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Vote on R6RS, if you have the time to write a 150-word essay


The good folks of the R6RS committee will give the community a last
chance to approve or reject the final R6RS draft. Not the whole
community, of course, but only those members who have enough time on
their hands to write a 150-word essay. Not only that, but if you dare
vote "nay", you'd better have an explanation. Additionally, even if
you go through these hoops, the editors reserve their right to keep
you out if they disagree with your opinions:

http://www.r6rs.org/ratification/

These requirements will ensure that most people gainfully employed or
running their own business will be kept out of the loop. Which is,
quite possibly, what was intended: by controlling the mix of people
who vote on the spec, the editors are controlling the outcome and
hoping to force an unrealistic standard down everyone's throats.

This thread is not about arguing for or against R6RS. The battle lines
are drawn. If you do not know enough about R6RS, just read the latest
draft from r6rs.org.

If you love Scheme, and think that R6RS will bring ruin to the
language, stand up against the R6RS mafia! Our first goal is to fix
the ratification rules. Do not let apathy get the best of you, or you
will have cause to regret it a few short years down the road.

On May 18, 1:34 pm, pbfr2nwkj13g@temporaryinbox.com wrote:

> The good folks of the R6RS committee will give the community a last
> chance to approve or reject the final R6RS draft. Not the whole
> community, of course, but only those members who have enough time on
> their hands to write a 150-word essay.

Your post had 220 words.

> If you love Scheme, and think that R6RS will bring ruin to the
> language, stand up against the R6RS mafia!

I love Scheme, so I'm interested in hearing what you and others think
is wrong with the R6RS. I don't mind what I've seen of it so far.

pbfr2nwkj13g@temporaryinbox.com wrote:
> This thread is not about arguing for or against R6RS.

You must be new to usenet.

--
Jens Axel Sgaard

On May 18, 7:34 am, pbfr2nwkj13g@temporaryinbox.com wrote:

> ...
> This thread is not about arguing for or against R6RS.

Correct.  You, pbfr2nwkj13g@temporaryinbox.com, demonstrate your
objective stand very eloquently in the next paragraph:

> If you love Scheme, and think that R6RS will bring ruin to the
> language, stand up against the R6RS mafia! Our first goal is to fix
> the ratification rules. Do not let apathy get the best of you, or you
> will have cause to regret it a few short years down the road.

Aziz,,,
On May 18, 2:48 pm, Jens Axel Sgaard <use@soegaard.net> wrote:

> pbfr2nwkj13g@temporaryinbox.com wrote:
> > This thread is not about arguing for or against R6RS.

> You must be new to usenet.

Oh, I missed that line. Guess it's time to turn of the computer and go
home for the day...
Um, guys, whatever your preferences on this standard, don't you think
the 150-word statement is excessive requirement? I wasn't aware of the
voting rules, but now that I've read them I do think this is problem.
On 18 May 2007 07:52:44 -0700, Arun.Kh@gmail.com wrote:

>Um, guys, whatever your preferences on this standard, don't you think
>the 150-word statement is excessive requirement? I wasn't aware of the
>voting rules, but now that I've read them I do think this is problem.

I think it's a perfectly reasonable way to distinguish those who are
serious about contributing to the process from those who are just
ranting and have no substantive suggestions to offer. 150 words really
isn't a big deal -- this two-sentence paragraph alone contains
seventy-eight words (according to Microsoft Word's statistics -- your
mileage may vary), so two such paragraphs (which took all of five
minutes to write) would be more than enough to fulfill the word-count
requirement.

Steve Schafer
Fenestra Technologies Corp.
http://www.fenestra.com/

> I think it's a perfectly reasonable way to distinguish those who are
> serious about contributing to the process from those who are just
> ranting and have no substantive suggestions to offer. 150 words really
> isn't a big deal -- this two-sentence paragraph alone contains
> seventy-eight words (according to Microsoft Word's statistics -- your
> mileage may vary), so two such paragraphs (which took all of five
> minutes to write) would be more than enough to fulfill the word-count
> requirement.

You need to consider context. It's easy to write 500 words about
nothing. Look at your paragraph, you pad it with MS Word remarks and
cliche like YMMV...

It's not that easy to write 150 **focused** words on narrow topic like
what you think of Scheme: especially not if you're busy.

Maybe 70-100 words make better sense?

Excuse my english is not that good, but I hope you understand what I
said.

Arun K.

If you're too busy to have the time to write such an abstract, you're
probably also too busy to have the time to read the R6RS draft.

Pascal

--
My website: http://p-cos.net
Common Lisp Document Repository: http://cdr.eurolisp.org
Closer to MOP & ContextL: http://common-lisp.net/project/closer/

> > It's not that easy to write 150 **focused** words on narrow topic like
> > what you think of Scheme: especially not if you're busy.

> If you're too busy to have the time to write such an abstract, you're
> probably also too busy to have the time to read the R6RS draft.

Reading is easier than writing. And I don't think you need to read all
the small print to get a good ideea of a standard's quality (did you
ever read an ITU-T, or older CCITT standard?)

Beside, there's a natural limit to how much you can write on narrow
topics. I think in this case, the limit is about a paragraph. Beyond
that limit, the mental effort and time required to write words grow
like exponentials.

Isn't all this obvious?

Arun K.

> > It's not that easy to write 150 **focused** words on narrow topic like
> > what you think of Scheme: especially not if you're busy.

> If you're too busy to have the time to write such an abstract, you're
> probably also too busy to have the time to read the R6RS draft.

Reading is easier than writing. And I don't think you need to read all
the small print to get a good ideea of a standard's quality (did you
ever read an ITU-T, or older CCITT standard?)

Beside, there's a natural limit to how much you can write on narrow
topics. I think in this case, the limit is about a paragraph. Beyond
that limit, the mental effort and time required to write words grow
like exponentials.

Isn't all this obvious?

Arun K.

On May 18, 8:15 am, Arun.Kh@gmail.com wrote:

> It's not that easy to write 150 **focused** words on narrow topic like
> what you think of Scheme: especially not if you're busy.

It isn't an essay on what you think of Scheme, it is a ``"Statement of
Interest" declaring what [your] stake is in the outcome of the
process''

> Excuse my english is not that good, but I hope you understand what I
> said.

I'm trying to phrase this in plain English and avoid using uncommon
words.  Excuse me if I sound rude here, I'm trying to be direct.

The Statement of Interest would describe why someone should take your
opinion into account.  If someone wrote ``I lead a research group that
uses Scheme and publishes over 50 papers a year and am currently
redesigning the curriculum for the North Elbonian computer lab, and a
ratified standard is crucial to making Scheme the official Elbonian
computer language.''  Then this person's vote would be considered.

If someone wrote ``I 3l33t, r6rs sucks, r5rs rocks, perl rulz!!1''
then they don't seem to have much of a stake in the language.

Someone with a stake in the language would likely be able to come up
with 150 words describing what that stake is.  If you cannot, then
either submit a smaller essay, or seek some help expanding it.  150
words doesn't seem like an awful lot to me, but then I'm a native
English speaker.

Joe Marshall wrote:
> Someone with a stake in the language would likely be able to come up
> with 150 words describing what that stake is.  If you cannot, then
> either submit a smaller essay, or seek some help expanding it.  

Since the commercial market for Scheme programmers is quite small,
perhaps it could be augmented by a market for Statement-of-Interest
writers.  I'm thinking $5/word sounds fair.  Paypal accepted.

Seriously, thanks to Joe for a good explanation of the ratification
process rationale.

Anton

On May 18, 10:52 am, Arun.Kh@gmail.com wrote:

> Um, guys, whatever your preferences on this standard, don't you think
> the 150-word statement is excessive requirement? I wasn't aware of the
> voting rules, but now that I've read them I do think this is problem.

The voting rules were published months ago.  A mailing list was set up
to discuss the ratification process and its archived are
available[1].  Anybody who had a solid disagreement with the process
and cared enough should have given some input on that mailing list.

Aziz,,,

[1] http://lists.r6rs.org/pipermail/ratification-discuss/

> opinion into account.  If someone wrote ``I lead a research group
> that uses Scheme and publishes over 50 papers a year and am
> currently redesigning the curriculum for the North Elbonian computer
> lab, and a ratified standard is crucial to making Scheme the
> official Elbonian computer language.''  Then this person's vote
> would be considered.

Thanks for the Elbonia reference. Nice. I didn't expect to find such
allusions this day and age.

Your example statement is not 150 words. And it's not realistic.
Someone from the industry will simply say for example, we like Lisp
because of power of macros, we chose Scheme from other Lisps because
of call/cc, and we use it to script Java programs. Or to provide
extensibility for a CAD application.

I don't think the boss will really let them go into little details
about exactly what they do. Not everybody lives in universities, you
know.

Leave canned examples aside. Why doesn't someone provide right here
his own 150-word statement, to prove that it makes sense?? Or maybe
nobody actually wrote one yet?

Arun K.

> Leave canned examples aside. Why doesn't someone provide right here
> his own 150-word statement, to prove that it makes sense??

((email-address "q@purdue.edu")
 (full-name "Jeffrey Mark Siskind")
 (geographic-location "West Lafayette, IN, USA")
 (affiliation "School of ECE, Purdue University")
 (public-email-address "q@purdue.edu")
 (web-page-url "http://www.ece.purdue.edu/~qobi")
 (statement-of-interest
  "I am the sole author of Stalin (a high-performance implementation
of R4RS)
   and Stalingrad (a high-performance implementation of a functional,
numeric
   subset of R4RS that adds first-class automatic differentiation). I
conduct
   research in both programming languages & compilers and AI
(including
   computer vision, computational linguistics, robotics, machine
learning, and
   cognitive science). All of my publications since 1981 are supported
by
   substantive implementations, all of which are in Lisp or Scheme.
All of this
   code has been publicly released and some of it is widely used.
Every
   course that I have ever taught (including AI, computer vision,
computational
   linguistics, and programming languages since 1993) has been based
solely on
   Lisp or Scheme. I currently teach AI every semester in a course
whose
   material I have solely prepared and which is based solely on
Scheme. I have
   shared the material that I have prepared for the courses I teach
with other
   teachers, including the course software that I have prepared, all
of
   which is written in Lisp or Scheme. Overall, several hundred
students have
   taken my courses."))

For the record, I intend to vote to reject the current draft of R6RS.
I have stated
publicly in the past that I dislike R5RS and have given my reasons
why. I have
also stated publicly in the past that I oppose all standardization
efforts for Scheme
and have given my reasons why. I will state them again as part of the
justification
of my vote on the R6RS ratification process.

Arun.Kh@gmail.com writes:
> Leave canned examples aside. Why doesn't someone provide right here
> his own 150-word statement, to prove that it makes sense?? Or maybe
> nobody actually wrote one yet?

Here's mine.  It took me about ten minutes to write, although I admit
that I did all the thinking that went into it some time ago.

========

        I teach courses in computer science at a small liberal-arts
college.  We use Scheme in our introductory course because its
simplicity and expressiveness enable our students to understand some
of the key ideas of computer science -- notably recursion, procedural
abstraction, and data abstraction -- quickly and accurately, without
the encumbrances of fragile syntax and quirky semantics.  We also use
Scheme in more advanced courses (such as our courses on programming
languages, algorithms, automata theory, and computational
linguistics), particularly for small, specialized examples and
demonstrations.  My interest in the R6RS standard is to keep the core
language small, simple, expressive, and accessible to novice
programmers, while accommodating, through the development of
libraries, the vast increase in the effective range and usability of
Scheme during the fifteen years since the publication of R5RS.

        I am also working on a small textbook on algorithms in which
the code examples are presented in a purely functional subset of
Scheme.  This work gives me an additional interest in R6RS:  I'd like
to be able to use standard library mechanisms to control the subset
explicitly.

========

It's finals week here, which is a very busy time, so I was doing one
or two other things at the same time.  The total elapsed time between
my reading Alan Bawden's announcement and my submitting the finished
statement may have been more like forty-five minutes.

I hope this helps.

On May 18, 12:10 pm, Arun.Kh@gmail.com wrote:

> Leave canned examples aside. Why doesn't someone provide right here
> his own 150-word statement, to prove that it makes sense?? Or maybe
> nobody actually wrote one yet?

Off the top of my head:
--------

Dear Editors,

My stake in Scheme is currently one of `active community
participant'.  I have been an active Scheme user for more than twenty
years.  I have been employed professionally by two different Scheme
implementors:  MIT Scheme and PLT Scheme.  In addition I have worked
on several other Scheme implementations including one I wrote in Z80
assembly code.  I most recently ported a good chunk of MIT Scheme to
the C# platform.

I have attended several conferences associated with the Scheme
language and have published a paper on a technique to implement first-
class continuations on machines that restrict stack inspection.  I am
an active participant in several on-line computer language discussion
groups.  I have written an online tutorial for syntax-rules macros.

I have a significant amount of experience in Scheme, its
implementation, and its use.  I have followed the r6rs process from
the beginning.

Based on this experience, I believe that I qualify for a vote on
ratification.

Thank you for your consideration.
--------

Guys, thanks for the statements, and congratulations for your
achievements. I guess with such resumes, it's easy to write 150 words.

I think many people from industry will not have publications and
conferences, or their own Scheme implementation, yet they may still be
Scheme programmers, and have an interest in what happens to this
language.

This "statement" now looks more like an application to be permitted to
vote. I think such a thing may be too elitist. I think that normal
people who simply use Scheme to achieve some task should be allowed to
vote. 70-100 words is more than enaugh to keep out "perl rulz" script
kiddies as Joe was talking about.

Arun.Kh@gmail.com wrote:
> Guys, thanks for the statements, and congratulations for your
> achievements. I guess with such resumes, it's easy to write 150 words.

> I think many people from industry will not have publications and
> conferences, or their own Scheme implementation, yet they may still be
> Scheme programmers, and have an interest in what happens to this
> language.

They can summarize what kinds of applications they write, how many
programmers are employed to write them, what kinds of customers they
have, etc. pp.

Pascal

--
My website: http://p-cos.net
Common Lisp Document Repository: http://cdr.eurolisp.org
Closer to MOP & ContextL: http://common-lisp.net/project/closer/

Arun Khopa writes:
> I think many people from industry will not have publications and
> conferences, or their own Scheme implementation, yet they may still be
> Scheme programmers, and have an interest in what happens to this
> language.

I could imagine something along these lines for someone from the
"industry":

----------------------------------------------------------------------
I work for a large company which uses Scheme for some of its
internal applications.  Some of these are web based, others are
console driven and yet others are servers accessed by clients
written in another languages, mostly Perl and Java.  I estimate a
total of 50 users.

Because of the different character of these applications and due
to the fact that we aim to support different architectures, we
deploy these applications using at least three different Scheme
implementations.  We were already able to release one of our
libraries as Free Software.  We also sent small patches for one of
these implementations.

So it's important to us to be able to write portable Scheme code.
Also issues like Unicode are important when inter-operating with
other languages.  Some of the decisions regarding R6RS will
certainly influence the choice of programming language used for
future projects in our company.  We are even considering using
Scheme for (parts of) a commercial product.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I wrote this quickly.  As you probably see, English is not my mother
tongue either but I hope that the text above makes sense (it's mostly
fiction, BTW).

> This "statement" now looks more like an application to be permitted to
> vote. I think such a thing may be too elitist. I think that normal
> people who simply use Scheme to achieve some task should be allowed to
> vote.

"Normal people" using Scheme should rely on "their" implementors to
defend their interests.

--
Emlio C. Lopes                            Ich leb und wei nit wie lang,
Munich, Germany                            ich stirb und wei nit wann,
                                           ich fahr und wei nit wohin,
                 (Martinus von Biberach)   mich wundert, dass ich frhlich bin!

Tossed on the newsgroup only as proof of concept.

"Your Statement of Interest [...] must actually address the question of
what your interest is in the Scheme standard. [...] It is not our intent
to run an essay competition here"

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION
BY BEN GOETTER
AGE NINE (AND A HALF)
CRESTLINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

I have been writing Scheme programs since 1985, back in the day when
LETREC was called LABELS; twenty-two years later, Scheme remains my
preferred medium for expressing an algorithm.  Today I am
intermittently active in the community as the author of Pocket Scheme,
a Scheme programming environment hosted on handheld mobile devices
running Microsoft operating systems.

My primary interest about the proposed Scheme standard is that it
preserve the historic Scheme aesthetic of symmetry, regularity, and
transparency that make the language pleasant to use, and that its
implementation remain practical on contemporary and near-future
portable computing platforms.  These platforms are known for severe
resource constraints (immediate memory, persistent storage,
computation cycles, electrical power capacity, and network bandwidth),
and input and output models other than the 7-bit ASCII TTY of the
traditional REPL.

By my measure, then, the three most important developments in the new
standard are its namespace management facilities (under which I
subsume the core-library split), the standardization of Unicode
character and string data, and the formal differentiation between
character-oriented and binary-oriented I/O.

> "Normal people" using Scheme should rely on "their" implementors to
> defend their interests.

There's maybe 20-30 implementors of popular implementations, but
thousands of users doing practical things with each implementation.
Each implementor carries one (1) vote, just like any guy from some
university who only cares about teaching his students algorithms (and/
or writing papers). See some problem? If implementor's votes were
weighted based on his community (which ofcourse impossible), or if
only implementors voted, then I would agree with you.

Arun K.

Arun.Kh@gmail.com writes:
> Guys, thanks for the statements, and congratulations for your
> achievements. I guess with such resumes, it's easy to write 150 words.

It is easy with and without such resumes. The examples show just how short 150
words actually are.

Give a blurb on why scheme is important to you, give a blurb on you
problem/support rationale, and you are done.

> This "statement" now looks more like an application to be permitted to
> vote. I think such a thing may be too elitist.

You are making too much of a problem out of this. All the 150 words
requirement does is require you to put some modest thought into a reasoned
explanation of your position.

It's really just a practical quality filter.

--
Cheers,                                        The Rhythm is around me,
                                               The Rhythm has control.
Ray Blaak                                      The Rhythm is inside me,
rAYbl@STRIPCAPStelus.net                    The Rhythm has my soul.

> WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION
> BY BEN GOETTER
> AGE NINE (AND A HALF)
> CRESTLINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Wow. You REALLY have too much time on your hand...
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