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Re: Roadmap and goals?

From: Rob Browning
Subject: Re: Roadmap and goals?
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 10:14:58 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.090006 (Oort Gnus v0.06) Emacs/21.2 (i386-debian-linux-gnu)

(including guile-user since a copy was posted there too)

Nicolas Neuss <address@hidden> writes:

> Unfortunately, all those goals are very questionable.  First, non-lisp
> languages get more and more of Lisp's capabilities[1] and the
> advantage is not large any more, especially for the spartanic Scheme
> branch.

Even if that were true, to me that's a little like saying that there's
no reason Perl programmers shouldn't switch to Python, or Tcl to Perl,
or ... since they can do roughly the same things (presuming the
languages in question can do mostly the same things).

>  Second, my guess is that most applications are written within one
> language, because maintaining the interface between two languages is
> a problem.

Could be, and it deppends on what you mean bu "written within" but to
me the Gimp, Guppi, Gnucash, Emacs, snd, and Gnumeric are notable

> Third, replacing Elisp with Common Lisp would probably be both
> easier and better (but is still difficult, see below).

I haven't checked, but I'd be a little concerned about size.  Last CL
implementation I looked at in much detail was quite large, but perhaps
that's not true anymore.

> Fourth, more liberal licenses than the GPL (e.g. some BSD license)
> or GPLed software not maintained by the FSF is also a nice thing[2].

Not sure if you know, but Guile's license has changed, it's no longer
covered under the GPL alone, there's an exception clause that allows
it to be linked against other applications without causing them to
automatically be covered under the GPL.  See the Guile copyright for
the precise terms.

> Fifth, emulating languages in an integrating way is easy to say, but
> difficult to work out (this is proved by Guile not emulating one
> single other language in a reasonable way).

I consider this an open question -- guile may or may not ever end up
emulating a large number of languages other than elisp, but after the
recent work, I do have reasonable hope for elisp.  <shrug>, we'll see.

> [2] It seems that while the GNU system being under the GPL is
>     certainly achievable, it does not really work that the FSF is the
>     copyright hodler of all essential parts.  This goal should be
>     abandoned.

I can't speak for RMS, but based on my experience, this is a
non-starter, and now that I understand the issues and have seen the US
legal system in action, I can understand the reasoning.

> [4] IMHO, it is a terrible nonsense that people work on so many Scheme
>     implementations in parallel, only to feed the egos of their
>     respective leaders.

You and me both -- what other possible reason could people have for
working on anything but Guile? ;>

Rob Browning
rlb,, and
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