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Re: Emacs and Guile

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Emacs and Guile
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 10:29:26 +0300

> From: BT Templeton <address@hidden>
> Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 19:57:15 -0400
> Guile would need better Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS support before
> using Guile as the default Elisp implementation. But that's not a reason
> to delay work on Guile-Emacs for free systems.

Please don't make this a free vs non-free systems argument; it's not.
Please try to read the threads I pointed to as a sign of immaturity of
Guile on _any_ platform.  Otherwise, I will regret I ever spoke,
because nothing but flames will come out of this thread.

> In what respect does Guile need to catch up on GNU/Linux?

I gave one example: support for non-ASCII characters.  I have bad
feelings about a few others, but I think someone who knows Guile
better should look into this.  One area I'd love expert opinion is how
will Guile GC interact with Emacs memory management.

Anyway, I hope you are not saying that just GNU/Linux is enough for
serious use of Guile in Emacs.

> > To me, the failure to build in these cases is a clear sign of a
> > package that is not ready for prime time.
> ...on non-free, non-POSIX platforms, yes.

Not just.  One of the threads I pointed to clearly says that Guile is
being tested on 2 or 3 platforms.  That's way too few, IMO, and I
think it goes a long way towards explaining the problems.

> > Or consider Guile's support of non-ASCII characters, which relies on
> > libiconv with no additional features -- we cannot possibly consider
> > this complete enough to replace what we have in Emacs now.
> Fortunately, Guile doesn't need to immediately replace what Emacs has
> now. It's less elegant to make Elisp strings a separate type, and would
> make interaction with Scheme less pleasant, but for an experimental
> version it would be acceptable.

I disagree.  Strings are very fundamental to Emacs.  I don't see how
Guile can be basis for any significant feature in Emacs without
supporting the emacs-internal encoding of characters.  If I cannot
safely pass a string from Emacs to Guile and back, then the range of
possible Guile-based applications in Emacs is quite narrow, I'd say.

> >   http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guile-user/2012-01/msg00130.html
> I don't see the significance of this particular thread; it's a trivial
> problem that was quickly resolved.

The fact that this trivial problem was present is telltale, IMO.

There's some history behind it.  I was the one who bumped into that
problem as soon as I built Make with Guile on MS-Windows.  My first
thought was that something is wrong with the way I invoked Guile from
Make.  So I asked Paul Smith about this, and he said he didn't see
this problem, but the way I called a Guile function was correct.  I
next thought that my Guile build is botched in some fundamental way.
But then Paul tried Guile 2.x and hit the same problem.  So not only
there is a "trivial problem", but also there are still significant
changes between Guile 1.8 and 2.0.  These are all signs of immaturity

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