Common Lisp the Language, 2nd Edition
Up: Common Lisp the Language
FIRST EDITION (1984)
Common Lisp was designed
by a diverse group of people affiliated with many institutions.
Contributors to the
design and implementation of Common Lisp and to the polishing of this book
are hereby gratefully acknowledged:
Paul Anagnostopoulos Digital Equipment Corporation
Dan Aronson Carnegie-Mellon University
Alan Bawden Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Eric Benson University of Utah, Stanford University, and Symbolics
Jon Bentley Carnegie-Mellon University and Bell Laboratories
Jerry Boetje Digital Equipment Corporation
Gary Brooks Texas Instruments
Rodney A. Brooks Stanford University
Gary L. Brown Digital Equipment Corporation
Richard L. Bryan Symbolics, Incorporated
Glenn S. Burke Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Howard I. Cannon Symbolics, Incorporated
George J. Carrette Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert Cassels Symbolics, Incorporated
Monica Cellio Carnegie-Mellon University
David Dill Carnegie-Mellon University
Scott E. Fahlman Carnegie-Mellon University
Richard J. Fateman University of California, Berkeley
Neal Feinberg Carnegie-Mellon University
Ron Fischer Rutgers University
John Foderaro University of California, Berkeley
Steve Ford Texas Instruments
Richard P. Gabriel Stanford University and Lawrence Livermore National
Joseph Ginder Carnegie-Mellon University and Perq Systems Corp.
Bernard S. Greenberg Symbolics, Incorporated
Richard Greenblatt Lisp Machines Incorporated (LMI)
Martin L. Griss University of Utah and Hewlett-Packard Incorporated
Steven Handerson Carnegie-Mellon University
Charles L. Hedrick Rutgers University
Gail Kaiser Carnegie-Mellon University
Earl A. Killian Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Steve Krueger Texas Instruments
John L. Kulp Symbolics, Incorporated
Jim Large Carnegie-Mellon University
Rob Maclachlan Carnegie-Mellon University
William Maddox Carnegie-Mellon University
Larry M. Masinter Xerox Corporation, Palo Alto Research Center
John McCarthy Stanford University
Michael E. McMahon Symbolics, Incorporated
Brian Milnes Carnegie-Mellon University
David A. Moon Symbolics, Incorporated
Beryl Morrison Digital Equipment Corporation
Don Morrison University of Utah
Dan Pierson Digital Equipment Corporation
Kent M. Pitman Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jonathan Rees Yale University
Walter van Roggen Digital Equipment Corporation
Susan Rosenbaum Texas Instruments
William L. Scherlis Carnegie-Mellon University
Lee Schumacher Carnegie-Mellon University
Richard M. Stallman Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Barbara K. Steele Carnegie-Mellon University
Guy L. Steele Jr. Carnegie-Mellon University and Tartan Laboratories
Peter Szolovits Massachusetts Institute of Technology
William vanMelle Xerox Corporation, Palo Alto Research Center
Ellen Waldrum Texas Instruments
Allan C. Wechsler Symbolics, Incorporated
Daniel L. Weinreb Symbolics, Incorporated
Jon L White Xerox Corporation, Palo Alto Research Center
Skef Wholey Carnegie-Mellon University
Richard Zippel Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Leonard Zubkoff Carnegie-Mellon University and Tartan Laboratories
Some contributions were relatively small; others involved enormous
expenditures of effort and great dedication. A few of the contributors
served more as worthy adversaries than as benefactors (and do not
necessarily endorse the final design reported here),
but their pointed criticisms were just as important to the polishing of Common Lisp
as all the positively phrased suggestions.
All of the people named above were helpful in one way or another,
and I am grateful for the interest and spirit of cooperation
that allowed most decisions to be made by consensus after due discussion.
Considerable encouragement and moral support were also provided by:
Norma Abel Digital Equipment Corporation
Roger Bate Texas Instruments
Harvey Cragon Texas Instruments
Dennis Duncan Digital Equipment Corporation
Sam Fuller Digital Equipment Corporation
A. Nico Habermann Carnegie-Mellon University
Berthold K. P. Horn Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Gene Kromer Texas Instruments
Gene Matthews Texas Instruments
Allan Newell Carnegie-Mellon University
Dana Scott Carnegie-Mellon University
Harry Tennant Texas Instruments
Patrick H. Winston Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lowell Wood Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
William A. Wulf Carnegie-Mellon University and Tartan Laboratories
I am very grateful to each of them.
Jan Zubkoff of Carnegie-Mellon University
provided a great deal of organization,
secretarial support, and unfailing good cheer in the face of adversity.
The development of Common Lisp would most probably not have been possible
without the electronic message system provided by the ARPANET.
Design decisions were made on several hundred distinct points, for the
most part by consensus, and by simple majority vote when necessary.
Except for two one-day face-to-face meetings, all of the language design
and discussion was done through the ARPANET message system, which
permitted effortless dissemination of messages to dozens of people, and
several interchanges per day. The message system also provided
automatic archiving of the entire discussion, which has proved
invaluable in the preparation of this reference manual. Over the course
of thirty months, approximately 3000 messages were sent (an average of
three per day), ranging in length from one line to twenty pages.
Assuming 5000 characters per printed page of text, the entire
discussion totaled about 1100 pages. It would have been substantially
more difficult to have conducted this discussion by any other means,
and would have required much more time.
The ideas in Common Lisp have come from many sources and been polished by
much discussion. I am responsible for the form of this
book, and for any errors or inconsistencies that may remain;
but the credit for the design and support of Common Lisp lies with
the individuals named above, each of whom has made significant
The organization and content
of this book were inspired in large part by the
MacLISP Reference Manual by David A. Moon and others ,
and by the LISP Machine Manual (fourth edition)
by Daniel Weinreb and David Moon ,
which in turn acknowledges the efforts of Richard Stallman, Mike McMahon,
Alan Bawden, Glenn Burke, and ``many people too numerous to list.''
I thank Phyllis Keenan, Chase Duffy,
and Jonathan Baker of Digital Press for their
help in preparing this book for publication.
Jane Blake did an admirable job of copy-editing.
James Gibson and Katherine Downs of Waldman Graphics were most cooperative
in typesetting this book from my on-line manuscript files.
I am grateful to Carnegie-Mellon University and to
Tartan Laboratories Incorporated for supporting me in the writing
of this book over the last three years.
Part of the work on this book was
done in conjunction with the Carnegie-Mellon University Spice Project,
an effort to construct an advanced scientific software development
environment for personal computers.
The Spice Project is
supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department
of Defense, ARPA Order 3597, monitored by the Air Force Avionics
Laboratory under contract F33615-78-C-1551. The views
and conclusions contained in this book are those of the author
and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies,
either expressed or implied, of the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency or the U.S. Government.
Most of the writing of this book took place between
midnight and 5 A.M. I am grateful to Barbara, Julia, and Peter
for putting up with it, and for their love.
Guy L. Steele Jr.
Would it be wonderful if, under the
pressure of all these difficulties, the
Convention should have been forced
into some deviations from that artifi-
cial structure and regular symmetry
which an abstract view of the subject
might lead an ingenious theorist to
bestow on a constitution planned in
his closet or in his imagination?
- James Madison, The Federalist
No. 37, January 11, 1788
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