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Re: [O] Org without Emacs?

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: [O] Org without Emacs?
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:42:47 +1100

Just FYI, at least 1 of the org-mode extensions (there are a number) for Visual Source Code is licensed under the GPL. So while VS code may not be 'free' in the GNU sense, at least some of the extensions that can be used with it are. 

I personally don't see any threat to Emacs Org mode by any of the non-free clones, such as beorg. I doubt there is anything which could be implemented in one of these non-free versions which was of use to Emacs org mode tht we could not re-implement - they would have a tough time try8ing to argue that it was original work and attempt to stop an elisp version. 

Of course, this says nothing about the ethical position associated with re-implementing functionality from a GPL'd sysem under a non-free license. We can hope people do the right thing, but have no control to enforce it. I also doubt it will cause any fracture in the org user community - the bottom line is most of use came to org because of Emacs. These other systems don't have Emacs and therefore are really only a pale imitation. . 

On Tue, 29 Jan 2019 at 15:06, Scott Randby <address@hidden> wrote:
On 1/28/19 4:13 PM, Tim Cross wrote:
> As org is implemented in elisp, there are only two options for
> implementing org outside of emacs
> 1. Implement a full elisp runtime in the alternative envrionment
> 2. Re-implement org functionality in a different language and runtime.
> I think 1 is extremely unlikely, with the possible exception of things
> like https://github.com/Wilfred/remacs, which is a re-implementation of
> Emacs.
> Alternative 2 is more likely and to some extent has been done with
> things like beorg and Visual Source Code, which has an extension with
> some (minimal) org support.

It is great that people want to implement Org functionality into other software, but the issue I have with beorg and Visual Source Code is that neither is free software. In the case of beorg, Org is mentioned repeatedly on its website as an inspiration, but what is the contribution of the beorg developers back to the Org community? The central feature of Org is that it is free software. In my view, non-free products like beorg are fundamentally broken.

> The problem with re-implementation is that there is a lot of core
> functionality built into emacs which is not found in most other
> runtimes. Much of what Org does is really take existing Emacs
> functionality and wrap it together in a more convenient and consistent
> bundle. In other systems, much of this functionality would need to be
> implemented from scratch, which would be a non-trivial task. In
> addition, keep pace with org development will be difficult for these
> clones.

I agree with this completely.

> I expect we will see some of Org's functionality implemented in other
> environments, but are unlikely to see a fully compatible and feature
> rich version on any other platform. Most likely, we will see some core
> ideas make their way into other environments, but they won't be Org mode
> - they will be something different which owes much of the inspiration to
> Org mode.
> If we are lucky, we may see some new good ideas in these other systems
> which could be added to Org itself to make it even greater, otherwise
> such ports are unlikely to be of any real interest/use to Emacs Org
> users.

It would be wonderful to see new good ideas implemented in other systems, but in the case of proprietary software like beorg or Visual Source Code, their non-free nature makes it risky to re-implement in Org any new ideas they use (if they ever use any). I hope all the new good ideas for Org first exist as free software. That seems likely given the pace at which Org develops and the vitality of the Org community.




Tim Cross

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