[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Release plans

From: Thomas Lord
Subject: Re: Release plans
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 09:31:06 -0700
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20060808)

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
Alan Mackenzie writes:

 > The analysis from you and Tom falls short of mathematical perfection.
 > Unless I'm mistaken, it focusses purely on the effects it would have on
 > knowledgeable automous hackers.

I don't speak for Tom, but my analysis falls short of perfection.  As
I say, you should apply such standard to yourself, as well.

My analysis falls short of perfection as well, but by the
perfect amount, of course.

Seriously, Alan is being kind of read-only here.   Nothing
I've said limits attention to only the "effects [...] on
knowledgeable [autonomous] hackers."

 > You and T regard only the freedom of the informed automous hacker
 > as important.

I am very offended.  I could not have imagined that you would stoop so

Moreover, neither of us has written anything that suggests
we even consider "informed autonomous hackers" as a special

 > I don't think you see the point I'm making, and your analysis is
 > oblivious to that point, so I disregard it.  Maybe.

No.  I understand your point.  "Introducing a module loader could
cause Emacs to become non-free."  That's scary.

In the light of day, though, I don't believe it's going to happen.

For the record, where Stephen and I take different tacks is
that Stephen argues that scary outcome is improbable.   I don't
bother (since it ultimately is just speculation).   Rather, I'm willing
to assume (without proof, and although I believe it unlikely) that
non-free add-ons will appear and be popular.    That is still no
argument against the feature, which ought to be judged by what
*free software* it can give rise to.

 > Tom, in his reply, simply failed to address this central issue of
 > my post.  An apology, please.

I'm not in a position to apologize on behalf of Tom.
I repeatedly stipulated that, sure, let's assume the "worst case"
outcome is certain (although we don't have any good reason to
believe that, really).

 > Up to now, you and Tom have been asserting that calling external binaries
 > is critically important and very useful.

No, I haven't.

I've said that it can be, if well designed.   I like some of the
use ideas Stephen is putting forward. Other use ideas:
Link in a DOM library and add new lisp types for

Link in database clients (MySQL?,  DB XML, Exist, etc.).

Link in incremental parsers for various programming languages
(for syntax directed editing modes).

Link in various scripting language interpreters.


It could well be that GNU Emacs is essentially moribund
no matter what is done (dynamic loader or no).  I certainly
can't predict with certainty that a dynamic loader would
be used or for what.   On general principles and by analogy
to the history of other systems (e.g., Apache), dynamic loaders
do get used, in clever ways, and help turn a lot of separate
programs into a recombinant toolkit of components.   Meanwhile,
they don't complicate the internals of a program very much
at all and are easy to maintain.

The biggest drawbacks to them are:

a) It complicates bug report handling to have to always
ask "What versions of which add-ons did you have loaded?"

b) Creating a stable, portable, useful API requires some
thought and doing a poor job of it is probably worse than
not doing the job at all.


 I've simply said I don't see enough risk, even given
the nightmarish consequences you envision, to outweigh the benefits I

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]