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Re: Off Topic (was: bug#31544)

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Off Topic (was: bug#31544)
Date: Thu, 24 May 2018 16:35:34 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.9.4 (2018-02-28)

Hello, Richard.

On Wed, May 23, 2018 at 22:48:59 -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

>   > > We have such things but we haven't adopted any of them in Emacs itself.

>   > Doesn't rx.el qualify?

> It's an example of what I said.  We have it, but we don't actually use it
> much if at all.  This suggests to me that it has drawbacks which prevent
> it from being clearly superior.

rx.el uses a wordy syntax, somewhat analagously to Cobol 50 years ago.
Its premiss is that it's the terse, dense, austere characters which make
a regexp difficult to write and read.  I would suggest that it's more
the abstract concepts which cause beginners difficulties, rather than
the syntax.  This was true of Cobol 50 years ago, and I think it's
always been the case with regexps.

That said, rx.el is used ~72 times in 19 files.el in Emacs, so somebody
likes it.

> If someone comes up with a replacement syntax that reduces the drawbacks,
> we might start using it all the time.

I don't think this will happen.  At least, I hope not.  ;-)

> -- 
> Dr Richard Stallman
> President, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org)
> Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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