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RE: "Bringing GNU Emacs to Native Code" at the European Lisp Symposium

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: "Bringing GNU Emacs to Native Code" at the European Lisp Symposium
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 12:29:29 -0700 (PDT)

>>> As the reference in the previous phrase explains
>>> this is just about what we control in Emacs with
>>> the `lexical-binding' variable.

>> A suggestion would be to be explicit about this
>> in the future - or else explain the phrase.
> I was referring to the phrase just before the
> one we are discussing:
> "We point out that, since Emacs Lisp received in
> 2012 lexical scope support, two different
> sub-languages are currently coexisting [15, Sec. 8.1]."

I see, thanks.  So a reader who consults Sect 8.1
of that paper by Stefan will learn that he uses
the values of variable `lexical-binding' to define
two Elisp sub-languages.

Yes, that's certainly a complete reference.  But
that's not what I meant by suggesting to be
explicit about what you mean by the lexical Elisp
dialect, i.e., that you are, in effect, using
variable `lexical-binding' to define two dialects.

It's a lot clearer to just say that your work
assumes a non-nil value of that variable (and
there's nothing wrong with that), than it is to
either (1) hope that someone guesses what you
mean by the lexical Elisp dialect or (2) expect
that a reader will consult Sect 8.1 of Stefan's
paper and figure out what you mean from that.

> > I personally think the phrase used is confusing,
> > and perhaps misleading.  Yes, one could argue
> > that variable `lexical-binding' kind of splits
> > Elisp currently into two languages.  But that's
> > not a usual way of looking at it, and it's not
> > the way that Emacs talks about itself.
> I agree with you that could have been stated more
> clearly without assuming the user had visited the
> reference (this is not a correct assumption).

No problem.  Hindsight's 20-20.  And perhaps
you thought that it's common to speak of such
Elisp dialects?  That might be a reasonable
assumption from reading Stefan's paper.  Now
you know that there's at least one Elisp user
who misunderstood.

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