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RE: CL package serious deficiencies

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: CL package serious deficiencies
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2012 13:53:22 -0800

> Elisp is not Common-Lisp.  CL does try to provide some CL-style
> functionality, but indeed it has some rough edges in this 
> regard.  It is much better to look at it as a handy toolbox,
> whose design was inspired by the experience of Common-Lisp,
> than to look at it as a "Common-Lisp compatibility layer".

I have to agree that that is the case.  And that is the right way to look at
things, in the current state.

> The points you raise sound like bugs indeed.  We welcome 
> patches to fix them, but I personally won't spend much time
> tracking those bugs down, because my experience with this
> part of CL is that it's not always easy to dig into it
> (it's *very* lightly commented for one, and parts of it
> are fundamentally broken).

Some comments.

1. I don't blame you or others for not wanting to spend much time on such
things.  Everyone who contributes is a volunteer.

2. There are lots of people who use cl.el.  There are even lots of people who
systematically write libraries that depend on cl.el functions at runtime (not
just macros at compile time).  Unfortunately.  My impression is that this might
be increasingly the case, and that perhaps younger or newer Emacs users are more
likely to do so.

3. I think that it would be good to make fixing more of such bugs and lacunae a
higher Emacs Dev priority.  Such development does not implement a sexy new
feature, but it is worthwhile, I think.  

4. And yes, it's non-trivial work to get things right.  If you, Stefan, find the
existing code too lightly commented and less than clear, then it should be
evident that others will too.  For progress to be made here there would, IMO,
need to be some commitment from people like you.  But maybe I'm wrong and all it
will take is some new, bright volunteer lurking on the list and waiting for an
opportunity to make a difference. ;-)

5. IMO it makes sense to proceed gradually, and to start by including more of
the simpler things that do work well, even if in a limited way, into regular
Emacs Lisp.

6. We've been through this (#5) before.  Candidate functions have been nominated
and discussed.  Some people have longer wishlists of functions than others.  But
little to nothing comes of it.  Dommage, IMO.

Just one opinion.  And I probably will not follow up with more discussion, which
is likely to go nowhere again.

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