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Re: elisp's cl package. Don't understand the notice about eval-when-comp


From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: elisp's cl package. Don't understand the notice about eval-when-compile
Date: Wed, 01 Apr 2009 10:01:56 +0900

"Thomas F. Burdick" <address@hidden> writes:
> If you just have an elisp package that you want to make publicly
> available, I see no need to avoid cl.el. It's distributed with emacs,
> so there's no reason not to use it. Just, stick to the tasteful
> parts :-)
...
> It's both. I think RMS has an irrational hatred of CL, so there are a
> lot of the useful things in cl.el that should have migrated into the
> core elisp. As it is, they're ghettoized along with the parts of that
> package that exist just as a crutch for Common Lispers.

The problem with cl.el is that it's a giant glutinous mess, that seems
to offer the vague promise to be kinda-like-common-lisp, but really
isn't (it can't be, the elisp core cannot support much of common-lisp
efficiently), and as a result is kind of misleading to users (especially
to common-lisp users, who might think "oh great, I can just use
common-lisp!" ... hahaha, sorry bub...).

I agree that many _parts_ of cl.el are quite good, and useful, but while
you may be able to pick and choose wisely, I think many users aren't as
skillful, and would end up using the horrible grotty bits as well -- and
we really don't want to increase the number of dependencies on horrible
grotty things.

Personally, I'd use a different tactic for addressing this problem --
I'd try to split out the useful parts into separate packages (maybe a
"setf" package, a "struct" package, a "sequence" package etc), and pull
the best and simplest bits into core elisp -- but rms's approach is at
least simple and easy.

[Maybe in the future, elisp will gain more features will allow it to
better implement some of the parts it now can't do very well (e.g.,
multiple return-values and keyword arguments), but for now that stuff is
just muck.]

-Miles

-- 
Brain, n. An apparatus with which we think we think.


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