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Re: Emacs design and architecture

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Emacs design and architecture
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2023 19:14:31 -0400

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  > Wasm or JS, with this approach it seems like we'd need to compile Lisp 
  > to JS/WA, or use FFI, or (probably) both.

You're proposing to evaluate issues by technical criteria alone.
This decision has implications about freedom -- and danger to it.
That has to be the principal basis for deciding.

In this question, we have to compare JavaScript with Emavcs Lisp in
regards to the likely seepage of nonfree software into use of Emacs.

It is possible to release a nonfree program in Emacs Lisp, especially
if it uses only the documented Emacs Lisp interfaces.  But there is no
widespread practice of doing so, so in practice that is not a
significanmt problem as far as I have heard.

By contrast, the web is crawling with nonfree JavaScript programs and
most internet users run them unaware of the issue they raise, or even
that they are downloading them.  Anything that GNU software does with
JavaScript is a potential problem for achieving the GNU system's goal:
giving users freedom.  GNU won't achieve that if normal use of GNU
programs invites use of nonfree JavaScript.

Therefore, any plan to make GNU software relate more often to
JavaScript needs to be scrutinized above all in terms of the possible
danger.  In GNU, freedom for the users (which includes us developers)
is the first priority.

There is also a technical reason why effectively combining Emacs with
the LibreOffice code is not a good idea.  It would make a large,
confusing hybrid mess.  To debug it would require knowing more

Some of the methods implemented in LibreOffice may be useful for
Emacs, so we should choose the useful ones and adapt them to the
context of Emacs.  And keep it customizable in Emacs Lisp.

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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