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Re: ehelp woes, or why I hate a module that I love so much

From: Juanma Barranquero
Subject: Re: ehelp woes, or why I hate a module that I love so much
Date: Thu, 04 Jul 2002 09:58:50 +0200

On Wed, 3 Jul 2002 14:57:25 -0600 (MDT), Richard Stallman <address@hidden> 

> In terms of benefit for *all* users, this is at least a thousand times
> as important as any work on ehelp.  Maybe a hundred thousand times as
> important.

Yeah, well, with that logic we all should sort together the TODO in
order of decreasing importance and start implementing things from the
top down, never stepping aside nor jumping over boring things...

But that kind of situation tends to make developers lose interest really
fast. How many have left Emacs development because the things they were
interested in are (sometimes actively) discouraged? And, with your
argument, what's the relative importance of integrating Guile, when
Emacs already has a fine and tested extension language? Why replace
something that works, instead of focusing on developing new features more
oriented towards the *user*, as oposed as the developer (who's the only
one that will, perhaps, get any improvement from Guile)? The hundred of
thousands of users implied in your message aren't interested in
programming Emacs, just using it and customizing it (through Customize).
Fixing/expanding desktop.el and figuring a way to save and restore
sessions in a proper and well-defined way is a lot more useful to them
that half the items in etc/TODO.

I'm not trying to be polemic here, just pointing out that we don't have
a clear-cut model of development where it is perfectly clear what's
important and what's not. Perhaps we need it, I don't know. Maybe we
should establish a Master Plan and start assigning tasks and actively
pursuing them. But meanwhile, every fix and every improvement that does
not conflict with the Emacs philosophy and that makes the developer feel
proud is good in my view, even if it seems insignificant. Yesterday I
spent two hours hunting down typos. I'm *sure* most Emacs users won't
ever notice, but personally I feel a lot more confortable when I do C-h C-f
some-function and don't see mispellings in its docstring. With your view,
I should be ashamed of spending the time on this, instead of doing some
worthwhile work.

Sure internationalizing Emacs is a lot more important than hacking ehelp.
OTOH, perhaps I'm able to fix ehelp's problems by myself but I wouldn't
be able to gettextize Emacs unless I have the help of a more experienced

Anyway, if an expert with some knowledge of gettext plans to start
internationalizing Emacs in the near future, I promise to help in that
as much as I can.


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