Common Lisp the Language, 2nd Edition

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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 Incorporated 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 Laboratory 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 Incorporated 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 Incorporated 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 Incorporated 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 contributions.

The organization and content of this book were inspired in large part by the MacLISP Reference Manual by David A. Moon and others [33], and by the LISP Machine Manual (fourth edition) by Daniel Weinreb and David Moon [55], 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, Virginia Anderson, John Osborn, 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.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
March 1984

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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Next: Introduction Up: Common Lisp the Language Previous: Acknowledgments SECOND EDITION