Annual Report for INCITS/J13 - Programming Language Lisp

for the period July 2003 through June 2004

The J13 covers the family of Lisp languages, although nearly all the TC's work focusses on the Common Lisp dialect. J13 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 did not meet and essentially ceased normal operation during the past year. It had been maintaning the minimum four member quorum for about a decade without any active projects. Since the TC is unlikely to commence any new work in the near term, at least one member decided not to continue the recurring expense of membership. When it was evident a quorum would not be maintained, others followed.

The question facing INCITS is what to do with J13. The situation is an odd one: While the language community apparently has little stomach for massive, expensive, new standardization projects -- perhaps considering formal standardization irrelevant to current areas of development -- the 1994 ANS remains a crucial document for the Lisp industry:

Although within the past few months there have been two enquiries about J13 activity and the possibilities of new membership, there is no reasonable expectation of new Project activity in the short term. It seems a waste of effort trying to preserve the TC in active status unless and until Project activity is objectively more imminent. So what to do about J13?

Disbanding is one possibility, but it would be preferable that the TC continue on some basis so that there is a contact point for community enquiries, and to serve as a nucleus around which future Projects could coalesce. (One real possibility would be dealing with the ambiguities uncovered by the ongoing conformance suite.) It would have been better if the TC had put itself into Maintenance Status some time during the past few years when it still had a quorum and could do so. If it would be possible on some basis for the Executive Board to accmplish this, the Chair recommends doing so.

On another matter, the 5-year reaffirmation of X3.226-1994 is currently before the INCITS SDB. J13 was for lack of quorum unable to make a formal recommendation, but there was agreement from three members that it should be reaffirmed. It is clear that the Lisp community would feel the same. The Chair so recommends to the SDB, but this must remain a private recommendation rather than a formal TC position.

2. Significant Accomplishments

There were no accomplishments of note in the past year.

3. Significant Challenges

Retaining membership in a dues-charging TC with no active Projects.

4. Expected Challenges

See the executive summary.

5. Committee Activities

a. Previous Year's Meetings:

There were no meetings dusing the past year. The most recent meeting was August 8, 2002, by internet chat.

b. Next Year's Planned Meetings:

No meetings are scheduled, as the TC is unable to reach quorum.

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
smh@alum.mit.edu   (510)452-2000x157
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:


8. Future Trends and Related Technical Activities

9. Other Administrative Information

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