[gambit-list] Is gambit *just* a compiler/interpreter?

Adrien Piérard pierarda at iro.umontreal.ca
Sun Jun 7 06:33:56 EDT 2009

Hello everyone.

As others here too I guess, I do not program only in Scheme, and I
also keep myself informed of what happens around in the Common Lisp,
Haskell or ML communities (since I have a functional programming
I believe that most of you are aware of the impressive fame of Haskell
and its main implementation GHC, and I would even consider betting
that "do it in a monad" will soon belong to the dialect of the IT
marketing teams and deciders.
Let's see what I think helped the buzz spread, let alone the language itself:
- cabal: convenient and community friendly way to share, downloade and
builp code.
- Haskell platform: on click under windows, and you have a fully set
up system with all-you-need-ready-to-use (c).
- spare time: every single library coded by haskell users somehow
ended up in the community shared code base. No need to redo what's
already done.
- communication: the haskell weekly news: state of the art, blogs, and
IRC quotes. The community is alive and shows it to the world.

I guess that the closest to this in "our" (very split) community is
PLT-scheme. Yet, I think that Gambit too is somehow evolving along a
bigger and bigger user base, but may benefit from more development
targetting the (potential) users rathers that its speed or efficiency.

Suggested improvements to Gambit:

- We have a dumping ground, which slowly but surely grows. I think
that it is now time to reconsider doing a CPAN-like or cabal-like
system for Gambit. Users/programmers should be suggested to put there
any single line of once-useful code, without fearing comments
regarding quality or else. If someone wants this code but finds it
slow, it'll be patched…
Snow has tried to do that, but portability killed i.(I gave up
portabililty a while ago).

- I haven't tried blackhole yet, don't know its limitations, but if it
is good, let's make in part of Gambit (even as an external branch or

- A better explanaition of of it diverges from pure RnRS (that is,
emphasize on define-type, non-blocking IOs, and so on), and how it
makes it relevent for most real-life programming tasks.

- Involve the community and code the wish-list (or at least, give a
guided tour of gambit's internals and of its where-is-whats) so that
some may consider implementing those requests themselves.

Suggested improvements to Scheme:

- We have #scheme on Freenode that is lively and wealthy. We have
scheme.dk/planet which is lively and wealthy too (I just wished Grant
could stop twittering on it and make real posts with more than 134
characters that all start like "here is ...". Grant, if you read this
:P) Now, maybe a publication could be useful too, monthly at first,
maybe unofficial, that sums up recent activity, from "XXX now runs on
the iPhone, to "John Doe got a Scheme job at Great Compagny Inc", not
forgetting Prof. Farnsworth's latest paper on continuations".

I may be stating the obvious, but I felt the urge to share it (so much
that I wrote this too quickly and will probably regret having sent


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