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Environment Committee

[I can't respond to Paul the Greek directly.  All the mail from DEC in
the last couple of weeks has arrived with headers all screwed up and
with the body smashed into the header.  I'm surprised it arrived at
all.  OF course, the problem might be on our end, but only mail from DEC
seems to be losing.]


I agree that there are many things that need to be sorted out in the
compilation area.  We really let that slide the first time around.

There is not currently an environmnet committee, and I don't think that
one is likely to be fruitful.  At best we could hope for N different
classes of environment, each fairly well-defined.  Things are totally
different depending on whether your system supports multiple windows,
whether you are in an Emacs or internal-editing culture, and so on.
Initially we even wanted to leave open the question of whether the
compiler was written in Lisp, though I don't think anyone has exercised
the option not to do this and we may want to put that particular freedom
to rest.

What we do need to do is work on specifying those aspects of compilation
that affect what goes into a portable code file (or set of files) and
what the items in that file mean.  We can and must nail down compiler
issues of that sort before a standard is finished.

It is interesting that the EuLisp people have decided to try to specify
an environmnet along with their Lisp, using a multi-level spec ranging
from very simple (appropriate for a Z-80 based machine) to very complex
(presumably comparable in scope to what is in Zetalisp or Interlisp).
They have fewer constraints in the way of existing groups who want to
stick with their own environment conventions, but they are trying to do
this for an awfully big spread of machines.  It will be interesting to
see what they come up with.

-- Scott