June 25, 2002

How much time would take to port XEmacs to MacOS X?

Apple | Emacs

Today I spoke with Christophe de Dinechin about his work on porting GNU Emacs to the MacOS X user interface. His job was a lot easier since he started with an old NeXTSTEP port of GNU Emacs. There is no such thing for XEmacs, everything would have to be written from scratch.

Fortunately, XEmacs is already ported to the Gnome and WIndows user interfaces, so the system must be well designed for cross-platform UI toolkits. Porting to a different UI widget kit requires a lot of work: run loop management, event notification, windows, menus, fonts, various GUI classes and their Lisp binding.

One thought I had is that most of the work being done here is quite generic, and can probably be reused by other GUI free software programs out there. Why not then come up with a port of the Gnome toolkit to native MacOS X AppKit classes? Not only XEmacs could benefit from this, but other programs too. There would still be a lot of fine-tuning required by each program, but I think this is a better approach in the long run.

I'll have to think about this a little more. And find the time to do it too...

Posted by ovidiu at June 25, 2002 11:14 PM |
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