LISP shell

Oleg S. Tihonov
Sun, 8 Nov 1998 17:02:12 +0300

>  Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 13:05:23 +0100
>  From: Francois-Rene Rideau <>
>  Reply-To: Francois-Rene Rideau <>
>  Uh, sorry to mingle in the conversation,
>  but I know at least one person who used to use GNU emacs as a login shell,
>  which is seemingly possible (you'd like it added to /etc/shells to not be
>  considered a "restricted user", tho):
>  elisp is no worse than /bin/sh (or perl, as I've seen some people use!)
>  to setup environment variables!
I have some experience about using Emacs as a login shell, so I can tell why it
is not so good.  Usual shells (and perl too) are much more convinient in
launching unix programs, making i/o redirection, and job control (what shell is
supposed to do), though Emacs itself provide powerull features for program
output filtering.  If you want to only run emacs-lisp programs, you will find it
inconvinient too, since emacs-lisp is not multithreaded, (and who want to
reimplenent TeX or grep or make in elisp?).  Nevertheless, Emacs definetely can
be used as a login shell.  (Then you will have a possibility to write E+++++ in
you geek code :)

>  You'll perhaps prefer sh, however, and start emacs from there,
>  for stability wrt emacs "upgrades"
>  (see incompatibilities between GNU/X Emacs 18/19/20/21).
>  Note: I haven't ever tried starting X from emacs. Might be "interesting".

You can run X from Emacs.  But you cannot connect to X display from the Emacs,
started in textmode; you will need to run second Emacs instance, this time
X-capable.  Just a waste of memory.

>  Personally, I use zsh (perhaps started from sh).
Now, after losts of experiments, I use Emacs in X, started from .xinitrc.
I start unix programs from Emacs (neither root-window menu, nor xterm).
So Emacs is /really/ my shell! not login-shell, but who cares?

>  As for a Scheme that has full system access, and more (see SCWM),
>  you might be interested in GUILE.

Guile is too slow, but SCWM is great -- it is fully controlable from Emacs.

>  But again, stability issues will make you prefer launching it from *sh.
I prefer bash -> X -> Emacs.
Due to stability issues I recommend starting SCWM from Emacs.

Oleg TuXoHoB
Binaries may die but source code lives forever.