The Official ANSI Common Lisp Standard

So I like (Common) Lisp and thought it was time to get the official ANSI Common Lisp standard, officially known as:

ANSI INCITS 226-1994 (R2004) American National Standard for Programming Language
Common LISP (X3J13)

For a Lisp aficionado, not much else could be better, surely? Indeed. So I bought it from the ANSI eStandards Store. After the easy payment of 6 days worth of a good lunch’s money, totaling 30 USD, I was sent the download link. Got the email, downloaded it, yippee!

Clicked the file twice and popped open my PDF reader, and my excitement sort of died.

Severely disappointed. You’d expect paying about the cost of 10 reams of paper would get you an electronic standard that uses native, vector fonts and the like. But instead you get a skewed, artifact-ridden, non-searchable, low-resolution PDF.

Supposedly I’m not the only one to have a bitter distaste. #lisp seemed to sympathize (or maybe they were calling me stupid :), but this was their reaction (I am Quadrescence).

[14:42.26] * Quadrescence feels slightly deceived by ANSI.</em>
[14:42.46] <Xach> Quadrescence: why?
[14:45.00] <Quadrescence> Xach: Being a good guy (and also
because I want offline reading and not thru my web browser), I
bought the ANSI standard. And I did indeed get the standard, but
see this excerpt: **images above**
[14:45.15] <antifuchs> you did what? (-:
[14:45.31] <Krystof> did you get the crappy low-resolution
[14:45.59] <antifuchs> wow. ok. show of hands, who else has
bought that?
[14:46.13] <Krystof> well, now all you need to do is type it
all in again to get a searchable copy
[14:46.43] <antifuchs> Quadrescence: ugh. sorry you got
scammed into this /-:

Anyway, if it’s not clear, I recommend that you


Luckily there are a few alternatives.

  • Use the Common Lisp HyperSpec (a.k.a. CLHS). This is the ANSI standard in HTML form. Be sure to read their terms of use.
  • Use dpans2texi.el as suggested by antifuchs in #lisp (thanks!). This will allow you to convert the $\TeX$ sources of the draft ANSI standard into TeXinfo format which can be used from Emacs or can be rendered into a PDF. Supposedly the latest draft of the standard is pretty much the same as the published standard. There are links to the $\TeX$ source on that page.
  • Download the PS files directly of the ANSI draft. This might be most useful for printing and whatnot.

Anyway, if there’s anything to feel good about, it’s that I wasn’t ripped off 150 USD but rather just 30 USD. Though…

[14:53.23] <Quadrescence> Xach: There's an explicit NO REFUNDS.
I won't gripe more about it. It was $30. While that could have
bought me lunch for the next week or so, there's not much I can
do about it except have the "feel cool that I have the official
low-resolution scan watermarked with my name"-feeling.
[14:54.48] <stassats> Quadrescence: you could contact me, i
would scan clhs and add watermarks for only 20$</em>


4 comments to The Official ANSI Common Lisp Standard

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