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Re: display-buffer-alist simplifications

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: display-buffer-alist simplifications
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 18:10:30 +0900

David Kastrup writes:

 > One aim of the GNU project is empowering users.  An interface that
 > requires relying on highly competent special users and/or extensive
 > experimentation (which often leads to results relying on undefined
 > artifacts of the current behavior) is not conducive in that regard.

That criticism applies to all of Emacs in greater or lesser degree,
mostly greater IMHO.

But that's not important.  My main claim is that the important
question is not "is the interface complex?"  Rather it is, "is the
power available with a simpler interface?"  If the answer is "no" (and
I believe that is true for the problems addressed by XEmacs specifiers
-- a generalization of "defface" as Juri points out -- and by Martin's
specifiers), then the question becomes, "shall we have a complex
interface that empowers some users more than others, or shall we have
a procrustean interface that ensures all users have equal and low
capability?"  Emacs obviously has to go for the former; we'll never be
able to equal "Notepad" in the latter. ;-)

 > If you look closely, you'll find a high correlation between "David
 > is ranting again" and "this won't work without additional
 > resources".

Yeah, well, GNU Emacs won't run on an 8086, either, you need
additional resources.

That's not to say that your ranting isn't a service to the community;
it certainly is.  But you shouldn't stand in the way of necessary
complexity (unless you can show it isn't really necessary!)

 > Just a few days ago the CEDET guys had to suffer that.

Different case, IIUC.  AIUI the resource CEDET is missing is a central
piece of "the preferred form for making changes to the software."  I
find it incomprehensible that CEDET was permitted to be installed in
Emacs in that state (or perhaps I misunderstand the issue), but it's
not my problem.

 > > Specifiers are one thing that nobody in the SXEmacs fork has suggested
 > > getting rid of, by the way.
 > You can only get rid of things you understand.

The SXEmacs developers understand fine, as do many XEmacs users.  Your
situation is different; you aren't an XEmacs user except to the extent
that you support a few XEmacs users who also happen to use AUCTeX.
You had every right to complain, although it was less than gracious of
you to refuse to review the rewrite of the documents you complained so
vociferously about.

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