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References: DISASSEMBLE (p. 439), COMPILE (p. 439)


Edit history: Version 2 by Pierson 12/30/87

Version 3 by Pierson 1/21/88

Version 4 by Pierson 6/10/88 correct VAX Lisp practice

Status: Ready For Release?

Problem description:

The definition of DISASSEMBLE says that "if the relevant function is

not a compiled function, it is first compiled.". The definition of

COMPILE says that "If name is a non-nil symbol, then the

compiled-function is installed as the global function definition of

the symbol...". Several implementations have taken this to mean that

if DISASSEMBLE is passed a symbol which has an uncompiled function

definition, then it has the side-effect of (COMPILE 'symbol).


Clarify that when DISASSEMBLE compiles a function, it will never

install the newly compiled function.

Test Cases/Examples:

(DEFUN F (A) (1+ A))




This code will return T if this proposal is adopted. Some current

implementations will return T, some will return NIL.


Several current implementations of DISASSEMBLE have surprising side

effects, especially for new users.

Current practice:

Allegro CL installs the compiled definition. Lucid, Symbolics, Xerox,

VAX Lisp, and KCL don't install it.

Cost to Implementors:

Some implementations will have to make a simple change.

Cost to Users:

Very little. DISASSEMBLE is really part of the environment and is

probably not called by much, if any user code.

Cost of non-Adoption:

DISASSEMBLE will continue to surprise less experienced users.


DISASSEMBLE will become the predictable debugging function it was

meant to be.


Some who worried that DISASSEMBLE was supposed to install the compiled

function may find that the language has become a little cleaner.


DISASSEMBLE is an environment feature; some question has been raised

as to the place and force of environment features in the standard.

However, this proposal stands if DISASSEMBLE is part of the standard


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