Annual Report for INCITS/J13 - Programming Language Lisp

for the period May 2002 through June 2003

The J13 covers the family of Lisp languages, although nearly all the TC's work focusses on the Common Lisp dialect. J13 develops and maintains X3.226-1994, the American National Standard for Information Technology -- Programming Language Common Lisp. Other Lisp dialect communities are either unconcerned with standardization or are standardized under different SDOs.

1. Executive Summary

J13 maintained quorum in 2002 and had a single meeting in August 2002. The principal of discussion issue was consideration of possible project proposals for new areas of standardization. A few potential subjects were left for for further exploration, but none have developed into a concrete project proposal.

However, during the past year there has been a significant progress outside the committee in writing a comprehensive conformance suite for the 1994 ANS. This is something that has long been lacking, and has already been used to good effect tightening conformance of some popular implementations. However, the conformance suite has also uncovered a few unintended and harmful consequences in certain obscure areas of the ANS. In some cases these implications were simply missed by the original drafters; in others, the project editor apparently misconstrued certain details of TC actions, and these alteractions also were not identified in proofing the 1994 standard.

No known implementation conformed to these unintended details in the decade since the ANS was adopted, of course, and they are mostly uninmportant exceptional or boundary cases. But some implementations have already undertaken to come into conformance. Unfortunately, the particular changes have no practical benefit to the language or its users (beyond conformance to the standard) and have efficiency or complexity costs that are objectively harmful to the language. A Project Proposal is now being considered for an Amendment specifically to address these issues, and limited to these issues.

2. Significant Accomplishments

There were no accomplishments of note in the past year.

3. Significant Challenges

Retaining membership remains a challenge while the committee remains inactive, without active projects, and while a portion of the implementor community is noncommercial, unwilling to join a dues-charging organization. We deal with it, but it would be easier if a project or two were underway.

4. Expected Challenges

See [2] above. Segments of the lisp community tends toward vehemence and language fundamentalism; managing this during a project to alter the sacred writ of the ANS may be a problem.

5. Committee Activities

a. Previous Year's Meetings:

Meeting Number Date Location
 n/a  August 8, 2002
 Internet chat from four countries on three continents

b. Next Year's Planned Meetings:

A meeting by electronic chat is planned for middle or late summer, exact scheduling to be determined according to the schedules of the participants.

6. Liaison Activities

The IR is liaison to SC22/WG16 which remains inactive since completion of ISO/IEC 13816:1997 - Programming Language ISLISP. No need for IR activity is anticipated in the foreseeable future.

7. Membership and Officers

a. Officers:
Position (and training date) Name and organization represented
Chair  Steven M. Haflich, Franz Inc.
last training May 16, 2002
Vice Chair unoccupied
Secretary rotates
International Representative currently unoccupied, as there are currently no active international liaisons.
Vocabulary Representative unoccupied -- no active projects
b. Membership:

Haflich, Steve Franz Inc Voting Principal
Franz Inc
555 12th Street #1450
Oakland, CA 94607 USA
Phone: 510-452-2000 x157
Fax:   510-452-0182
Layer, Kevin Franz Inc Voting Alternate
Franz Inc
555 12th Street #1450
Oakland, CA 94607 USA
Phone: 510-452-2000
Fax:   510-452-0182
Kuroda, Hisao MSI Voting Principal
Mathematical Systems, Inc.
10F Four Seasons Building
2-4-3 Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022 Japan
Phone: 81 3-3358-1701
Fax:   81 3-3358-1727
Simmons, Martin Xanalys Voting Principal
Xanalys, Inc.
Barrington Hall 
Barrington, Cambridge CB2 5RG
United Kingdom
Males, Kevin Xanalys Voting Alternate
Xanalys, Inc.
Barrington Hall 
Barrington, Cambridge CB2 5RG
United Kingdom
Corman, Roger Corman Technologies Voting Principal
Corman Technologies
3445 Baldwin Way
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Phone: 707-541-2544
Raymond de Lacaze self Voting Principal
230 West 55th St., Apt. #25C
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-956-0719
Fax:   212-956-0719

8. Future Trends and Related Technical Activities

Implementation and exploitation of current standardized Internet protocols (e.g. HTTP servers, XML languages, SOAP) remains a current area of high activity. Generally, there is no perceived need at this time for standardizing Common Lisp bindings onto these facilities. The lack of effective standardization of lower-level support layers (e.g. threading, sockets and I18N) is perceived as a greater problem. But whether any significant body of willing workers will coalesce around any of these areas remains a question.

The only project poroposal that is objectively likely is a cleanup of certain obscure details in the existing ANS, as described in [1] above.

9. Other Administrative Information

J13 functions without collecting funds.  Operational expenses are trivial and are bourn by the officer organizations.

J13 would not be possible without near complete reliance on email and internet chat. The face-to-face plenum meeting is a thing of the past. Something is lost in TC cohesiveness and fellowship in the process, but there is no remedy for it. Sic transit gloria mundi.