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Re: Futile bug reports?

From: Kevin Gallagher
Subject: Re: Futile bug reports?
Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 01:33:02 -0500

Bill Richter wrote:

> If someone gets interested in Emacs Lisp, I'll tell them they should
> read a Scheme book like SICP by Abelson or `How to Design Programs' by
> Felleisen, and then the Emacs Lisp reference manual will make sense to
> them.  I can't see how anyone could understand the Emacs Lisp
> reference manual without having prior knowledge of Scheme/Lisp.

Looking at a Scheme book is not necessary.  I always point them
to the Emacs Lisp reference manual and lots of example code.
When I first cut my teeth on Emacs Lisp, I knew nothing
about Lisp and didn't even know of the existence of Scheme.  What's
more, the Emacs Lisp reference manual I had, at the time, was only an
early draft with lots of chapters incomplete or missing (they hadn't been
written).  After a couple of days or reading .el files and looking things
up in the manual while struggling to design and write Emacs Lisp code,
it mostly started to make sense.  I find most other programmers quickly
catch on, if they are motivated enough.

Today, the Emacs Lisp reference manual is really quite good and useful.
(It still suffers from a lack of non-trivial examples within its pages, I
admit.  But the wealth of available source code to look at makes up for

I still know nothing about Scheme and very little about what's unique to
Common Lisp.

> Or even more obvious, the Gcc manual won't do you any good if you
> don't already know C, and there are only proprietary C books out
> there.

The GCC manual is a compiler manual, not a programming book.  You
are comparing apples and oranges here.

> If manuals means books that e.g. compete with the Emacs manual or the
> Emacs Lisp reference manual, then I'm all for not mentioning such
> manuals on GNU mailing lists, because these competing manuals cut into
> sorely needed funds for the FSF.

Now you are talking about apples and apples, with respect to the content
of the proprietary vs free manuals.

> I don't see this as an issue of proprietary vs. free books, though.

Well, perhaps you meant to say that you don't agree that one should be
an issue of proprietary vs. free books.  That's your right, but proprietary
free books is precisely the issue under discussion in this thread.

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