The version of Emacs that we are really talking about on CategoryEmacs
-- the one maintained by the FreeSoftwareFoundation
(in particular, the GnuProject
). Various versions of Emacs exist (and more have existed); the most common other version is XEmacs (formerly LucidEmacs?
), which was forked from GnuEmacs
was developed as part of RichardStallman
's efforts to create a completely FreeSoftware
computing system -- some initial reports suggested it was the editor for the system, but most recent evidence suggests that it is in fact the operating system itself (HaHaOnlySerious
The distinction is important for copyright reasons (the FSF owns the copyright to all of GnuEmacs
; other versions are not so strictly maintained), EmacsLisp
differences (XEmacs Lisp, for instance, is largely but not entirely compatible), and historical concerns -- there were many varieties of Emacs in its earliest days.
Incidentally, the license for RMS' original Emacs (the one written in TECO) was even more onerous than the GPL. It required that all changes were send back to RMS, whereas the GPL only requires that people who are given binaries also be given the source and the right to change and redistribute it.
The possibility of switching XEmacs to C++ was discussed on the xemacs-dev mailing list in May 2002, if anyone is interested. You probably mean xemacs-design, http://list-archive.xemacs.org/xemacs-design/200205/msg00069.html