[plt-scheme] Re: Is R6RS useless for PLT?

From: Marek Kubica (marek at xivilization.net)
Date: Tue Nov 18 17:13:55 EST 2008


On Tue, 18 Nov 2008 21:37:50 +0200
kbohdan at mail.ru wrote:

> > C++ is not a language known
> > for its elegance but Scheme (at least R5RS-Scheme) is. 
> C++ elegance doesn't matter here, right ?

I haven't heard anybody who said C++ was elegant. Fast, yes, portable -
sometimes. Elegant, no. And to be honest, I'm used to elegant solutions
in dynamically typed languages, so probably any kind of 'elegance' in
C++ won't convince me anyway.

> Is there any reason for your "wouldn't want" ? What is wrong with CL?
> What is wrong from cleaning up and reusing CL experience ?
> Why you think that i'm trying to make Scheme CL clone?

Whats wrong with CL: nothing. It is already there, ready to be used. No
need to clone it. This is not some Sun-Microsoft competition where we
try to design languages like Java and C# and try to get as many
programmers on our side because we offer features that the other
language will only provide in the next version. So if you want a
CL-like language, with a comprehensive standard and compatible
implementations just go for CL.

History has shown that CL is not perfect, it is a compromise that
people working on Real Applications(TM) agreed on, mostly MacLisp and
Interlisp folks who wanted to push as many of their ideas in the new
standard. You're proposing similar things - pushing implementation
specific extensions into a standard.

Actually, what I'm currently missing in CL word is some kind of
progress. Sure, there are already quite some libraries published and
there are some high quality implementations, but it doesn't make me
excited, the way that each new release of a even-more-R6RS-conformant
Scheme does. Maybe it's just me or maybe CL is really mature; I'm not
taht much into CL to judge.

> The main problem is that Scheme is used mainly for research & study.
> I don't like this. I can see a lot of practical real-life unique 
> applications for Scheme. This forces me to hope that the diversity of 
> Scheme implementations will be somehow centralized around r6rs.

No, but I have to repeat a lesson that Kenny Tilton taught me: shut up
and write code. And honestly, this really *is* the right way. A perfect
implementation of R6RS buys you exactly nothing, an good implementation
of a library lets you start with your problem instead of first having
to write the library to use to solve your problem. Lisp is suffering
very much of the time that is spent on discussing about it, time that
could be used better to write program in it. Or write documentation.
This is maybe why I signed up for this list: PLT is an implementation
for people who want to use Scheme, rather than stand by and admire it's
beauty. At least this is my perception of PLT, due to the comprehensive
documentation and the functionality that is provided.

I want to get my work done. I don't want to wait until a deus ex
machina eppears and saves the day by providing a mysterious way of
making all implementations compatible. But even if they were, someone
still needs to write the libs.

And actually, writing stuff in Scheme and seeing it work has so far
been much more fun than discussing some details of R6RS for half a
week :)

Of course, I appreciate unification, this is also the point where I
hope that R6RS will provide a bigger common ground than previous


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