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Re: Shrinking the C core

From: Christopher Dimech
Subject: Re: Shrinking the C core
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2023 02:03:44 +0200

> Sent: Friday, August 11, 2023 at 11:49 AM
> From: "Eric S. Raymond" <esr@thyrsus.com>
> To: "Eli Zaretskii" <eliz@gnu.org>
> Cc: luangruo@yahoo.com, emacs-devel@gnu.org
> Subject: Re: Shrinking the C core
> Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org>:
> > What's more, Emacs is still a single-threaded Lisp machine, although
> > in the last 10 years CPU power develops more and more in the direction
> > of multiple cores and execution units, with single execution units
> > being basically as fast (or as slow) today as they were a decade ago.
> Yeah, I've been thinking hard about that single-threadedness in the
> last couple of weeks.  I have a design sketch in my head for a
> re-partitioning of Emacs into a front-end/back-end pair communicating
> via sockets, with the back end designed to handle multiple socket
> sessions for collaborative editing. (No, this isn't my big secret idea,
> it's something I think should be done *along with* my big secret idea.)
> For this to work, a lot of what is now global state would need to be
> captured into a structure associated with each socket session.  I notice
> that it's difficult to find an obviously correct cut line between what
> the session structure should own and what still needs to be shared state;
> like, *some* keymaps definitely need to be session and buffers still need
> to be shared, but what about the buffer's mode set and mode-specific kemaps?
> Or marks?  Or overlays?
> This is a difficult design problem because of some inherent features
> of the Emacs Lisp language model.  I did not fail to notice that those
> same features would make exploiting concurrency difficult even in the
> present single-user-only implementation.  It is unclear what
> could be done to fix this without significant language changes.
> > And if these theoretical arguments don't convince you, then there are
> > facts: the Emacs display engine, for example, was completely rewritten
> > since the 1990s, and is significantly more expensive than the old one
> > (because it lifts several of the gravest limitations of the old
> > redisplay).  Similarly with some other core parts and internals.
> Are you seriously to trying to tell me that the display engine rewrite ate
> *three orders of magnitude* in machine-speed gains?  No sale.  I have
> some idea of the amount of talent on the devteam and I plain do not
> believe y'all are that incompetent.
> > We found this conclusion to be false in practice, at least in Emacs
> > practice.
> I'm not persuaded, because your causal account doesn't pass my smell
> test. I think you're misdiagnosing the performance problems through
> being too close to them. It would take actual benchmark figures to
> persuade me that Lisp interpretive overhead is the actual culprit.
> Your project, your choices. But I have a combination of experience
> with the code going back nearly to its origins with an outside view of
> its present strate, and I think you're seeing your own assumptions
> about performance lag reflected back at you more than the reality.
> > Please be more patient,
> That *was* patient.

> I didn't aim for his head until the *second* time he poked me. :-)

Good you're not a general in a battlefield !  I don't have such rules of 
Did you know that there are tribes in the Amazon River Basin who simply kill
you if they see you ?

> I'll stop trying to make preparatory changes.  If I can allocate
> enough bandwidth for the conversation, I may try on a couple of
> hopefully thought-provoling design questions.
> --
>               <a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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