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emacs support for octave

Recently a Cygwin octave user requested emacs support for octave, along the
lines of the Debian octave-emacsen package.  I've been investigating this.  The
author of octave (John Ewing), pointed out that the most important three files
in the Debian octave-emacsen package, comprising the lisp support, are
_already_ in the file manifest of emacs on cygwin.  So there doesn't seem to be
much need for a Debian-like octave-emacsen package on cygwin.

Besides the lisp support, the Debian octave-emacsen package also contains a
shell script called "otags", which installs in /usr/bin, and uses
/usr/bin/etags (part of the emacs package) to generate octave "tags" for octave
functions, from their m-file source.  The source for otags, and a man page, are
supplied in the octave source tree.

This could be installed with octave, but it wouldn't work without a functioning
etags program.  Or it could be made into a very small octave-otags package,
requiring emacs to be installed.

octave-otags wouldn't even have to compile, since it only contains shell script
and man page.  Does it make sense to package something like this separately
from  octave?  If so, 1) what is the packaging protocol for something that
doesn't require compilation; 2) How would one express an "or" condition in the
setup.hint, as in requires emacs or emacs-x11?


Jim Phillips

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