the true standards of Scheme. Some of them are on this  
list and may want to speak up.

In the end, it is all about the tension between wanting a research  
language that a few hundred people use and a useful language that is  
potentially interesting to the vast majority of programmers. Both  
grow from the same core and similar principle. But they do want to  
grow into very different directions.

This tension exists within PLT thought to a lesser extent. All of us  
have realized that there is no difference for us between a useful  
language and a research language. At this stage, these are the same  
things. The only point of contention is how simple and orthogonal the  
"evolving language" is to be. Time will tell. Our learning experience  
with DrScheme and HtDCP and HtDC will flow into this evolution.  
Whether this is Scheme or not, none of us really cares. Just stay  
tuned. You will be the first to know.

-- Matthias

Posted on the users mailing list.