GNU bug report logs - #70784
Abolish string resizing

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Package: emacs; Reported by: Mattias Engdegård <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>; dated Sun, 5 May 2024 12:35:02 UTC; Maintainer for emacs is bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Date: Tue, 07 May 2024 14:19:40 +0300
Message-Id: <867cg5c1ir.fsf@HIDDEN>
From: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
To: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
In-Reply-To: <87y18n3z9n.fsf@HIDDEN> (message from Po Lu on Mon, 06 May
 2024 20:23:16 +0800)
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
References: <A24C4B77-291E-4F7B-AD43-ADB42FAFA3C6@HIDDEN>
 <s54ttjbahhe.fsf@HIDDEN> <86wmo7b2pz.fsf@HIDDEN>
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> From: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
> Cc: mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN,  70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org,
>   monnier@HIDDEN
> Date: Mon, 06 May 2024 20:23:16 +0800
> 
> Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN> writes:
> 
> > We are not going to abandon backward-compatibility considerations.
> > But refusing to discuss significant changes just because they have
> > compatibility issues is throwing the proverbial baby with the
> > bathwater.  Refusing changes is of course 110% backward-compatible,
> > but it has many disadvantages, to say the least.  Instead, we should
> > see how to keep compatibility, to the extent that we consider it
> > important, without blocking changes which could potentially help us
> > adopting new technologies and improving performance.
> 
> These principles are no doubt valid in general, but please consider what
> is the feature whose continued existence is being called into question!
> `(aset string n foo)' has been possible and countenanced for ages

Which is why this is not the feature that was suggested to be
abolished.  Please leave strawmen and red herrings out of this
discussion.  No one in their right mind will agree to removal of
'aset' for strings in general.

> the performance of strings has never been a source of user
> complaint.

You are very wrong.  String performance in Emacs is a known problem,
as evidenced by the fact that we recommend that Lisp programs use
buffers in preference to strings.

I'm not saying that going with this proposal will necessarily make the
problem less severe, just that your over-reaching argument is patently
incorrect.

> Without such a plain justification and a clear strategy for evaluating
> whether the results so produced meet expectations, there really is no
> detriment in categorically dismissing proposals to alter them, until
> such time, if ever, as these conditions are created.

No one said that we will accept this change based on performance
considerations without seeing some performance data.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Date: Tue, 07 May 2024 14:13:30 +0300
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From: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
To: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
In-Reply-To: <87ttjb3yzy.fsf@HIDDEN> (message from Po Lu on Mon, 06 May
 2024 20:29:05 +0800)
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
References: <A24C4B77-291E-4F7B-AD43-ADB42FAFA3C6@HIDDEN>
 <s54ttjbahhe.fsf@HIDDEN>
 <SJ0PR10MB54881F455F8C4BD8B8FF1A41F31C2@HIDDEN>
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> From: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
> Cc: Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN>,  mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN,
>   70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org,  monnier@HIDDEN
> Date: Mon, 06 May 2024 20:29:05 +0800
> 
> Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN> writes:
> 
> > Which is why no one is proposing to make string immutable.  This is
> > not what this proposal is about, and Mattias made a point of saying
> > that explicitly.
> 
> The point is that CL string implementations are capable of modifying
> strings in such a manner as Mattias proposes to "abolish".  I presume
> some are implemented as Emacs's are, while others simply use a
> representation for multibyte strings where all characters are the same
> wide size (which incidentally there's nothing preventing Emacs from
> implementing).

That doesn't really matter.  "Other applications" do things that Emacs
doesn't necessarily want to do, or vice versa.  E.g., consider our
support for raw bytes in multibyte strings, which is quite unique.

What _would_ matter is if there are important use cases out there
where replacing one character by another character of a different
multibyte length.  So if you, or anyone else, can come up with such
situations (which are not made up specifically to argue here), please
do, because knowing about such situations would be useful to make this
discussion serious and based on facts.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
To: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <86v83rb2bl.fsf@HIDDEN> (Eli Zaretskii's message of "Mon, 06 May
 2024 14:35:26 +0300")
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Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN> writes:

> Which is why no one is proposing to make string immutable.  This is
> not what this proposal is about, and Mattias made a point of saying
> that explicitly.

The point is that CL string implementations are capable of modifying
strings in such a manner as Mattias proposes to "abolish".  I presume
some are implemented as Emacs's are, while others simply use a
representation for multibyte strings where all characters are the same
wide size (which incidentally there's nothing preventing Emacs from
implementing).




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
To: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <86wmo7b2pz.fsf@HIDDEN> (Eli Zaretskii's message of "Mon, 06 May
 2024 14:26:48 +0300")
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Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN> writes:

> We are not going to abandon backward-compatibility considerations.
> But refusing to discuss significant changes just because they have
> compatibility issues is throwing the proverbial baby with the
> bathwater.  Refusing changes is of course 110% backward-compatible,
> but it has many disadvantages, to say the least.  Instead, we should
> see how to keep compatibility, to the extent that we consider it
> important, without blocking changes which could potentially help us
> adopting new technologies and improving performance.

These principles are no doubt valid in general, but please consider what
is the feature whose continued existence is being called into question!
`(aset string n foo)' has been possible and countenanced for ages, if
not forever, and, I trust, such behavior of a quarter-century's standing
is among the rudiments of a language that should not change without a
very compelling and immediate reason.  Theoretical or even demonstrable
performance wins, or the hoary old commonplace of facilitating the
adoption of new technologies, both to be found in the release notes of
proprietary programs everywhere, provide no such reason, simply as the
performance of strings has never been a source of user complaint.

Without such a plain justification and a clear strategy for evaluating
whether the results so produced meet expectations, there really is no
detriment in categorically dismissing proposals to alter them, until
such time, if ever, as these conditions are created.  The quantity of
user or package code that would be erratically broken is alone enough to
send shivers down one's spine.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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> Cc: "70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org" <70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org>,
>  Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
> Date: Mon, 6 May 2024 01:56:27 +0000
> From:  Drew Adams via "Bug reports for GNU Emacs,
>  the Swiss army knife of text editors" <bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN>
> 
> Wrt mutable strings: Consider that Common Lisp, whose
> implementations can be very performant, has always had
> mutable strings.  I'd even wager that no one ever argued
> that its strings shouldn't be mutable.  Inconceivable.

Which is why no one is proposing to make string immutable.  This is
not what this proposal is about, and Mattias made a point of saying
that explicitly.

> On the other hand, Elisp strings can have text properties.
> (Let's please not hear a proposal to remove that feature
> as well, in the name of immutability or performance.)

A strawman, if ever there was one.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Date: Mon, 06 May 2024 14:26:48 +0300
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From: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
To: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
In-Reply-To: <s54ttjbahhe.fsf@HIDDEN> (bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN)
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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> Cc: 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org, Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
> Date: Mon, 06 May 2024 08:53:17 +0800
> From:  Po Lu via "Bug reports for GNU Emacs,
>  the Swiss army knife of text editors" <bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN>
> 
> Is it only I who am tired of these proposals for complete upheavals
> that, somehow, Emacs has fared just fine without, for generations past?

If we "get tired" of hearing such proposals, how can we ensure any
significant progress in Emacs, which is a major contributor to its
viability for years to come?

It's okay to discuss such proposals and object to some or all of them,
provided you have good reasons for the objections, but suggestions to
block such proposals up front are counter-productive and will
eventually hamper Emacs's future, IMNSHO.

> It's precisely this attitude that begins to inspire thoughts of
> departure.  Backwards-compatibility is an obligation that cannot be
> evaded by means of warnings, which instead serve to annoy and antagonize
> users, whose only wish is that Emacs leave them in peace.

We are not going to abandon backward-compatibility considerations.
But refusing to discuss significant changes just because they have
compatibility issues is throwing the proverbial baby with the
bathwater.  Refusing changes is of course 110% backward-compatible,
but it has many disadvantages, to say the least.  Instead, we should
see how to keep compatibility, to the extent that we consider it
important, without blocking changes which could potentially help us
adopting new technologies and improving performance.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Date: Mon, 06 May 2024 13:57:28 +0300
Message-Id: <865xvrcinb.fsf@HIDDEN>
From: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
To: Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
In-Reply-To: <jwv34qv65a7.fsf-monnier+emacs@HIDDEN> (bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN)
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
References: <A24C4B77-291E-4F7B-AD43-ADB42FAFA3C6@HIDDEN>
 <s54ttjbahhe.fsf@HIDDEN> <jwv34qv65a7.fsf-monnier+emacs@HIDDEN>
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> Cc: Mattias Engdegård <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>,
>  70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org
> Date: Sun, 05 May 2024 22:41:54 -0400
> From:  Stefan Monnier via "Bug reports for GNU Emacs,
>  the Swiss army knife of text editors" <bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN>
> 
> >> The Elisp ability to resize strings is high-cost, low-benefit, so we
> >> should abolish it.
> > What is the improvement to be had by "abolishing" this immemorial
> > feature?
> 
> Actually, it's not "immemorial", it's just old:
> 
>     commit 3c9de1afcde82a99137721436c822059cce79b5b
>     Author: Kenichi Handa <handa@HIDDEN>
>     Date:   Fri Jul 21 06:45:30 2000 +0000
> 
>         (Faset): Allow storing any multibyte character in a string.  Convert
>         unibyte string to multibyte if necessary.
> 
> IOW, since Emacs-21.1.

That's only half of the story, AFAIR.  The other half is that Emacs
before version 20 allowed aset with any string anywhere, because
characters back then were always unibyte.  We lost that with
introduction of MULE, and the above change by Kenichi restored the
lost functionality (which was evidently deemed important enough back
then).




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: =?utf-8?Q?Gerd_M=C3=B6llmann?= <gerd.moellmann@HIDDEN>
To: Po Lu via "Bug reports for GNU Emacs, the Swiss army knife of text
 editors" <bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <s54msp3ah43.fsf@HIDDEN> (Po Lu via's message of "Mon, 06 May
 2024 09:01:16 +0800")
References: <A24C4B77-291E-4F7B-AD43-ADB42FAFA3C6@HIDDEN>
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Cc: "mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN" <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>,
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 "monnier@HIDDEN" <monnier@HIDDEN>,
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Po Lu via "Bug reports for GNU Emacs, the Swiss army knife of text
editors" <bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN> writes:

> Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN> writes:
>
>> No, I didn't - you did.  I said nothing about
>> any enemies of Lisp, nor did I suggest that
>> anyone here is an enemy of Lisp.
>>
>> Please stop with the hyperbole and insinuation.
>> You appear to be trying to spin my position
>> into something it's not.
>>
>> It would be a mistake, IMHO, to do away with
>> mutable strings or lists in Elisp.  That's my
>> opinion: that would _impoverish Lisp_.  The
>> former (make strings immutable) is exactly the
>> question raised in this thread, IIUC.
>>
>> It would also be unfortunate to do away with
>> the use of nil as meaning false, or as the
>> empty list.  Again, that would _impoverish
>> Lisp_.  That's my opinion.
>>
>> Such suggestions don't jibe with Lisp; they
>> would, in effect mutate Lisp away from its
>> fundament.  Let's not go down that road.
>
> I agree, but alas, the dubious practice of removing time-honored
> facilities for their supposed disuse, virtually on impulse, and giving
> Emacs a new motto inspired by line 6186 of dispnew.c, is much in vogue
> with Mattias these days.

I had to look that up: it's bitch_at_user. Yeah, some arrogance is part
of being young, I guess :-).

> One can only hope that calmer heads will prevail.

First of all, I'd like to ask why this feature/these features are not
discussed on emacs-devel but here? I find that strange.

Wrt to this particular feature of aref, I wonder if XEmacs wasn't right
having a character type. That would be an interesting change. The change
in aref or strings doesn't interest me much.

The immutabile list thing and so on. To each his own, live and let live,
and so on, but this direction is not mine. And this all should be on
emacs-devel, but I said that already.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

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From: =?utf-8?Q?Gerd_M=C3=B6llmann?= <gerd.moellmann@HIDDEN>
To: Po Lu via "Bug reports for GNU Emacs, the Swiss army knife of text
 editors" <bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <s54msp3ah43.fsf@HIDDEN> (Po Lu via's message of "Mon, 06 May
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Cc: "mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN" <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>,
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 "monnier@HIDDEN" <monnier@HIDDEN>,
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Po Lu via "Bug reports for GNU Emacs, the Swiss army knife of text
editors" <bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN> writes:

> Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN> writes:
>
>> No, I didn't - you did.  I said nothing about
>> any enemies of Lisp, nor did I suggest that
>> anyone here is an enemy of Lisp.
>>
>> Please stop with the hyperbole and insinuation.
>> You appear to be trying to spin my position
>> into something it's not.
>>
>> It would be a mistake, IMHO, to do away with
>> mutable strings or lists in Elisp.  That's my
>> opinion: that would _impoverish Lisp_.  The
>> former (make strings immutable) is exactly the
>> question raised in this thread, IIUC.
>>
>> It would also be unfortunate to do away with
>> the use of nil as meaning false, or as the
>> empty list.  Again, that would _impoverish
>> Lisp_.  That's my opinion.
>>
>> Such suggestions don't jibe with Lisp; they
>> would, in effect mutate Lisp away from its
>> fundament.  Let's not go down that road.
>
> I agree, but alas, the dubious practice of removing time-honored
> facilities for their supposed disuse, virtually on impulse, and giving
> Emacs a new motto inspired by line 6186 of dispnew.c, is much in vogue
> with Mattias these days.

I had to look that up: it's bitch_at_user. Yeah, some arrogance is part
of being young, I guess :-).

> One can only hope that calmer heads will prevail.

First of all, I'd like to ask why this feature/these features are not
discussed on emacs-devel but here? I find that strange.

Wrt to this particular feature of aref, I wonder if XEmacs wasn't right
having a character type. That would be an interesting change. The change
in aref or strings doesn't interest me much.

The immutabile list thing and so on. To each his own, live and let live,
and so on, but this direction is not mine. And this all should be on
emacs-devel, but I said that already.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
To: Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <jwv34qv65a7.fsf-monnier+emacs@HIDDEN> (Stefan Monnier's message
 of "Sun, 05 May 2024 22:41:54 -0400")
References: <A24C4B77-291E-4F7B-AD43-ADB42FAFA3C6@HIDDEN>
 <s54ttjbahhe.fsf@HIDDEN> <jwv34qv65a7.fsf-monnier+emacs@HIDDEN>
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Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN> writes:

> Actually, it's not "immemorial", it's just old:
>
>     commit 3c9de1afcde82a99137721436c822059cce79b5b
>     Author: Kenichi Handa <handa@HIDDEN>
>     Date:   Fri Jul 21 06:45:30 2000 +0000

That's _23_, approaching 24 years, in the past, or 1 generation exactly.
To put this into perspective, a mere 2 years and 7 months after the
introduction of multibyte strings.

>
>         (Faset): Allow storing any multibyte character in a string.  Convert
>         unibyte string to multibyte if necessary.
>
> IOW, since Emacs-21.1.

Only two releases after the distinction between multibyte and unibyte
strings was introduced.  Evidently, this departure from traditional
array behavior was seen as a misdesign at the time, and we should know
better than to second-guess old design decisions, especially those from
a past when computer memory and performance were far scarcer commodities
than today.

> As for improvements, like a lot of refactoring and maintenance work,
> there isn't any immediate benefit.  But it's a "feature" which is *very*
> rarely used (thank god: it makes a notionally constant time operation
> take time proportional to the size of the string, so if it were used
> often we would have heard complaints about the poor performance) and
> which imposes pretty significant implementation constraints, so it's
> definitely detrimental to long term evolution.

Placing quotation marks around the word "feature" does not make it any
less of a feature, and if reports of performance woes be the judge of
whether a feature is sufficiently disused to justify removal, then, why,
virtually all (vastly underreported) sub-optimal code in Emacs would be
eligible for immediate deletion attended by irritating pop-up warnings.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
To: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <s54ttjbahhe.fsf@HIDDEN> (Po Lu's message of "Mon, 06 May 2024
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>> The Elisp ability to resize strings is high-cost, low-benefit, so we
>> should abolish it.
> What is the improvement to be had by "abolishing" this immemorial
> feature?

Actually, it's not "immemorial", it's just old:

    commit 3c9de1afcde82a99137721436c822059cce79b5b
    Author: Kenichi Handa <handa@HIDDEN>
    Date:   Fri Jul 21 06:45:30 2000 +0000

        (Faset): Allow storing any multibyte character in a string.  Convert
        unibyte string to multibyte if necessary.

IOW, since Emacs-21.1.

As for improvements, like a lot of refactoring and maintenance work,
there isn't any immediate benefit.  But it's a "feature" which is *very*
rarely used (thank god: it makes a notionally constant time operation
take time proportional to the size of the string, so if it were used
often we would have heard complaints about the poor performance) and
which imposes pretty significant implementation constraints, so it's
definitely detrimental to long term evolution.


        Stefan





Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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To: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>, =?utf-8?B?TWF0dGlhcyBFbmdkZWfDpXJk?=
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Subject: RE: [External] : bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
To: Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <SJ0PR10MB54880668D9C3316FB9200628F31D2@HIDDEN>
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References: <A24C4B77-291E-4F7B-AD43-ADB42FAFA3C6@HIDDEN>
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Cc: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>,
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Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN> writes:

> No, I didn't - you did.  I said nothing about
> any enemies of Lisp, nor did I suggest that
> anyone here is an enemy of Lisp.
>
> Please stop with the hyperbole and insinuation.
> You appear to be trying to spin my position
> into something it's not.
>
> It would be a mistake, IMHO, to do away with
> mutable strings or lists in Elisp.  That's my
> opinion: that would _impoverish Lisp_.  The
> former (make strings immutable) is exactly the
> question raised in this thread, IIUC.
>
> It would also be unfortunate to do away with
> the use of nil as meaning false, or as the
> empty list.  Again, that would _impoverish
> Lisp_.  That's my opinion.
>
> Such suggestions don't jibe with Lisp; they
> would, in effect mutate Lisp away from its
> fundament.  Let's not go down that road.

I agree, but alas, the dubious practice of removing time-honored
facilities for their supposed disuse, virtually on impulse, and giving
Emacs a new motto inspired by line 6186 of dispnew.c, is much in vogue
with Mattias these days.

One can only hope that calmer heads will prevail.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Po Lu <luangruo@HIDDEN>
To: Mattias =?utf-8?Q?Engdeg=C3=A5rd?= <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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Mattias Engdeg=C3=A5rd <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN> writes:

> The Elisp ability to resize strings is high-cost, low-benefit, so we
> should abolish it.

What is the improvement to be had by "abolishing" this immemorial
feature?

If it's a notional increase in Lisp evaluation performance, please stop.
Emacs Lisp is not a hot-rod where crucial, fundamental facilities are
dispensable in the face of a performance improvement (which is anything
but a certainly at this early stage) of a few percent or similarly
marginal value on contrived benchmarks testing scenarios unlikely to be
encountered in real Lisp code.

MPS is no justification for degrading the capabilities of the existing
GC, if for no other reason than its being inoperable on systems beyond
the limited selection whose support its developers consider a priority,
and the increase in memory consumption it brings (e.g. it will never
function on Android 13, because the C library's sigaction wrapper is
insufficient to enable MPS and JVM trap handlers to coexist).  What's
more, memory consumption is an aspect that should not be sacrificed for
minor gains in performance, with a program that is designed to be a good
citizen on systems old and new.

Is it only I who am tired of these proposals for complete upheavals
that, somehow, Emacs has fared just fine without, for generations past?
It's precisely this attitude that begins to inspire thoughts of
departure.  Backwards-compatibility is an obligation that cannot be
evaded by means of warnings, which instead serve to annoy and antagonize
users, whose only wish is that Emacs leave them in peace.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

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From: Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
To: Mattias =?windows-1252?Q?Engdeg=E5rd?= <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
In-Reply-To: <4F94AAEB-3D72-4B90-868E-F1D8369E4A59@HIDDEN> ("Mattias
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> Thanks, I hadn't seen your work. My approach (attached) is more an instance
> of outsider art: I didn't know how these things are normally done and just
> made it up as I went.

Mine was also "invent it as I go along", ...

> The backtrace is included in the message here because it's kind of essential
> for diagnosing the warning correctly, and it uses the very compact form
> repurposed from the profiler for brevity and because we probably don't need
> more to establish the source of the problem.

Very nice.  For track-changes, the backtraces aren't as important,
because we often detect the problem only after the fact so the backtrace
may be unrelated (which is why I also record the recent keys).


        Stefan





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Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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5 maj 2024 kl. 20.09 skrev Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>:

> If the warning is too annoying, we could do like I did there, i.e. =
only
> emit the warning when running in a non-release Emacs (i.e. when
> `emacs-version` has 2 dots), and offer a variable to control whether =
to
> emit the warning or not.

Thanks, I hadn't seen your work. My approach (attached) is more an =
instance of outsider art: I didn't know how these things are normally =
done and just made it up as I went.

The backtrace is included in the message here because it's kind of =
essential for diagnosing the warning correctly, and it uses the very =
compact form repurposed from the profiler for brevity and because we =
probably don't need more to establish the source of the problem. Your =
idea to stuff stack traces in a variable for later scrutiny is probably =
more robust.

(Prefer raising actual errors though -- some people will inevitably =
suppress the warning to avoid fixing the code.)


--Apple-Mail=_F243CC61-6F4E-4E36-A924-E59FFE12E1DF
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diff --git a/src/data.c b/src/data.c
index ea611ad1abf..a3fba48c7f2 100644
--- a/src/data.c
+++ b/src/data.c
@@ -2570,6 +2570,33 @@ DEFUN ("aref", Faref, Saref, 2, 2, 0,
     }
 }
 
+static void
+warn_aset_string_resize (Lisp_Object string, const char *msg, unsigned ch)
+{
+  /* Only warn the first few times to avoid spamming the user.  */
+  static int remaining = 5;
+  if (remaining <= 0)
+    return;
+  --remaining;
+
+  Lisp_Object bt[16];
+  get_backtrace (bt, ARRAYELTS (bt));
+  Lisp_Object warning
+    = CALLN (Fformat,
+	     build_string ("`aset' on %s string: %s;"
+			   " this will become an error in Emacs 31."
+			   "  Call chain (most recent first):"),
+	     build_string (STRING_MULTIBYTE (string) ? "multibyte" : "unibyte"),
+	     CALLN (Fformat, build_string (msg), make_int (ch)));
+
+  for (ptrdiff_t i = EQ (bt[0], Qaset) ? 1 : 0;
+       i < ARRAYELTS (bt) && !NILP (bt[i]); i++)
+    if (SYMBOLP (bt[i]))
+      warning = CALLN (Fformat, build_string ("%s %s;"), warning, bt[i]);
+  Vdelayed_warnings_list = Fcons (list2 (Qaset, warning),
+				  Vdelayed_warnings_list);
+}
+
 DEFUN ("aset", Faset, Saset, 3, 3, 0,
        doc: /* Store into the element of ARRAY at index IDX the value NEWELT.
 Return NEWELT.  ARRAY may be a vector, a string, a char-table or a
@@ -2623,6 +2650,12 @@ DEFUN ("aset", Faset, Saset, 3, 3, 0,
 	{
 	  idxval_byte = string_char_to_byte (array, idxval);
 	  p1 = SDATA (array) + idxval_byte;
+	  if (c > 127)
+	    warn_aset_string_resize (array,
+				     "replacement char #x%x is non-ASCII", c);
+	  else if (*p1 > 127)
+	    warn_aset_string_resize (array,
+				     "replaced char #x%x is non-ASCII", *p1);
 	  prev_bytes = BYTES_BY_CHAR_HEAD (*p1);
 	}
       else if (SINGLE_BYTE_CHAR_P (c))
@@ -2632,6 +2665,9 @@ DEFUN ("aset", Faset, Saset, 3, 3, 0,
 	}
       else
 	{
+	  warn_aset_string_resize (array,
+				   "replacement char #x%x is not single-byte",
+				   c);
 	  for (ptrdiff_t i = SBYTES (array) - 1; i >= 0; i--)
 	    if (!ASCII_CHAR_P (SREF (array, i)))
 	      args_out_of_range (array, newelt);

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From: Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN>
To: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
Subject: RE: [External] : bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
Thread-Topic: [External] : bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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Cc: "mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN" <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>,
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> > > > > I'm not sure even that is a good idea for
> > > > > Emacs 30.  Let's see what others think.
> > > >
> > > > Next on Matthias's immutable list of
> > > > "improvements": doing away with mutable lists.
> > > > Poor Lisp.
> > >
> > > Your opinions might be more important to
> > > read and consider if you drop the sarcasm.
> > > There are no enemies of Lisp here.
> >
> > No one (except you) spoke of "enemies" of Lisp.
>=20
> You did ("poor Lisp" etc.).

No, I didn't - you did.  I said nothing about
any enemies of Lisp, nor did I suggest that
anyone here is an enemy of Lisp.

Please stop with the hyperbole and insinuation.
You appear to be trying to spin my position
into something it's not.

It would be a mistake, IMHO, to do away with
mutable strings or lists in Elisp.  That's my
opinion: that would _impoverish Lisp_.  The
former (make strings immutable) is exactly the
question raised in this thread, IIUC.

It would also be unfortunate to do away with
the use of nil as meaning false, or as the
empty list.  Again, that would _impoverish
Lisp_.  That's my opinion.

Such suggestions don't jibe with Lisp; they
would, in effect mutate Lisp away from its
fundament.  Let's not go down that road.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
To: Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN>
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 (message from Drew Adams on Sun, 5 May 2024 18:09:38 +0000)
Subject: Re: [External] : bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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> From: Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN>
> CC: "mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN" <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>,
>         "70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org" <70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org>,
>         "monnier@HIDDEN"
> 	<monnier@HIDDEN>
> Date: Sun, 5 May 2024 18:09:38 +0000
> 
> > > > I'm not sure even that is a good idea for
> > > > Emacs 30.  Let's see what others think.
> > >
> > > Next on Matthias's immutable list of
> > > "improvements": doing away with mutable lists.
> > > Poor Lisp.
> > 
> > Your opinions might be more important to
> > read and consider if you drop the sarcasm.
> > There are no enemies of Lisp here.
> 
> No one (except you) spoke of "enemies" of Lisp.

You did ("poor Lisp" etc.).




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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From: Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN>
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Subject: RE: [External] : bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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> > > I'm not sure even that is a good idea for
> > > Emacs 30.  Let's see what others think.
> >
> > Next on Matthias's immutable list of
> > "improvements": doing away with mutable lists.
> > Poor Lisp.
>=20
> Your opinions might be more important to
> read and consider if you drop the sarcasm.
> There are no enemies of Lisp here.

No one (except you) spoke of "enemies" of Lisp.

Without sarcasm: From Mattias in bug 70155 thread:

  Of course if you ask me, I'd prefer it if lists
  were guaranteed to be proper, immutable, with
  the empty list an object distinct from the symbol
  nil and the false boolean value. Maybe next year.

Was _that_ sarcasm, or was it straightforward?  I
took it at face value.  And coincidentally we now
see this string "enhancement" suggestion, along
the same line from the same friend.

My response to this line is "poor Lisp" (or "poor
Elisp") - without sarcasm.  And nothing personal.

OK, yes, Scheme is in the Lisp family, and its nil
is only the empty list, not also false.  (I'd say
"poor Lisp" there too, but not as strongly.)

And Clojure is often considered to be in the Lisp
family, and it uses immutable data more, including
lists.

Elisp is more related to Common Lisp.  And mutable
lists and dotted lists are _fundamental_ for this
part of the family (and for Scheme as well).
Nothing says "Lisp" more than its cons.

Proposing that Elisp lists be only _proper_ (never
dotted) and _immutable_ is a _radical_ departure
from Lisp.

I don't take that proposal as coming from any
"enemy of Lisp".  I don't see any enemies here
(do you?).  I'm not in favor of such a proposal;
that's all.

Likewise for the current proposal, to make strings
immutable (abolish string resizing).  That one
wasn't even on the "Maybe next year" list.  It's
apparently on the this-year list.

Just one opinion.




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From: Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
To: Mattias =?windows-1252?Q?Engdeg=E5rd?= <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>
Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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> That's fine, but a warning might help in emacs-30 to prepare for making
> resizing an error in emacs-31.
> Here's how that would work: the first 5 times (say), emit a warning like
>
>  Warning: `aset' on a multibyte string with char value #x2022 will become an error in Emacs 31
>
> followed by a truncated stack trace, just enough to help the user (or
> someone helping out) see what package is responsible.

Similar to what I do in `track-changes.el` when we detect a missing
call to `after/before-change-functions`?  I like that.
If the warning is too annoying, we could do like I did there, i.e. only
emit the warning when running in a non-release Emacs (i.e. when
`emacs-version` has 2 dots), and offer a variable to control whether to
emit the warning or not.


        Stefan





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 (message from Drew Adams on Sun, 5 May 2024 16:55:43 +0000)
Subject: Re: [External] : bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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> From: Drew Adams <drew.adams@HIDDEN>
> CC: "70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org" <70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org>,
>         "monnier@HIDDEN" <monnier@HIDDEN>
> Date: Sun, 5 May 2024 16:55:43 +0000
> 
> > I'm not sure even that is a good idea for Emacs 30.
> > Let's see what others think.
> 
> Next on Matthias's immutable list of "improvements":
> doing away with mutable lists.
> 
> Poor Lisp.

Your opinions might be more important to read and consider if you drop
the sarcasm.

There are no enemies of Lisp here.




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Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Date: Sun, 05 May 2024 18:23:49 +0300
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From: Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>
To: Mattias =?utf-8?Q?Engdeg=C3=A5rd?= <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>
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Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
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> From: Mattias Engdegård <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>
> Date: Sun, 5 May 2024 16:18:16 +0200
> Cc: 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org,
>  monnier@HIDDEN
> 
> 5 maj 2024 kl. 16.04 skrev Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>:
> 
> > How many places in our own sources call aset on strings?
> 
> In general, very little. Resizing ones, probably none now.
> 
> > I'm not yet sure this is a good idea, but one thing I'm sure: it is
> > not for Emacs 30.  So if we decide to go this way, let's delay
> > merging the changes until after the emacs-30 branch is cut, which
> > should happen in a week or two.
> 
> That's fine, but a warning might help in emacs-30 to prepare for making resizing an error in emacs-31.
> Here's how that would work: the first 5 times (say), emit a warning like
> 
>  Warning: `aset' on a multibyte string with char value #x2022 will become an error in Emacs 31
> 
> followed by a truncated stack trace, just enough to help the user (or someone helping out) see what package is responsible.

I'm not sure even that is a good idea for Emacs 30.

Let's see what others think.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

Message received at 70784 <at> debbugs.gnu.org:


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Subject: Re: bug#70784: Abolish string resizing
From: =?utf-8?Q?Mattias_Engdeg=C3=A5rd?= <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>
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5 maj 2024 kl. 16.04 skrev Eli Zaretskii <eliz@HIDDEN>:

> How many places in our own sources call aset on strings?

In general, very little. Resizing ones, probably none now.

> I'm not yet sure this is a good idea, but one thing I'm sure: it is
> not for Emacs 30.  So if we decide to go this way, let's delay
> merging the changes until after the emacs-30 branch is cut, which
> should happen in a week or two.

That's fine, but a warning might help in emacs-30 to prepare for making =
resizing an error in emacs-31.
Here's how that would work: the first 5 times (say), emit a warning like

 Warning: `aset' on a multibyte string with char value #x2022 will =
become an error in Emacs 31

followed by a truncated stack trace, just enough to help the user (or =
someone helping out) see what package is responsible.






Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

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> Cc: Stefan Monnier <monnier@HIDDEN>
> From: Mattias Engdegård <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>
> Date: Sun, 5 May 2024 14:33:51 +0200
> 
> The Elisp ability to resize strings is high-cost, low-benefit, so we should abolish it.
> 
> Strings are performance-critical, and the split allocation (fixed-size metadata + variable-size data) and its indirections are not free. This is one reason why strings are comparatively expensive in Elisp compared to other languages.
> 
> With MPS there is even no use for the special-purpose string data defragger in the current GC.
> 
> String resizing occurs in exactly one place: `aset` on strings, and then only when the mutation alters the string size, in either of two cases:
> 
> * When a unibyte string byte is set to a non-byte value (> 255), which also forces the string to become multibyte.
> * When a multibyte string char is set to a char of different length.
> 
> String mutation itself is very rare these days, and resizing string mutation exceptionally so.
> 
> Best and simplest would be to just turn resizing `aset` on strings into an error now. As an alternative, we could start warning about it now and make it an error in the next release. The (trivial) patches exist.

How many places in our own sources call aset on strings?

> 
> Note that this is not a proposal for abolishing string mutation in general. For example, `clear-string` would still work on any string, as would arbitrary closed mutations on unibyte strings and on ASCII multibyte strings.

I'm not yet sure this is a good idea, but one thing I'm sure: it is
not for Emacs 30.  So if we decide to go this way, let's delay
merging the changes until after the emacs-30 branch is cut, which
should happen in a week or two.

Thanks.




Information forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.

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The Elisp ability to resize strings is high-cost, low-benefit, so we =
should abolish it.

Strings are performance-critical, and the split allocation (fixed-size =
metadata + variable-size data) and its indirections are not free. This =
is one reason why strings are comparatively expensive in Elisp compared =
to other languages.

With MPS there is even no use for the special-purpose string data =
defragger in the current GC.

String resizing occurs in exactly one place: `aset` on strings, and then =
only when the mutation alters the string size, in either of two cases:

* When a unibyte string byte is set to a non-byte value (> 255), which =
also forces the string to become multibyte.
* When a multibyte string char is set to a char of different length.

String mutation itself is very rare these days, and resizing string =
mutation exceptionally so.

Best and simplest would be to just turn resizing `aset` on strings into =
an error now. As an alternative, we could start warning about it now and =
make it an error in the next release. The (trivial) patches exist.

Note that this is not a proposal for abolishing string mutation in =
general. For example, `clear-string` would still work on any string, as =
would arbitrary closed mutations on unibyte strings and on ASCII =
multibyte strings.





Acknowledgement sent to Mattias Engdegård <mattias.engdegard@HIDDEN>:
New bug report received and forwarded. Copy sent to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN. Full text available.
Report forwarded to bug-gnu-emacs@HIDDEN:
bug#70784; Package emacs. Full text available.
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