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Re: `woman' can't be used outside emacs?

From: Robert Thorpe
Subject: Re: `woman' can't be used outside emacs?
Date: 21 Dec 2006 09:40:10 -0800
User-agent: G2/1.0

Ronald wrote:
> Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> >> From: Ronald <address@hidden>
> >> Newsgroups:
> >> Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 17:31:25 +0800
> >>
> >> hope not...
> >
> > `woman' is an Emacs Lisp package, so it can only be used inside Emacs.
> Emacs tries to do almost everything when it is possible.
> I can't understand why it does this way.

One of the reasons is that it's old.  In the past there weren't many
mail programs/news programs etc.  Writing them within Emacs was useful
because it made them portable to fairly much all the system that Emacs
worked on.

Another reason is that once features have been written into Emacs
there's little reason to ditch them.  The autoload system ensures that
they don't make Emacs any bigger or slower, and the way lisp works
ensure that any bugs they contain are very unlikely to affect other
parts of Emacs.

I think that some of these auxilliary bits of Emacs are useful and some
aren't.  I ignore the ones I don't like and use the ones I do.

> Maybe I should learn some lisp first.

You might find it interesting.  As Charles Chan said Emacs may be
thought of as rather like a Lisp machine OS.  It not quite the same
though, since most of it's capabilities are connected with editing.

It's also quite similar to the Java system.  It provides a language
environment, Emacs Lisp, for writing programs that deal with editing.
These programs are portable between Emacs's running on different
platforms.  Like the Java virtual machine there is an interpreter and a
bytecode form for packages/libraries of code. (One of the authors of
Java wrote his own version of Emacs long ago, perhaps this is related).

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