What If Python Replaced Elisp?

Samuel A. Falvo II kc5tja at garnet.armored.net
Thu Mar 9 14:29:27 CET 2000

In article <usny1a3kf.fsf at sandia.gov>, taashlo at sandia.gov wrote:

>I saw a comparison of Lisp and Python at
><http://www.norvig.com/python-lisp.html> which stated that Lisp can be
>about 100 times faster than Python.  I'm going to assume that this

I think this has a lot to do with the "explicit syntax tree" that you build
with LISP programs.  Think about it -- the structure of LISP programs
directly mirrors an equivalent semantic tree built with a traditional
compiler, like C.  As a result, the same types of optimizations that are
possible with languages like C are possible with the likes of LISP too.
Many LISP environments compile to raw assembly language too, though I
somehow doubt elisp does this.

There is little, if anything, preventing this type of optimizability in
Python as well -- I recall a discussion from a friend of mine (Billy
Tanksley) from before I regularly read this newsgroup, indicating a desire
to switch from plain bytecodes to three-operand RISC-like, platform
independent, fixed-width codes.  If memory serves me correctly, it had
something to do with run-time code optimization and efficiency.

>doesn't hold true for Elisp.  But is Python fast enough to be a
>scripting engine for an editor?  (Beginner WAG: Python 'feels' just as

Plenty fast enough in my opinion.

>Would it be easier to add a COM (automation) interface to XEmacs if
>Python were used instead of Elisp?

If you're going to go this route, then please also consider adding CORBA
interfaces.  Having an editor that is simultaneously scriptable via COM and
CORBA will be very, very useful.

If not COM, then definately CORBA -- ORBs such as OmniORBpy and Fnorb (<--
VERY easy to use, BTW -- highly recommended) are available, and are
reasonably cross-platform, as CORBA is designed to be as independent from
its supporting environment as possible.

>Would the GUI be improved by using Tkinter or wxWindows?

I would like to see GTK myself.  Tkinter just "feels" wrong to me for some

>What other advangages/disadvantages would arise due to this change?

Quite likely we'd have a kick-butt editor that didn't take up 20MB+ of drive
space.  :)

KC5TJA/6, DM13, QRP-L #1447
Samuel A. Falvo II
Oceanside, CA

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