RE: [S] scope rules

David Nelson (
Thu, 25 Jun 1998 12:17:35 -0700

I hesitate to add two-cents worth, as this topic is surely tangential to
most user's interests.
However, I can't help but comment...

Coming from the LISP community, I've always found the scoping rules for S to
be quaint in the extreme, and a constant source of irritation to me. I have
always wondered if the developers of S were aware of the research at the
time on lexical scoping, but deliberately chose not to incorporate modern
scoping techniques because they would conflict in some way with S's lazy
evaluation and delayed commitment paradigm. Or, were they just unaware of it
and were trapped in old-fashioned FORTRAN thinking?

In any event, there is no conflict between structured programming,
object-oriented programming, and lexical scoping (see, e.g, the work on
Common LISP Object System (CLOS)). And the scoping rules surely were not
used to enforce "security".

Does anyone listening have an authoritative account of how the scoping rules
were decided upon?


David O. Nelson
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Box 808, L-452
Livermore CA 94551
(925) 423-8898 (fax: (925) 422-2282)

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