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Re: Brand new clojure support in Emacs ;-)

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Brand new clojure support in Emacs ;-)
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2023 20:28:26 -0400

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When I said we should aim to have a Clojure mode that is part of
Emacs, following the naming convention `clojure-mode', that's not a
100% firm and fixed decision, but it's close to that.

I'd like to explain again the reason we have NonGNU ELPA and what
purpose it serves, and its contrast with GNU ELPA.

GNU ELPA packages are part of GNU Emacs.  We deal with them like the
rest of GNU Emacs.  However, they are _distibuted_ differently in a
limited practical sense.  Because the only difference is the matter of
how to distribute them, we can move them between GNU ELPA and core
Emacs based on convenience.

After we had GNU ELPA running, we set up NonGNU ELPA to distribute
packages which are very clearly NOT part of GNU Emacs.  That is what
NonGNU ELPA is for.

That distinction is important legally and in terms of development.  We
don't normally maintain those packages at all -- they are developed by
others and normally we leave that to them (though we ask them to agree
to follow a few limited rules so that they don't cause practical

NonGNU ELPA is meant for packages that are useful for some Emacs users
but not crucial or important.  That being so, it is fine to leave
those packages to their developers -- even if they don't make the very
best choices, it is no biggie, it is still ok.

There are lots of packages which fit fine in NonGNU ELPA and we are
generally happy to keep them there.  They remain nice add-ons but not

However, when a package gets to be _important_ somehow in the context of
Emacs, then it doesn't fit there well any more.  For instance,

* We want to include it in core Emacs so every user has it.

* We want to recommend it specifically to Emacs users.

* We may even want to document it in the Emacs manual.

We must not do this with a NonGNU ELPA package because it is not a
part of Emacs.  We must not treat it as one.  But we might find it
very desirable to have such a package as part of GNU Emacs.  That's a
situation we occasionally get into.

Clojure mode is an example.  We should have a Clojure mode that is
part of GNU Emacs.  It is a problem if we find that path blocked.

There are many packages included in core Emacs, or in GNU ELPA, which
continue to be developed and maintained by a certain group of people.
Occasionally we have a discussion with them about how address some
issue within Emacs.  But they are capable, so most of the issues they
encounter don't require a discussion like that.  They simply solve the

Dr Richard Stallman (https://stallman.org)
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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