[racket] Getting started with R6RS

From: Neil Van Dyke (neil at neilvandyke.org)
Date: Sat May 14 16:20:11 EDT 2011

Shriram Krishnamurthi wrote at 05/14/2011 03:27 PM:
> I'd put this a bit differently:
> Racket will teach you all the things that Scheme would have (i.e., it would have the same contribution to your growth as a programmer), but also much more because of the many things it has that Scheme doesn't have.  You could stop at the "end of Scheme", or you can keep going.

I agree that's probably a better message.

In addition, I think it would behoove us to better manage the 
"standards" perception.  The following is I think that...

In the period that I've been paying attention, standards seemed to get 
really important in software industry in the late '80s and early '90s, 
with changes like as the "open systems" movement.  And then there was 
another milestone, when there was initially a 
ha-ha-not-falling-for-that-one-again reaction when historically abusive 
MS introduced .NET and C# (which they had to address by creating an 
"independent, open source alternative").  Plus, there are examples of 
successful standards for other languages, so having a standard is itself 
considered a best practice.

When industry people come from other languages to look at Racket, 
they've already placed Racket in their conceptual framework, where 
"standard" is heavily loaded.  So, when these people read in Wikipedia 
and memetic descendants of Wikipedia that R6RS is the "standard", even 
though I think R6RS should be shot in the gut and left in a ditch to die 
painfully, people naturally assume that R6RS is the obvious way to go.  
"Use non-standard?!  Get back from me, you satan!"

So they spend the weekend trying to do something in R6RS, stumbling over 
little headaches doing that in Racket, ask questions, and are suspicious 
when Racket people try to tell them to just do things in a non-R6RS way 
that sounds like sneaky "proprietary non-standard extensions lock-in 
bad-engineering" salesmanship.  In a day or two, they've lost interest 
or written off "Scheme", and they move on to the next interesting thing 
to look at.


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