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RE: `custom-file' and init-file [was: user-controlled load-pathextension

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: `custom-file' and init-file [was: user-controlled load-pathextension: load-dir]
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2011 13:39:39 -0800

> |    By itself, that wouldn't clue users in.  A separate
> |    question would be whether to also have an (almost)
> |    empty `.emacs' by default, containing just an explicit
> |    load of `custom-file'.  I'd say yes.
> Out of curiosity, would this complicate the process of Emacs
> installation?

Dunno.  Don't think so.

> Is the idea that the first time a user runs
> Emacs, it checks to see if there is a .emacs in (getenv
> "HOME"), and if not, creates it?

Yes.  That is one possibility.
(Of course, emacs -Q would act as now: ignore any init file.)

> Would that complicate things for system administrators?

Dunno.  Why would it?

> Presumably they should
> use site-init.el, but I know some add some kind of simple
> .emacs file to the user account creation routine.

Well if the sysadmins give their users a standard (for their organization)
default .emacs, then that would be used, no?  IOW, presumably they or the user
would put that file in the user's $HOME, so it would be picked up by Emacs -
same as now.  I don't see anything changing here.

> By the way, for the default location of the custom file, I
> would suggest ~/.emacs.d.

Sounds good to me.

But see also the other possibility discussed in the referenced thread and
mentioned again today by Stephen: we autoload `custom-file' after the .emacs,
etc.  Either way is fine with me, and there are no doubt other possibilities.

The basic idea is to give the user a `custom-file' by default (empty), and have
Emacs automatically load it.  Users would still have control over whether and
when to load it.

Customizations by Customize would always go to the `custom-file', unless
`custom-file' raises an error.  (Or is some particular value - see the thread
for other possibilities here.)  The point is that we would make sure that users
would still have the possibility of not using `custom-file' at all and thus
having Customize write to .emacs instead. That just would not be the default

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