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Re: [Scheme-reports] ratification vote for R7RS-small

Sam TH scripsit:

> Consider the following e-mail to the rrrs-authors list, from 1992:
> http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/ftpdir/scheme-mail/HTML/rrrs-1992/msg00156.html
> .  It has an agenda for a meeting about R5RS. That agenda includes,
> effectively, everything that's been considered in R5RS, R6RS, and R7RS
> (small) to date. It took 6 years after that meeting, with not that
> much in the way of further progress, to release R5RS, and another 9 to
> release R6RS, and another 6 to get to where we are with R7RS. 

Those times are not really fungible, however.  Up to and including
R5RS, Scheme was developed by a fairly large group including users and
implementers, but required consensus to do anything.  The R6RS process
had a small group and did most of its development in private, attempting
to build wider consensus after the release of the initial draft.
R7RS-small operated with a larger group again (but only one implementer
this time), entirely in the open, but using a voting process rather than
a consensus process.

Consensus is just inherently slower:  the Orthodox-Hicksite split in
the Society of Friends (Quakers) took over a century to heal.  By that
standard, indeed, Scheme's progress has been rapid.

> For example, that agenda describes a record system proposal by Curtis,
> Rees, and Adams (I can't immediately find the proposal itself) that
> has "some consensus". Today, 21 years later, record systems(!) haven't
> gotten more consensus in the Scheme community. 

More than what?  SRFI-9 as a facade if not as a native record system is
available for Racket, Gauche, MIT, Gambit, Chicken, Bigloo, Scheme48/scsh,
Guile, Kawa, SISC, Chibi, Chez, SCM/SLIB, Vicare, Larceny, Ypsilon,
Mosh, IronScheme, STklos, RScheme, SigScheme, SXM, Rep.  That's more
consensus than any other SRFI, and probably more than anything outside
the R4RS/IEEE core.

In any case, <http://srfi.schemers.org/srfi-99/srfi-99.html#History>,
with footnotes 3-14.  As far as the evidence goes, Scheme records were
held up for twenty years mostly by the objections of one person.

> It's long past time to recognize that there's no consensus to be had.

If you decide there isn't any, then by definition there can't be any.
It only takes one person declaring that consensus is unachievable to
make it unachievable.

John Cowan  cowan@x   http://ccil.org/~cowan
"The exception proves the rule."  Dimbulbs think: "Your counterexample proves
my theory."  Latin students think "'Probat' means 'tests': the exception puts
the rule to the proof."  But legal historians know it means "Evidence for an
exception is evidence of the existence of a rule in cases not excepted from."

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