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RE: CommonLisp namespace system (was Re: adding namespaces to emacs-lisp

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: CommonLisp namespace system (was Re: adding namespaces to emacs-lisp (better elisp?))
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2013 11:53:52 -0700 (PDT)

> >> In Emacs world, we use "package" to mean something different from what
> >> CL "package" means.
> >
> > That's a very recent introduction to the "Emacs world".  Hardly much of
> > a precedent.  "In [the] Emacs world" is a pretty bold way of describing
> > something we just introduced, as if it were essential to what Emacs Lisp
> > has always been.  It is a recent add-on - a welcome one, but hardly core.
> As a developer of Emacs Lisp extensions, I consider package.el a core
> addon, no matter how old it is.  I think it's the only more or less
> sane and comfortable way to distribute Emacs Lisp code, and I see it
> being used by many Emacs Lisp developers as primary distribution
> channel for their libraries.
> Imho, adding package.el to Emacs has boosted the productivity of the
> Emacs community more than any past attempt to make Emacs Lisp more
> Common Lisp.

Don't waste your breath lauding package.el.  No one said the slightest
thing against the addition of package.el to Emacs.  Quite the contrary.
I was clear that it is a welcome addition.

And it would be just as welcome if what it calls "package" were called
something else.  The question raised was only wrt the terminology to use,
if we add namespace support to Emacs Lisp.  IMO, we should use the same
terminology that Common Lisp uses, especially if what we implement in
this regard is reasonably close to the Common Lisp package system.

Just as we call an obarray an obarray, we should call something close to
a Common Lisp package a package.  Yes, that would mean changing the
terminology we introduced recently with package.el.  Too bad.

> > And the question here is not about abandoning package.el etc.  It is
> > about the terminology: "package".  Who heard of Emacs "packages" a few
> > years ago?  Contrast that with who had heard of Common Lisp "packages".
> That's a bold saying, too.  I doubt that even Common Lisp itself has
> much relevance to many Emacs users.  I doubt even that it's known to
> many.

Counting among "Emacs users" for such things would be quite misleading
indeed.  Counting among Emacs Lisp users would be more relevant.

And if some Emacs Lisp users have no knowledge of the existence of Common
Lisp then it is truly too bad for them.  IMO, other things being equal,
Common Lisp should be a model toward which Emacs Lisp aims.

As Stefan put it: "all else being equal, it's better to do the same as
Common-Lisp (or as Scheme) than to invent our own."

(I would drop the "(or as Scheme)" for cases where that would conflict
with Common Lisp.  But otherwise, sure: or as Scheme.)

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