The short story
A new standards process (Forth 200x) for updating the '94 standard is
underway. It will produce a formal standards document; proposals for
changes to the '94 standard should run through the RfD/CfV process before being discussed at the
standards meeting. There is now a mailing list for
RfDs/CfVs and other issues related to the Forth 200x effort. The next
standards meeting will be held on the day before EuroForth 2005, i.e.,
on Oct 20th, 2005 in Santander (Spain). It has not been decided
whether an official standards body (like ISO) will be involved.
The long story
At EuroForth 2004 we had a workshop Forth 2005 about an
update of the Forth standard. There's a picture
of the blackboard (1.3MB) that summarizes the main points. The
participants decided to take some votes, so you see some vote results.
Here's the decoded (and more bandwidth-friendly) form:
- Should such an effort be done at all? Most people seemed to like
- Should the new effort only deal with existing practice, or also
with new ideas?
- Should we use the RfD/CfV
process to produce semiformal proposals for changes to the
standard before we decide on the new standard (vote: 13 yes: 0 no: 2
- It turned out that a number of participants do not read Usenet;
therefore a public moderated mailing list (with a public archive) was
proposed, and Peter Knaggs volunteered as moderator (14Y:0N:1A). The
mailing list was created right away: Forth200x, and
moderation currently happens by getting approved as a member of the
mailing list (only members are allowed to post). You can become a
member right away by sending a request to
firstname.lastname@example.org or via the mailing list
homepage. I am not yet sure if and how an RfD can be processed in
parallel in comp.lang.forth and in the mailing list, but I will try it
at least for those RfDs that I do.
- Should we run the standard through a standards body like ANSI,
ISO, IEEE, etc.? If so, which one? Opinions were divided on that,
but most seemed to agree that we should get going and possibly create
a new standards document first, and deal with a standards body later
(if at all). It was proposed to defer answering the question for 1
year (12Y:0N:3A). One argument against involving standards bodies is
that they want to have an exclusive copyright on the document, so that
even the developers of the standards have lose the right to copy and
continue to develop it.
- Document format questions and a standards editor. Some people
favoured starting with the HTML version of the standard and sticking
with that format, others favoured MS Word (which many strongly
opposed), some proposed using LaTeX. One argument for Word was that
it supports change bars which supposedly other document formats don't.
Finally someone pointed out that the editor of the standards document
has to be comfortable with the document format. Anton Ertl
volunteered as editor (15Y:0N:0A). One problem with that is that I
was also volunteered and approved as chairman of the effort, but I
guess that can be resolved before the editor role becomes active.
- Should there be a standards meeting? Where and when? We decided
to have a standards meeting 1 day before the next EuroForth
(9Y:0N:7A), i.e., on Oct 20th, 2005 in Santander (Spain). The
standards meeting should only deal with proposals that have run
through the RfD/CfV process.
- Anton Ertl was nominated chairman, and should inform the Forth
community (in the form of the various known formal and informal
groups) of this effort.