[plt-scheme] Re: R6RS PLT differences?

From: Ernie Smith (esmith at acanac.net)
Date: Thu Nov 27 15:02:48 EST 2008

Sam TH wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 10:28 AM, Ernie Smith <esmith at acanac.net> wrote:
>> Sam TH wrote:
>>> I think this really gets to the heart of the question under
>>> discussion.  Some small modules in PLT Scheme could be ported to R6RS
>>> (scheme/bool, for example).  But virtually anything that would be
>>> interesting relies fundamentally on the extensions that we've
>>> developed, and that we don't want to sacrifice in the name of
>>> portability.  We do not see PLT as simply a mechanism for developing
>>> potential extensions to the R6RS.
>> You are right, it does get to the heart of the matter.
>> 1- Are we to infer that PLT scheme is intended for use only by people
>> who have the liberty to select only interesting problems and
>> discard the mundane problems solvable with the current state of the
>> standard?

1- was a rhetorical question.

Your statement above implies yes, but a multitude of other statements 
I've seen about the PLT scheme project imply no.

I spend quite a bit of time trying to persuade people towards scheme. 
That kind of `interesting problems` wording will reinforce their 
reticence on the basis of the conception that it is only for academics. 
  There is even an implication in your comment, I'm sure unintentional, 
that other academics, those not using PLT scheme extensions, are not 
doing interesting work.

> No, not at all.  People who want to solve "real problems" should
> certainly use PLT Scheme.  What I'm saying is that we have developed
> interesting extensions, which we think are valuable for solving
> problems.  We aren't willing to give up this useful technology for
> portability.
I think the absolute nature of the last sentence here makes the full
statement contradictory. If you won't be influenced by people's
valid concerns, your tool is not for them, it's for you.

None of the posts suggested giving something up.  The subject
is what weight to give to mobility and how to delineate it rather
than some kind of absolute choice.

>> 2- Advance in interesting science relies on a collaboration
>> between peers. Impeding collaboration impedes progress.
>> Mobility fosters collaboration.
>> The degree of support for collaboration can be equated to an
>> indication of where a motive lies between furthering career and furthering
>> science.
> I agree that science requires collaboration.  But I resent the
> implication that we are hindering collaboration for the purpose of
> furthering our careers.  We make PLT Scheme available to everyone, it
> is open source, and we publish papers describing it.
I wasn`t aware I had made that implication.
I just said what my meter is, not where anyone`s needle falls on the 
dial.  Consider it retracted, it was a digression anyway.

The thrust of the point is that if science requires collaboration,
mobility has weight even in a strictly academic context, yet you
treat it lightly.

>> What policy governs the decisions taken in the PLT scheme project?
> I don't know what you mean here.  There are a bunch of people in the
Some guideline which the various participants can
consult in order to make judgments in harmony with each other.
The background you use to make decisions in a well run project.

The policy *is* the heart of the matter.
That's why I asked what it was.

> PLT project, and it basically does the things those people are
> interested in.
One of the problems of not having a policy statement, even for an
open source collaborative project, is that readers like myself don't 
know whom to believe.  Another is that contributors work at cross 
purposes trying to satisfy conflicting goals because they are not
clear on what weight to give opposing forces.

Posted on the users mailing list.