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finding/installing elisp: a whine


From: Tom Roche
Subject: finding/installing elisp: a whine
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 13:49:01 -0500 (EST)

"Stefan Monnier <address@hidden>" writes to help-gnu-emacs:
>>> In any case, as far as packaging is concerned, I'd be (obviously)
>>> more interested in an extension of my `install.el'.

Miles Bader <address@hidden> 06 Nov 2001 10:03:16 +0900
>> Where is this described?

Tom Roche <address@hidden> Tue, 06 Nov 2001 12:24:10 -0500
> I was able to find it in gnu.emacs.sources, also at the
> astonishingly long URI

<snip>

> It would be nicer if there was a central repository for elisp,
> e.g. to elisp as CPAN is for Perl.

Apologies for "beating this drum" again: I have previously posted
regarding this at

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ntemacs-users/message/12360

But for now, I'm wondering: where is "_the_ elisp archive"? I'm aware
of various attempts to provide such a service, e.g. Ohio State, ELL,
emacslisp.org, lispmeralda.org, and the LCD. My belief, based on the
FAQ mirrored at

http://www.lerner.co.il/emacs/faq_8.html#SEC97

to which 

http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/#FindingPackages

at least at the moment points, is that one should use the Lisp Code
Directory (at emacs.org) to browse/search for elisp, and then get it
from the Emacs Lisp Archive (at Ohio State). However, this seems to me

* unreliable. I have noticed both emacs.org and
  archive.cis.ohio-state.edu/pub/emacs-lisp/ to be often down (as
  opposed to merely unavailable). Is this only my experience? I notice

http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/#FindingPackages
> The first place to start looking for elisp packages is at the Emacs
> Lisp archive,

  This points to 

  ftp://ftp.emacs.org/pub

  for which I get "Connection refused." Are there mirrors? All I see
  at http://emacs.org/ is

> Emacs 21 was released today, October 23. (freshmeat) 
> emacs.org has been down for didactic purposes, don't panic. 
> hey, nntp://comp.emacs, I still love you people. 

* unnecessarily fragmented. Why can't browsing, searching, and
  downloading be available from one site, or rather a single network
  of mirrors?

IMHO this compares unfavorably with CPAN. Could we not have such a
single networked archive available from, e.g.

https://savannah.gnu.org/projects/emacs/

? And, of course, packaging and installation remains primitive.
Monnier's install.el is a start:

> The intention of install.el is to allow people to install elisp
> packages by simply saying M-x install-file RET /foo/bar/baz RET.

> Nothing very new here. XEmacs package manager has done it for years.
> The difference is that install.el comes with no documentation and
> provides almost no functionality.

> Another differences is that it should work with *any* elisp package.
> But right now it only works with single-file packages (i.e. .el
> files), which means that the interesting part of "any" is still left
> as an exercise for the reader.

> So all it does (as you can see by reading the very short source
> code) is copy the current buffer to some user's directory,
> byte-compile it, copy the autoloaded statements to a "loaddefs.el"
> file and add a line to your .emacs to load that loaddefs.el at
> startup.

Why not a packaging project? Why not a unified browse/install
interface, a la

perl -MCPAN -e shell

(just as an example)?

IMHO GNU emacs would gain a lot of users/mindshare if elisp packages
were as easy to find and install as are those of other major software
communities. Unfortunately most of those users would be as lacking in
code chops as is

yr humble servant, address@hidden </whine>



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