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Re: Differences between Elisp and Lisp

From: Friedrich Dominicus
Subject: Re: Differences between Elisp and Lisp
Date: 29 Apr 2003 12:22:58 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) XEmacs/21.4 (Native Windows TTY Support)

"Daniel R. Anderson" <address@hidden> writes:

> On there is a "wish list".  Quite a few people want emacs
> to be based on another version of LISP.  Out of curiosity, what is it
> that makes elisp inherently bad, or why would people want it to be
> changed?
Uh oh, Flamewar alert ;-)

Oh no, I can' resist. Well saying elisp is inherently bad is way too
strong, anyway elisp was and partly is weak in the following areas.
- Datastructures (yes I know defstruct does exist and as eieio does
exist too.). If you look a bit through Emacs Lisp code than you'll see
that nearly every package goes through Lists.... 
- missing package system (everyone who write a package prefix his/her
stuff with some prefix..., what makes up for some sort of package)
- dynamically scoped (no "real closures", other may see this as an
- without the cl-package Emacs Lisp would really be uncomplete ...

Now what would we gain with something else?
Depenps on what we choose, IMHO nothing is better for extensions than
some Lisp Dialect, having the ability to write macros seems to be very
good do have for an Editor.

Now what would I prefer?
I would prefer having based Emacs on Common Lisp. I tend to think that
structuring the code in-the-large on CLOS would make for an
exceptional framework for any kine of text processing, well it would
be a very large framework that's for sure, therefor learning it would
be not an easy task but it would be way easier than having what we
have a the moment. I tend to think that with CLOS code duplication
would be much lowered. 

Anyway let's see the fact. I bet the code base from Emacs Lisp is one
of the larget around and Emacs does help much to find one's way
through it's API. There's hardly anything which Emacs can't do, and
all is available for your own tools too. Thousans of man years of
development has been carried out with Emacs Lisp, if something new
comes along which has to do with handling text, sooner than latter
Emacs will capable of doing it too. 

Emacs is really a miracle....


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