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Re: Emacs design and architecture (was: Shrinking the C core)

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Emacs design and architecture (was: Shrinking the C core)
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2023 16:00:38 +0300

> From: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@gmail.com>
> Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2023 07:31:35 -0400
> Cc: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>, incal@dataswamp.org, emacs-devel 
> <emacs-devel@gnu.org>
>  If Emacs will ever be "rewritten", it will not be Emacs, but a
>  text-processing system with a very different architecture and design,
>  which will take from the Emacs experience the lessons we learned and
>  implement them differently, to produce a system whose starting point
>  is closer to the needs of today's users and whose main technologies
>  are more modern from the get-go.
> It sounds like you have some specific ideas.  I wouldn't mind hearing them at 
> more length.

They are all well known.  And they aren't ideas, just main design
features of Emacs which we found restrictive in some aspects:

  . "buffer with gap" for storing buffer text
  . "mark and sweep" GC
  . basic single-threaded MVC architecture
  . display engine design around the rectangular canvas model and
    on-the-fly layout decisions

> My understanding is the design is deliberately kept simple (or "simple") to 
> make it accessible to
> more programmers.  

Richard will tell, but I don't think this goal was ever of high
priority, back when Emacs was still being designed.

> Instead of discussing porting emacs to CL,  why don't people work on porting 
> the compiler
> techniques used in CL to emacs?  

Well, native-compilation is one step in that direction.  We've been
discussing something like that for many years, and we even tried a
couple of approaches (which didn't work).  Native compilation is the
first successful experiment in that direction.  Working on making the
native code more efficient is definitely encouraged.

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