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Re: Why not zlib-compress-region?

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Why not zlib-compress-region?
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:58:46 +0900

Eli Zaretskii writes:

 > Again, building GCC is not something an end user would easily consider
 > when all she needs is to be able to use some plugin.

For MacPorts and all end-user-oriented GNU/Linux distros I know of
there are binary packages for the C toolchain at least.  I know such
used to be available for AIX, HP/UX, SunOS and Solaris (which is now

I wonder how many systems that don't distribute a C compiler in the
base distribution distribute Emacs (which last I looked was not in the
same space as Adobe Acrobat, much less *Office)?  I suspect on most
such systems to use Emacs, you have to build it yourself.

 > > I have a bunch of them (three versions of GTK, two of libpng for
 > > example).  I don't notice it at all
 > I have more than "a bunch" of them, too.  This is not about you or me,
 > you know.

No, it's not.  My point is that to the extent I have those, I *don't*
deal with them, I let the PMS do it.

True, I'm not a typical end-user, but people on systems with a PMS are
surely as used to using the PMS to install "stuff" as Windows users
are used to downloading MSIs.

 > > Nonsense.  I do it about once a month, sometimes twice a week
 > > (automatically via Gentoo's Portage PMS, which always builds from
 > > source).
 > Again, this is not about you or me.

Again, from my point of view it's all hidden by the PMS.

It's just more *stuff* to install, and since in XEmacs's system it's
all done by a specialized compiler driver (distributed and built with
XEmacs) which knows about XEmacs's configuration, Emacs could use the
same technology and it's probably as easy as installing the C
toolchain with the PMS, firing up Emacs and running

(defun ffi-install-package (package)
  (interactive "sWhat package would you like to install? ")
  (ffi-install-download-source package)
  (ffi-install-check-dependencies package)
  (shell-command (format "cd %s; ./configure %s; make; make install"
                         (ffi-install-configure-options package))))

where `ffi-install-download-source', `ffi-install-check-dependencies',
and `ffi-install-configure-options' consult a database distributed
with Emacs and/or online at ELPA.  (XEmacs doesn't actually do this
because all loadable modules currently available for XEmacs are
distributed with XEmacs.  So if you configure --with-modules they get
built as part of the default make target, and installed as part of the
"install" target.)

Sure, a few people will be left out, but AFAICT it should be possible
for Emacs to build a binary distribution for Windows users, and
pretty much everybody else is able to fend for themselves.

I'm not arguing that this is *better* than something like a libffi
binding in LISP, just that it's clearly feasible, and unlikely to
leave even a large minority of users without support.


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