Common Lisp the Language, 2nd Edition

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First and foremost, I must thank the many people in the Lisp community who have worked so hard to specify, implement, and use Common Lisp. Some of these have volunteered many hours of effort as members of ANSI committee X3J13. Others have made presentations or proposals to X3J13, and yet others have sent suggestions and corrections to the first edition directly to me. This book builds on their efforts as well as mine.

An early draft of this book was made available to all members of X3J13 for their criticism. I have also worked with the many public documents that have been written during the course of the committee's work (which is not over yet). It is my hope that this book is an accurate reflection of the committee's actions as of October 1989. Nevertheless, any errors or inconsistencies are my responsibility. The fact that I have made a draft available to certain persons, received feedback from them, or thanked them in these acknowledgments does not necessarily imply that any one of them or any of the institutions with which they are affiliated endorse this book or anything of its contents.

Digital Press and I gave permission to X3J13 to use any or all parts of the first edition in the production of an ANSI Common Lisp standard. Conversely, in writing this book I have worked with publicly available documents produced by X3J13 in the course of its work, and in some cases as a courtesy have obtained the consent of the authors of those documents to quote them extensively. This common ancestry will result in similarities between this book and the emerging ANSI Common Lisp standard (that is the purpose, after all). Nevertheless, this second edition has no official connection whatsoever with X3J13 or ANSI, nor is it endorsed by either of those institutions.

The following persons have been members of X3J13 or involved in its activities at one time or another: Jim Allard, Dave Andre, Jim Antonisse, William Arbaugh, John Aspinall, Bob Balzer, Gerald Barber, Richard Barber, Kim Barrett, David Bartley, Roger Bate, Alan Bawden, Michael Beckerle, Paul Beiser, Eric Benson, Daniel Bobrow, Mary Boelk, Skona Brittain, Gary Brown, Tom Bucken, Robert Buckley, Gary Byers, Dan Carnese, Bob Cassels, Jérôme Chailloux, Kathy Chapman, Thomas Christaller, Will Clinger, Peter Coffee, John Cugini, Pavel Curtis, Doug Cutting, Christopher Dabrowski, Jeff Dalton, Linda DeMichiel, Fred Discenzo, Jerry Duggan, Patrick Dussud, Susan Ennis, Scott Fahlman, Jogn Fitch, John Foderaro, Richard Gabriel, Steven Gadol, Nick Gall, Oscar Garcia, Robert Giansiracusa, Brad Goldstein, David Gray, Richard Greenblatt, George Hadden, Steve Haflich, Dave Henderson, Carl Hewitt, Carl Hoffman, Cheng Hu, Masayuki Ida, Takayasu Ito, Sonya Keene, James Kempf, Gregory Jennings, Robert Kerns, Gregor Kiczales, Kerry Kimbrough, Dieter Kolb, Timothy Koschmann, Ed Krall, Fritz Kunze, Aaron Larson, Joachim Laubsch, Kevin Layer, Michael Levin, Ray Lim, Thom Linden, David Loeffler, Sandra Loosemore, Barry Margolin, Larry Masinter, David Matthews, Robert Mathis, John McCarthy, Chris McConnell, Rob McLachlan, Jay Mendelsohn, Martin Mikelsons, Tracey Miles, Richard Mlyarnik, David Moon, Jarl Nilsson, Leo Noordhulsen, Ronald Ohlander, Julian Padget, Jeff Peck, Jan Pedersen, Bob Pellegrino, Crispin Perdue, Dan Pierson, Kent Pitman, Dexter Pratt, Christian Quiennec, B. Raghavan, Douglas Rand, Jonathan Rees, Chris Richardson, Jeff Rininger, Walter van Roggen, Jeffrey Rosenking, Don Sakahara, William Scherlis, David Slater, James Smith, Alan Snyder, Angela Sodan, Richard Soley, S. Sridhar, Bill St. Clair, Philip Stanhope, Guy Steele, Herbert Stoyan, Hiroshi Torii, Dave Touretzky, Paul Tucker, Rick Tucker, Thomas Turba, David Unietis, Mary Van Deusen, Ellen Waldrum, Richard Waters, Allen Wechsler, Mark Wegman, Jon L White, Skef Wholey, Alexis Wieland, Martin Yonke, Bill York, Taiichi Yuasa, Gail Zacharias, and Jan Zubkoff.

I must express particular gratitude and appreciation to a number of people for their exceptional efforts:

Larry Masinter, chairman of the X3J13 Cleanup Subcommittee, developed the standard format for documenting all proposals to be voted upon. The result has been an outstanding tehcnical and historical record of all the actions taken by X3J13 to rectify and improve Common Lisp.

Sandra Loosemore, chairwoman of the X3J13 Compiler Subcommittee, produced many proposals for clarifying the semantics of the compilation process. She has been a diligent stickler for detail and has helped to clarify many parts of Common Lisp left vague in the first edition.

Jon L White, chairman of the X3J13 Iteration Subcommittee, supervised the consideration of several controversial proposals, one of which (loop) was eventually adopted by X3J13.

Thom Linden, chairman of the X3J13 Character Subcommittee, led a team in grappling with the difficult problem of accommodating various character sets in Common Lisp. One result is that Common Lisp will be more attractive for international use.

Kent Pitman, chairman of the X3J13 Error Handling Subcommittee, plugged the biggest outstanding hole in Common Lisp as described by the first edition.

Kathy Chapman, chairwoman of the X3J13 Drafting Subcommittee, and principal author of the draft standard, has not only written a great deal of text but also insisted on coherent and consistent terminology and pushed the rest of the committee forward when necessary.

Robert Mathis, chairman of X3J13, has kept administrative matters flowing smoothly during technical controversies.

Mary Van Deusen, secretary of X3J13, kept excellent minutes that were a tremendous aid to me in tracing the history of a number of complex discussions.

Jan Zubkoff, X3J13 meeting and mailing organizer, knows what's going on, as always. She is a master of organization and of physical arrangements. Moreover, she once again pulled me out of the fire at the last minute.

Dick Gabriel, international representative for X3J13, has kept information flowing smoothly between Europe, Japan, and the United States. He provided a great deal of the energy and drive for the completion of the Common Lisp Object System specification. He has also provided me with a great deal of valuable advice and has been on call for last-minute consultation at all hours during the final stages of preparation for this book.

David Moon has consistently been a source of reason, expert knowledge, and careful scrutiny. He has read the first edition and the X3J13 proposals perhaps more carefully than anyone else.

David Moon, Jon L White, Gregor Kiczales, Robert Mathis, Mary Boelk provided extensive feedback on an early draft of this book. I thank them as well as the many others who commented in one way or another on the draft.

I wish to thank the authors of large proposals to X3J13 that have made material available for more or less wholesale inclusion in this book as distinct chapters. This material was produced primarily for the use of X3J13 in its work. It has been included here on a non-exclusive basis with the consent of the authors.

The author of the chapter on loop (Jon L White) notes that the chapter is based on documentation written at Lucid, Inc., by Molly M. Miller, Sonia Orin Lyris, and Kris Dinkel. Glenn Burke, Scott Fahlman, Colin Meldrum, David Moon, Cris Perdue, and Dick Waters contributed to the design of the loop macro.

The authors of the Common Lisp Object System specification (Daniel G. Bobrow, Linda G. DeMichiel, Richard P. Gabriel, Sonya E. Keene, Gregor Kiczales, and David A. Moon) wish to thank Patrick Dussud, Kenneth Kahn, Jim Kempf, Larry Masinter, Mark Stefik, Daniel L. Weinreb, and Jon L White for their contributions.

The author of the chapter on Conditions (Kent M. Pitman) notes that there is a paper [38] containing background information about the design of the condition system, which is based on the condition system of the Symbolics Lisp Machines [49]. The members of the X3J13 Error Handling Subcommittee were Andy Daniels and Kent Pitman. Richard Mlynarik and David A. Moon made major design contributions. Useful comments, questions, suggestions, and criticisms were provided by Paul Anagnostopoulos, Alan Bawden, William Chiles, Pavel Curtis, Mary Fontana, Dick Gabriel, Dick King, Susan Lander, David D. Loeffler, Ken Olum, David C. Plummer, Alan Snyder, Eric Weaver, and Daniel L. Weinreb. The Condition System was designed specifically to accommodate the needs of Common Lisp. The design is, however, most directly based on the ``New Error System'' (NES) developed at Symbolics by David L. Andre, Bernard S. Greenberg, Mike McMahon, David A. Moon, and Daniel L. Weinreb. The NES was in turn based on experiences with the original Lisp Machine error system (developed at MIT), which was found to be inadequate for the needs of the modern Lisp Machine environments. Many aspects of the NES were inspired by the (PL/I) condition system used by the Honeywell Multics operating system. Henry Lieberman provided conceptual guidance and encouragement in the design of the NES. A reimplementation of the NES for non-Symbolics Lisp Machine dialects (MIT, LMI, and TI) was done at MIT by Richard M. Stallman. During the process of that reimplementation, some conceptual changes were made which have significantly influenced the Common Lisp Condition System.

As for the smaller but no less important proposals, Larry Masinter deserves recognition as an author of over half of them. He has worked indefatigably to write up proposals and to polish drafts by other authors. Kent Pitman, David Moon, and Sandra Loosemore have also been notably prolific, as well as Jon L White, Dan Pierson, Walter van Roggen, Skona Brittain, Scott Fahlman, and myself. Other authors of proposals include David Andre, John Aspinall, Kim Barrett, Eric Benson, Daniel Bobrow, Bob Cassels, Kathy Chapman, WIlliam Clinger, Pavel Curtis, Doug Cutting, Jeff Dalton, Linda DiMichiel, Richard Gabriel, Steven Haflich, Sonya Keene, James Kempf, Gregor Kiczales, Dieter Kolb, Barry Margolin, Chris McConnell, Jeff Peck, Jan Pedersen, Crispin Perdue, Jonathan Rees, Don Sakahara, David Touretzky, Richard Waters, and Gail Zacharias.

I am grateful to Donald E. Knuth and his colleagues for producing the TeX text formatting system [28], which was used to produce and typeset the manuscript. Knuth did an especially good job of publishing the program for TeX [29]; I had to consult the code about eight times while debugging particularly complicated macros. Thanks to the extensive indexing and cross-references, in each case it took me less than five minutes to find the relevant fragment of that 500-page program.

I also owe a debt to Leslie Lamport, author of the LaTeX macro package [30] for TeX, within which I implemented the document style for this book.

Blue Sky Research sells and supports Textures, an implementation of TeX for Apple Macintosh computers; Gayla Groom and Barry Smith of Blue Sky Research provided excellent technical support when I needed it. Other software tools that were invaluable in preparing this book were QuicKeys (sold by CE Software, Inc.), which provides keyboard macros; Gofer (sold by Microlytics, Inc.), which performs rapid text searches in multiple files; Symantec Utilities for Macintosh (sold by Symantec Corporation), which saved me from more than one disk crash; and the PostScript language and compatible fonts (sold by Adobe Systems Incorporated).

Some of this software (such as LaTeX) I obtained for free and some I bought, but all have proved to be useful tools of excellent quality. I am grateful to these developers for creating them.

Electronic mail has been indispensible to the writing of this book, as well to as the work of X3J13. (It is a humbling experience to publish a book and then for the next five years to receive at least one electronic mail message a week, if not twenty, pointing out some mistake or defect.) Kudos to those develop and maintain the Internet, which arose from the Arpanet and other networks.

Chase Duffy, George Horesta, and Will Buddenhagen of Digital Press have given me much encouragement and support. David Ford designed the book and provided specifications that I could code into TeX. Alice Cheyer and Kate Schmit edited the copy for style and puzzled over the more obscure jokes with great patience. Marilyn Rowland created the index; Tim Evans and I did some polishing. Laura Fillmore and her colleagues at Editorial, Inc., have tirelessly and meticulously checked one draft after another and has kept the paperwork flowing smoothly during the last hectic weeks of proofreading, page makeup, and typesetting.

Thinking Machines Corporation has supported all my work with X3J13. I thank all my colleagues there for their encouragement and help.

Others who provided indispensible encouragement and support include Guy and Nalora Steele; David Steele; Cordon and Ruth Kerns; David, Patricia, Tavis, Jacob, Nicholas, and Daniel Auwerda; Donald and Denise Kerns; and David, Joyce, and Christine Kerns.

Most of the writing of this book took place between 10 P.M. and 3 A.M. (I'm not as young as I used to be). I am grateful to Barbara, Julia, Peter, and Matthew for putting up with it, and for their love.

Guy L. Steele Jr.
Lexington, Massachusetts
All Saints' Day, 1989

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Next: Acknowledgments FIRST EDITION Up: Common Lisp the Language Previous: Preface SECOND EDITION