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Re: Emacs vista build failures

From: Lennart Borgman (gmail)
Subject: Re: Emacs vista build failures
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 17:55:12 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071031 Thunderbird/ Mnenhy/

David Kastrup wrote:
Are you saying that my hacking on the Windows Emacs doesn't benefit
others, including Emacs on other platforms?
You don't have time left for getting Emacs-Bidi to run on any platform,
right?  Now it is, of course, your choice what to spend your developer
time on, like it is everybody other's choice, too.
Maybe the easiest way to give Eli more time for that is give good
support for needed tools on w32?

That sounds suspiciously like "throwing good time after bad time", to
borrow a management term.  It really sounds like a bottomless pit: you
can throw more and more time that way, and the results will be more and
more tasks.

I am surprised, David. Where are your arguments?

At least a lot of my time has been spent working around different
deficiencys in GNU tools and other things needed on w32.

I do not know the reasons for these deficiences, but the deficiences
are there.

I can guess two main reasons for the deficiencies:

1) Lack of knowledge. It is not very common that someone knows both
the GNU/Linux API and the w32 API in depth. A problem of this kind was
the network problem with Emacs client on w32 (which took Juanma quite
a while to solve).

Like most other people I would assume that this kind of problems
should be worked around with libraries when possible. Something ios
maybe wrong when this does not work?

2) The other reason I guess is important is attitude. If a lot of
people with good reputation says that working on w32 is not that
important then those with a more admiring mind might agree without
really diving into the subject. That shows up in code quality later.

I don't see a problem.  If people spend the time on other things than
w32 support, then it is likely better invested.

Why are you just guessing?

Keeping this compatibility in mind means aiming for abstractions and
modularization and APIs which generate whole new subsystems and lots of
independent fragilities.  At each particular point of coding, the
compatibility costs may be tolerable.  But they add up.

The Mozilla folks have done it.

So in addition to the time sink for the proprietary system developers
themselves, our compatibility layers add cruft complicating things for
everyone.  I am not convinced that this offsets the advantages.

It is exactly this attitude I think is a problem. There is not only costs there are also benefits. As long as you do not consider the benefits your arguments are valid - and you will win the debate. But that victory has a cost.

What would it take to convince you?

Again: I am mostly talk and little work, and so I am hardly in a
position to admonish anybody.

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