Subject: Re: I want to learn LISP
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/10/13
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Viktor Haag <>
| Is Emacs-Lisp considered a reasonable way to "learn Lisp"? I know that
| Emacs-Lisp is a different dialect to Common Lisp, but do you serious
| Lispers consider it as "reasonable"?

  I have worked intimately with Emacs since 1993 and fixed a lot of bugs
  and tried very hard to keep Emacs Lisp reasonable.  by 1996, I gave up
  that goal, but not the usefulness of Emacs, and I have since then worked
  on a private version of Emacs that has tracked the development version of
  Emacs sans MULE and other bad design decisions.  unsurprisingly, almost
  all the bugs in recent development have been in the areas I decided were
  broken at the core, but worse, yet, the fixes made are even worse than
  what they tried to fix.

  Emacs Lisp for Emacs 19 is still reasonable (the latest version being
  19.34).  Emacs Lisp for Emacs 20 is no longer reasonable.  (e.g., the
  lack of a character type, streams, filters, etc, makes MULE amazingly
  stupidly designed, and lots of other advanced features are incredibly
  kludgey because the language is no longer able to support further

  XEmacs Lisp appears to be closer to Common Lisp.  I have previously
  thought XEmacs was worse than Emacs in the "if we haven't reinvented it,
  it can't be any good" department, but it appears that XEmacs will not
  follow Emacs over to Guile, although I think XEmacs Lisp has more of a
  Scheme nature than Emacs Lisp with its myriads of accessors and other
  one-trick ponies.

  all in all, I think you should learn Emacs Lisp because it is so useful
  for a wide range of tasks, but depressingly little in Emacs Lisp is
  really smart, so you should at least consider implementing most of the
  stuff yourself in Common Lisp.