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Re: Emacs Package Management

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Emacs Package Management
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 15:18:10 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.50 (gnu/linux)

In order to move forward on this thing, here's what I'd like to have as
a first step: the equivalent of `dpkg', i.e. an elisp package that can
take a package (a tarball, most likely) and "install it", list the set
of installed packages, uninstall a package.

An important feature for me is that this should be able to "install
without making available", so you can install various conflicting
packages at the same time (e.g. different versions of Gnus).

So basically, the installation process would distinguish the following
- install: may include byte-compiling and things like that
- activate: eval the autoload declarations, adjust the load-path, ...
- make available: setup the .emacs so that the package gets activated
  at startup.

Activation should be done by loading a single file.  I.e. "make
available" is nothing more than add a (load "/foo/bar/baz") in the

This "dpkg"-equivalent may also want to do dependency checking, although
this is not absolutely necessary for the first step.

As you can see, this first step is independent from the place and the
manner we upload&download the packages, so we can work on it, while we
figure out the repository part of the problem.


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