[UFO Chicago] Interesting reading for when you've got a few hours

Paul Suda paul@manufaxure.com
Thu, 19 Jul 2001 10:02:18 -0500

On 2001.07.13 08:43:24 -0500 Elliot Shank wrote:
> As discussed last night, here's the link to the absorbing tale of one of
> the bigger forks in free software history:
> http://www.jwz.org/doc/lemacs.html.

I just finished reading the above mentioned discussion regarding the fork
of XEmacs (at the time Lucid Emacs) from GNU Emacs. I guess the main though
I have after reading this is that there must have been a long period with
no communication between the FSF and Lucid previous to the beginning of
this email discussion.

I got the impression that Lucid was handing over a lot of money and
dedicating the full time of a number of their employees to this, but that
neither party was clear on the process for getting changes made to Emacs by
Lucid into the FSF version. I think if I was the FSF, I would have been
kissing ass rather than throwing accusations of not cooperating at a
company that was paying me lots of money to finish a project I was already
working on. And if I was Lucid, I would have been checking up on things a
little better when I didn't hear from the FSF for a while, rather than just
letting my version of Emacs drift away from theirs.

Given the timing and circumstances, I think that this fork was the best
thing that could have happened. Emacs 20.0 seems to have full featured X11
support while still being a good tty program and being portable to other
OS's. It sounds like FSF Emacs 19 had all of these nice things too, except
it kind of sucked with X11. It's nice that Lucid Emacs filled that gap for
a while, and I suppose Xemacs is still a good product.

I had always wondered why the two different Emacs's? Especially since GNU
Emacs supports X, but then there's Xemacs, that supports X differently? Now
I know.