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RE: e and pi

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: e and pi
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 15:55:09 -0700

> > why does the constant e exist in the first place?
> Beats me: it's only used at one place in emacs/lisp.
> But that's what we have to live with,

Why?  This seems like a good case for turning the page if there ever was one.

These names never should have been used for global constants.  Pretty much
everyone agrees with that and has agreed for a long time.  This has only caused
problems/confusion.  It will continue to do so.  There is no good reason not to
get rid of this now.

Any code that wants to use a shorter name can bind one locally to the new, more
verbose name.  No big deal.

And that includes any 3rd-party code that the change might break.  This is a
smaller break than many that you guys effect from time to time.  Just do it and
don't look back.

The following 2007 thread is enlightening.  See what you all said 3 years ago.
;-) -

But for some reason, that Web page only shows a small part of the thread (a
bug?).  This link shows some more:

To get all of the thread you probably need to look at a Date sort:

FWIW - what I suggested way back then for `e':

> `numeric-constant-e', and adopt that (or similar) as the
> convention for numeric constants: `numeric-constant-pi', etc.
> However, I still prefer, in descending order or preference:
> 1. (exp 1) ; that is, drop the variable altogether
> 2. (e); that is, make it a function that does (exp 1) or
>    picks up the memoized value after doing (exp 1 once).

And to Eli's (2007) complaint that he wants the convenience of just typing `e':

EZ> Please don't: I frequently use Emacs to calculate trigonometric
EZ> expression; typing these monster names would make it very hard
EZ> for me to do that.
> Very hard for you?  Make a local binding.  If you need a short
> name for interactive or local program use, define one.  I see no
> reason to dedicate `e' and `pi' for this uncommon use (uncommon
> in both Emacs-Lisp files and interactive Emacs use).

I still feel that's right: anyone or any library that wants to use a short name
can easily bind one.

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