[asdf-devel] Make the CL syntax predictable

Robert Goldman rpgoldman at sift.net
Fri Mar 28 18:00:07 UTC 2014

Attila Lendvai wrote:
>> I do have control: If femlisp or any other library makes a boneheaded
>> decision that breaks my software, I can stop using it.
> yes, resolving that is trivial -- once you have identified the
> problem.
> regarding the recent discussions i'm generally baffled why it is at
> all a question whether to make a build software deterministic or
> not. in my view if there's anything in the global state that has an
> effect on the building of a software, anything, then it's a bug.
> and if this state can be set in a way that it leaks out and influences
> builds later in time, then it's an ugly bug feasting on programmer
> nerves and time.

This would be true only if "a software" was equivalent to "an ASDF
system."  That is not the case.  I have seen many applications that are
made up of a large number of ASDF systems, because ASDF does not
necessarily provide nice structures for large applications.  In such
application builds, you WANT state to bleed from one ASDF system to
another, because these ASDF systems are not freestanding entities.
Complaining that state leaks in and out of these systems is like
complaining that state leaks into a closure.  It's intended to leak, and
that is not a bug.

If you want a strict mode that enforces the opinion you espouse above,
yes, I believe that would be a valuable contribution.

If you want this to be THE ONLY WAY one can use ASDF, that will not
happen while I am maintaining ASDF.

I am happy to have ASDF provide safety belts.  But ASDF will not hand
out traffic tickets to those who knowingly decline to use them.

I would be much happier to see this conversation direct itself towards a
design for providing strict mode, rather than arguing about whether or
not "strict mode" should be universally imposed.  I will say it again:
that will not happen.

Robert P. Goldman
Staff Scientist
Smart Information Flow Technologies (d/b/a SIFT, LLC)

319 1st Ave N., Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Voice:    (612) 326-3934
Email:    rpgoldman at SIFT.net

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