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Re: LIST-LENGTH & circular lists

This page is part of the web mail archives of SRFI 1 from before July 7th, 2015. The new archives for SRFI 1 contain all messages, not just those from before July 7th, 2015.


After some reflection back when all this discussion happened the first time
around, I came to the conclusion that this whole notion of "number of elts"
was not a good one.

See, what is the difference between a "3-element" circular list 
    (1 7 2 1 7 2 ...)
and a "six element" circular list
    (1 7 2 1 7 2 ...)
The difference comes when you start side-effecting the list or its elements.
Barring side-effects, *you can't observe any differences*. So they are the
same list, if you live in a pure-functional world.

I'm not opposed to some sort of lower-level utility that exposes the 
underlying structure of the list, but we should keep the levels clear.
So you would want to give such a utility a distinct name, like
    (circular-list-number-of-elements l) -> integer
    (circular-list-number-of-pairs l) -> integer
Note that I avoided the term "length" in the name.

I also think it's probably not so useful as to warrant inclusion in a
general list library.