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Re: how to find out methods for tramp?

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: how to find out methods for tramp?
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 13:24:49 +0000 (UTC)

   Bob, did you read the Tramp manual to get help for setting this up?
   If not, please try that and tell us if it helps you.

Yes, I did read it.  As I wrote earlier, it described the methods
quite well.  But it did not tell me how to choose the best method
efficiently; only to try each method one at a time until one worked.

There are three issues here:

  * Possible bugs in the code.  Kai asked me, and I have sent him, a
    trace.  (One of the non-working sites is using what my successfull
    SSH-connection-in-an-xterm reports as a possibly `old'
    implementation of SSH; the other requires protocol 2 and Tramp
    fails with any SSH configuration that also permits protocol 1.)

  * Inadequately informative error messages.  When Tramp fails, the
    error messages should tell me more as to why it fails:  for
    example, I can successfully use Tramp to list my home directory on
    fp.gnu.org using the `smx' method using yesterday's CVS snapshot,
    started with: emacs -q --no-site-file --eval '(blink-cursor-mode 0)'
    However, when I try the same operation using the `sm' method,
    Tramp fails and tells me only that

        tramp-open-connection-rsh: Wrong type argument: sequencep, 60

    The  *debug tramp/sm fp.gnu.org* provides even less help.

    Neither suggests which of the other 28 or so methods I should use.

  * Confusing documentation.  

    - The existing documentation, which in general I find pretty clear
      is, in this instance somewhat misleading.  It says that `smx'

           ... is useful for users where the normal login shell
           is set up to ask them a number of questions when logging in. 

      In this case, fencepost does not ask me for a number of
      questions.  It asks one question, which is for my password.  So
      if I follow this documentation, I avoid using the `smx' method.
      However, the `smx' method is the method that works.

      Perhaps the problem is that this instance of SSH negotiates a
      series of questions back and forth, and the `sm' method cannot
      handle that.  As a user I have no way of knowing.  After all, as
      I said, to me fencepost asks only one question, which is for my
      password; and the `sm' method is for other SSH connections to
      sites with `mimencode'.

    - Secondly, while the documentation is helpful in saying that `smx'

          ... is also useful for Windows users ...

      since fencepost is, I am pretty sure, a system that can run X,
      which is a windowing system, I am not 100% sure that the
      documentation writer actually means

          `also useful for users running a windowing system such as X or

      Perhaps the writer means 

          `also useful for users running the windowing system
          distributed by the Microsoft Corporation'.

      The problem here occurs because some people support the
      Microsoft Corporation's efforts to deny that windowing systems
      are a generic application invented by Englebart in the 1960s.
      When they refer to a windowing system, they mean only Microsoft
      Windows.  (The Microsoft Corporation has spent a great deal of
      effort in trying to deny the everyday meaning of the word
      `Windows' in the context of computers, going so far as to obtain
      a trademark on the word.)

      When I see the word `Windows', while I presume that most likely
      the speaker is talking about computer windowing systems in their
      everyday meaning, referring to X and to SmallTalk, and
      Englebart's work, I have to recognize that the term is ambiguous
      and may refer only to the windowing system distributed and
      claimed by the Microsoft Corporation.

      The documentation would be clearer if it distinguished among

            any windowing system, such as X, or that produced by the
            Apple Corporation, or that produced by the Microsoft

            the windowing system produced by the Microsoft Corporation

            the X windowing system

    and so on.  And, since people always shorten terms in frequent
    use, shorting `television' to TV (or, in the UK, to `tely'), it is
    reasonable sometimes to shorten specific references to Macintosh
    Windows, X Windows, or Microsoft Windows.

    Robert J. Chassell                  address@hidden
    Rattlesnake Enterprises             http://www.rattlesnake.com

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