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Re: user-controlled load-path extension: load-dir

From: Ted Zlatanov
Subject: Re: user-controlled load-path extension: load-dir
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2011 14:46:59 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.110014 (No Gnus v0.14) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

On Fri, 4 Mar 2011 12:25:22 -0800 Chad Brown <address@hidden> wrote: 

CB> On Mar 4, 2011, at 11:54 AM, Ted Zlatanov wrote:
>> The only reason I can think why this would not be acceptable is
>> security.  Otherwise this makes a lot of sense.
>> For security I would propose checksumming any code in the load-dir and
>> when new files are added or existing files are changed, query the user
>> and store a file checksum in an alist.

CB> This would have to happen the first time the user loaded any package,
CB> or you have no security. If you do this the first time the user has
CB> loaded any package, you have removed the `automatically' part of your
CB> proposed system, which is the only real advantage it has.

No.  This query is only for Lisp code placed in the load-dir, not for
packages in general.  So you'd have the query as part of the el-get
installation for instance and it wouldn't show up again.  Compare with
Mac OS X which does this for new applications you've downloaded from the
net, alerting the very first time.

CB> The only way your proposal seems (to me) to be an improvement is if we
CB> train users to ignore the security questions and just always click on
CB> I agree'.  I hope you agree that that isn't a good idea.

It's not a good idea, but it's not what I'm describing either.  This
query should show up very rarely, not all the time.  It's meant for
bootstrapping and for user code.  If more than one file needs to be
approved the user could use `Y' instead of `y', but in any case the
query would be very rare.

CB> Modern users have been trained to expect `Extensions' and `Add-Ons',
CB> and don't seem to mind picking from a list (for things like FireFox, a
CB> very large list with many overlapping choices). I think that's a
CB> better user model to follow.

Let's take an example.  I have 10 pieces of code related to Emacs I want
to load.  Do I have to explicitly list them in my .emacs?  Or can I just
put them in a directory?  The former is twice the work since I have to
put them in some directory anyhow and puts the synchronization burden on
me.  So I can write some Lisp to do the discovery and load them
automatically... which is what I'm offering for everyone's benefit (with
some security features).  I already do this for myself so I can propose
a patch or a package quickly :)

Package management is not what I'm proposing.  The package manager
*installation* would write a bootstrapper piece of code that has to be
approved *once*.  So while the load-dir is useful for installing el-get,
I don't think el-get is the only reason to adopt it.


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