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Re: Emacs and Guile (was: GSoC projects related to Emacs)

From: Ken Raeburn
Subject: Re: Emacs and Guile (was: GSoC projects related to Emacs)
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 05:34:08 -0400

On Apr 10, 2012, at 03:09, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
>> From: Leo <address@hidden>
>> Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2012 11:36:05 +0800
>> On 2012-04-10 06:28 +0800, Bastien wrote:
>>> ,----[ Guile-Emacs ]
>>> | 
>>> | Use libguile as the basis for Emacs's Lisp implementation and begin
>>> | replacing the Elisp interpreter with Guile
>>> | 
>>> | 
>>> http://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/proposal/review/google/gsoc2012/bpt/23002
>>> `----
>> I am looking forward to this ;)
> I don't.
> FWIW, my (admittedly short) experience with Guile is that it is not
> reliable or stable on anything but GNU/Linux, and even there it has
> much to catch up.  It has a lot to gain in terms of portability before
> it can be considered seriously as an alternative to ELisp, or even its
> sibling on equal rights.

My position (when I had time to work on Guilemacs) was always that the work 
should be done to make this plugging together *possible*, and then we should 
see where things stand.  Emacs would bring a *huge* audience to Guile, for 
better or worse, and would possibly shine lights on various areas where Guile 
might not have the support that a (certain, high-profile) real-world 
application with particular demands might need.  That doesn't mean it can't be 
added… though, that circles back to concerns the maturity and stability of 
Guile and its interfaces.  I don't think I ever saw it as less than a 
multi-year project overall (even assuming I kept working on the Emacs bits and 
Guile folks worked on the related Guile aspects all that time).  Which is why I 
also figured on aiming for an Emacs code base that could be configured to use 
Guile or to run standalone as a transitional phase -- something that could be 
at least partly kept merged with upstream Emacs to keep the divergence 

I also figured getting Guile to actually do ELisp interpretation would come 
late if at all, but some pretty exciting work has been done in that area 

I do think something can be gotten up and running in a few months time.  I did 
it, many years ago, though it was pretty hackish and limped more than it ran, 
but I identified a few bits of low-level abstraction that would help in the 
process and pushed them into the Emacs source base.  So hopefully the second 
time around it's a little easier.  But that's only the start of getting some 
possible future release of Emacs to be Guile-based.  There's portability, 
performance, packaging and installation, transition issues, figuring out how to 
handle the new Guile features (threads!), licensing arguments perhaps -- and, 
of course, convincing various people on this list that maybe it's an okay idea 
after all. :-)

In any case, I'm excited to see how this project goes.


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