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Re: Preview: portable dumper

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Preview: portable dumper
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:55:16 -0500

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  > Thanks for your efforts, but I think this is a wrong direction, that
  > will eventually get us into the same problem we have with unexec: the
  > need to know and depend on intimate details of relocations, memory
  > allocation, etc.

Maintaining the portable dumper will be far simpler than maintaining
unexec.  Unexec has to write a file in whatever format the system uses
for executables.  If that is ELF format, it is very complicated,
and it wasn't designed for this purpose.  It is necessary to copy
the material from the temacs executable, and modify it along the way.

All those problems will be absent for the portable dumper, which
will make its maintenance much easier.

                      On top of that, adding Lisp objects will now require
  > writing its dumper back-end, so this will be a constant maintenance
  > burden of the kind that only a few of us can bear.

Yes, but how often do we make such changes?  Once every few years,
I think.  And it won't be a big difficulty to do so, if the code of
the dumper is clean.  I am sure it will be a lot cleaner than the code
of unexec.

  > Making the initial load of preloaded Lisp files (most probably, a
  > single large file) fast enough to allow us to dump the dumping phase
  > altogether is a much more perspective direction.

I think this has its own difficulty -- the need to represent everything
in Lisp syntax.

I don't know a priori which one will be cleaner.  It would be good to
implement this alternative so we can compare them for real rather than
just in our imaginations.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (gnu.org, fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See stallman.org/skype.html.

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