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Re: Minimal Guile

From: Noah Lavine
Subject: Re: Minimal Guile
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 17:32:04 -0500

This is an interesting point.

I was thinking about it though, and I think there is another thing
that is causing a lot of this "bloat": all of the Scheme modules we
are adding.

There is a tension here, because having lots of modules is very
important for using Guile as a language to write programs in. But when
it is used as an extension to other languages, most of them are not
useful. So if I were dreaming and not thinking about how hard it is to
write code, I would get a system that lets me pick which modules I
want to distribute and bundle them up with libguile into a package
that can be distributed and built on its own.

This would also end up addressing some of your examples, if this
hypothetical packager grew the ability to know about C as well as
Scheme modules. Then it could automatically remove the C code that
implements functions that were not wanted.

This is just an idea, though. This seems like a huge pain to code.


On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 3:35 PM, Mike Gran <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi-
> I've been keeping up with some of the discussion on other gnu lists.
> One of the criticisms at the moment is that Guile is
> 1. bloated
> 2. hard to distribute.
> Re point 2: hard to distribute.
> A while ago I was looking at the idea of minimizing the number of
> files needed to ship Guile as a dependency.  At the time, I thought
> that one could retool the build so that it produced
> - a tar.gz of the distributable header files
> - libguile as a monolithic .so or .dll with no dependencies.
>   Dependencies would be wrapped into the monolithic .so or .dll.
> - all the compiled .go files as a tar file
> - and a Guile executable that used both of the above
> Guile and libguile would read the .go without unpacking the tar file
> by using libtar.
> There's no real advantage in this for the GNU system, but, it would
> make it easier to make a distributable cross-build for non-GNU
> systems.  This would make it easier to set up a download repository
> of prebuilt .so, .dll, and go-lib tar files.
> Re point 1: bloated
> Once the infrastructure for the above is in place, one could set
> up an alternate cross-build system that produced a version of
> Guile that is
> - ASCII only, "C" locale only
> - Fixnum integers only
> - No ability to load ltdl or ffi
> - no ability to use whatever libcrypt is used for
> This would be for the purpose of being a minimalist extension
> engine.
> What do you think?
> -Mike Gran

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