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Vol.26 No.4

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archive/12/3

Volume 12, No.3

Editorial: The Place of APL

by Anthony Camacho, .

APL both is computing and is not computing. APL is also a British Limited Company. It is computing because it is in widespread commercial use, because without this use it would probably never have been developed and enhanced and because without the mechanism to execute it an executable imperative notation would be hobbled.

It is not computing because it was invented before it was thought that a computer might execute it, because it is a notation first and a programming language second and because its ethos and its practitioners don’t fit into the standard computing framework.

Your editor has, for years, advocated that the British APL Association should become an independent associate of the British Computer Society instead of a wholly owned subsidiary. Your editor reluctantly accepts that he has not carried the British APL Association with him.

In 1986 the Association agreed that your editor (then Hon Sec of the Association) should form a company called APL Projects Limited (APL for short!) which it was then hoped could then be commissioned to do all kinds of things for the Association. Not much came of it. The views of the Committee changed and APL was never commissioned to do anything. It is a dormant company and has never traded.

A use has arisen! Your editor understands that SigAPL will be unable to run APL96. The suggestion made in Vector that an independent international organisation be set up to manage APL conferences seems to be finding favour. APL Projects Limited will sell one share to each APL group that wants to join and will appoint a Director from among each of the groups – a nominated trusted APLer. The groups will then lend APL as much as each can afford to sponsor it to run APL 96.

The policy of the Directors of APL will be to run a profitable conference and to repay the loans as soon as the accounts have been approved. If it pays a dividend this will of course be an equal amount for each share but most of the profit would be retained so that next year less would have to be borrowed to mount the conference.

If your group likes the idea, or wants to make comments or suggestions about it, please contact the Chairman of APL96, Dieter Lattermann, <100332.1461@compuserve.com> or me (I will pass on messages). It is urgent!


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