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Re: Need general info on common lisp, opinions sought

From: Marco Antoniotti
Subject: Re: Need general info on common lisp, opinions sought
Date: 03 Oct 2002 12:59:08 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2 (gnuist) writes:

> Is it good to have the following line in .emacs file?
> (require 'cl)

I have it, although I think to remember that RMS disagrees.
If you are using some (X)Emacs packages you are bound to get a
top-level (require 'cl) anyway,  so I would not worry too much.

> Is it going to cause any tradeoff or only pure additions?

Mostly pure additions.  It definitively helps in the construction of
packages.  E.g. ELisp does not have `defstruct': you get that with the
CL package.

> How is common lisp different from emacs lisp?

There is one fundamental difference and a lot of big, yet not so
fundamental ones IMHO.  The main one is that CL is "statically
scoped", ELisp is "dynamically scoped".

Other differences are

CL has packages (read "modules" or "namespaces" - somethign that was
somewhat re-invented for Guile).

CL is "general purpose".  ELisp is "general purpose within the
confines of (X)Emacs" (of course (X)Emacs is the "total application",
but that is another story).

CL has provision for very efficient numerics and it is compiled to
native assembly on your machine.

> Where is the documentation on linux system?

`C-h i' is your friend :)  For CL start off at

> Is it more than it or less than emacs lisp?

They serve different purposes.  If you need to extend (X)Emacs then
you should go with it.  If you need to do more generic programming
which required speed, then you should go with CL.

> Which should I use and why? I need info on people's taste on this
> subject.

They serve different purposes.  ELisp and CL are very simular.  If you
put (require 'cl) in your .emacs file, then you can write code that is
very much like CL code. Of course YMMV.

> Opinions sought!

As long as you know mine are worth only .02E :)


Marco Antoniotti ========================================================
NYU Courant Bioinformatics Group        tel. +1 - 212 - 998 3488
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                    "Hello New York! We'll do what we can!"
                           Bill Murray in `Ghostbusters'.

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