INCITS/J13 01-001

INCITS/J13 Annual Report

covering May 2001 through April 2002

INCITS/J13: Programming Language Common LISP

Document Number:  INCITS/J13 02-001
Date: 10 May 2002
Project: 574-M
Reply To: Steve M. Haflich, J13 Chair
Franz Inc.
1995 University Avenue
Berkeley CA 94704
Phone: (510)548-3600
Fax: (510)548-8253

INCITS/J13 has developed the ANS for programming language Common Lisp (X3.226-1994). It now maintains that standard and is considering future revisions and extension.

1. Executive Summary

J13 failed to maintain quorum during 2001 and essentially ceased functioning. The Chair has spent the recent months reestablishing quorum. It was a battle, but quite recently four entities have confirmed intention to join and are now being invoiced by INCITS (see Appendix M below). The chair considers these promises to be reliable. The expected membership consists of two vendors and two users. It may be possible to draw one or two more members over time.

Why is it so difficult to find SDO members from an active language community? Several causes can be suggested:

While there has been no progress towards new projects, there is unanimous sentiment in the community supporting for the 1994 ANS. No one considers it irrelevant or unimportant.

The IR position remained unfilled after two calls for volunteers during 2000. There is, conveniently, still no known international business pending or expected (other than the unproblematic reaffirmation of ISLISP, see below) so the matter is not urgent. If J13 enters Maintenance Status, the Chair is permitted by SD-2 to serve as IR. If J13 does not enter Maintenance Status, there is some precendent for allowing the Chair to fill the position when there is no significant international activity.

2. Projects

a. Project Number and Title
574 - M

Programming Language Common Lisp

b. Project Milestones
Milestone 8 (Publication) was completed in 1994.
The standard was reaffirmed in 1999.
c. Project Description
Development and maintenance of X3.226-1994, the American National Standard for Information Technology -- Programming Language Lisp.
d. Publications During Past Year
e. Statement of Progress
J13 has no active projects, other than periodic review of 574-M.

3. Committee Activities

a. Previous Year's Meetings
J13 did not meet during 2001. The last meeting was Dec 20, 2000, by electronic chat.
b. Next Year's Planned Meetings

Now that a reliable quorum has been restablished, the committee will discuss its choice of action by mailing list, then hold a meeting by electronic chat. Then, with all members having established voting status, will vote as necessary to accomplish its chosen course of action.

From private discussions in the J123 community, the obvious choices for action remain these:

It unrealistic that J13 could soon commence any broad areas for drafting new standards. A more conceivable intermediate step would to draft one or another potential Supplements that would make small but useful extensions to the existing standard language. But even this may be overreaching until J13 reestablishes some significant forward momentum.

Consideration of further meetings is a standing agenda item.

c. Officers -- INCITS/J13
Chair: Steven M. Haflich
(address above)
Vice Chair: (vacant)
IR: vacant since September 2000
Secretary: (rotates ad hoc)
Technical Editor: vacant (no present activity)
Vocabulary Representative:  (vacant)
Librarian: (vacant -- performed by chair)

d. Membership

(see Appendix M below)
e. Liaison Activities
The IR is liaison to SC22/WG16 which has been inactive since completion of ISO/IEC 13816:1997 - Programming Language ISLISP. No need for IR activity is anticipated in the foreseeable future. The 5-year reconfirmation of ISO/IEC 13816:1997 is currently before the JTC (JT/02-0077 IT/02-0106). There is no question that reconfirmation should be approved (opinion of J13 Chair, who will so recommend to JTC). It will be parliamentarily impossible for J13 to take a formal vote on the matter, but they will be canvassed informally and a recommendation made to JTC.
f. Administrative Matters of Note

The chair needs to follow up on the invoices to make sure a voting quorum is properly and reliably established. Then J13 must decide whether or not to enter maintenance status.

If the committee enters Maintenance Status, the Chair can fulfill the position of IR in accordance with SD-2. If the committee for some reason declines to enter Maintenance Status, and if no member expresses interest in the IR position, the Chair will recommend that INCITS allow the Chair to exercise the position, considering that no particular international business is expected.

g. Procedural Matters of Note

J13 has conducted successful meetings my electronic chat, and intends to continue to do so. Current membership is evenly scattered across timezones spread 8 hours apart. While this will require some chat attendees to be present at odd hours, this is still much less of an inconvenience than international travel and jet lag.

Through informal discussion, members of the committee lean toward chat in preference to phone conference owing to the awkwardness of oral communication for non-native English speakers.

h. Recommendations
i. Market Impact

This section has been reviewed but is unchanged from year 2000.

Common Lisp remains a language of choice for high-end engineering and artificial intelligence applications. The positive features of the language have not decayed significantly with age, and (unlike during the AI boom of the 1980's) Lisp systems no longer require expensive, high-end hardware. The Lisp market remains stable.

As evidenced by the frequency and vehemence with which it is cited and discussed in forums such as comp.lang.lisp, the 1994 ANS remains an important work that will continue to be the standard reference for the Common Lisp community. The errors, ambiguities, and other defects in the standard are objectively few. However, the continued lack of standardization for language features areas of system interface (e.g. sockets, threading, I18N and localization, and programming-language interoperability) is unfortunate, as these have become increasingly important in recent years.

Growth continues in the use of Lisp in Web applications, including but not limited to intelligent servers for dynamic content and intelligent data mining applications. In addition to the applications themselves, the technology substrates need for Web applications are also under active development within the community. However, there does not seem to be much community feeling at this time that new standards are needed. The active developers seem to feel (correctly or incorrectly) that they are better without additional constraints at this time. Perhaps this will change as technologies mature, merge, and stabilize.

4. Anticipated Projects

See the discussion in the Executive Summary above.

5. Future Trends in Area of Standardization

Areas which might especially warrant standardization within the next few years include libraries and interfaces supporting Web Programming. Internationalization, Localization, Database Interface, and Language Interoperability.

Attachment 1: Committee Projects: X3/SD-4 Data

The current SD-4 data as revised 03/28/02 is correct.  It is included here for reference:

J13/SC22/WG16 Common LISP
   (Revised 03/07/01 )
 INCITS Project: 574 - M
Standard Designation: X3.226:1994 [R1999]

 Title: Programming Language Common Lisp

Related International Development

 ISO/IEC Doc.: IS 13816:1997
 JTC 1 Project: 22.23

Attachment 2: Internal Procedures:

J13 has no special Internal Procedures; Attachment 2 is omitted.

Attachment 3: Financial Statement:

J13 operates without collecting funds from members; Attachment 3 is omitted.

Attachment M: INCITS/ J13 Organizational Membership (10 May 2002)

Steve Haflich					(P)
Franz Inc						510-548-3600
Suite 275
1995 University Ave
Berkeley CA 94704

Kevin Layer					(A)
Franz Inc						510-548-3600
1995 University Ave
Berkeley CA 94704

Martin Simmons					(P)
Xanalys Inc
Barrington Hall
Barrington Cambridge
CB2 5RG United Kingdom

Kevin Males					(A)
Xanalys Inc
Barrington Hall
Barrington Cambridge
CB2 5RG United Kingdom

Raymond de Lacaze				(P)
self							voice 212-956-0719
230 West 55th St., Apt. #25C				fax   212-956-0719
New York, NY 10019

Hisao Kuroda					(P)
Mathematical Systems, Inc.				phone +81 3-3358-1701
10F Four Seasons Bldg.					fax   +81 3-3358-1727
2-4-3 Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022 JAPAN