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Re: bidi-display-reordering is now non-nil by default

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: bidi-display-reordering is now non-nil by default
Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:23:13 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

>> From: David Kastrup <address@hidden>
>> Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 12:35:40 +0200
>> Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:
>> > Maybe.  Bidi is a feature of display, i.e. it's impossible to
>> > correctly display text in some scripts without it.  With today's deep
>> > and wide m17n, whereby file names and network addresses can use R2L
>> > characters, saying "my mode doesn't have bidi" is tantamount to saying
>> > "my mode doesn't support certain cultures".
>> Emacs is a desktop environment with at best marginal
>> internationalization, and editing texts is only a small part of its
>> functionality.  I think it is delusional to prescribe that all modes and
>> programming languages should in the name of culture-friendliness be
>> thought of as bidirectional by default when virtually no aspect of
>> Emacs' user interfaces (short of tutorials in multiple languages)
>> departs from English.
> I wasn't talking about the UI, I was talking mainly about the text we
> display in the window.  For example, Dired mode can say "I have no
> bidi", but then it will display file names that use R2L characters in
> a way that makes them barely readable.

Because of a setting of bidi-paragraph-direction to left-to-right?  I
should be surprised.

> Rmail can say "I have no bidi", but then email messages written in R2L
> scripts will be unreadable.  Etc., etc.  This happens because R2L
> scripts from outside Emacs seep into Emacs, whether we want that or
> not.

Aren't you confusing the arguments for the setting of
bidi-paragraph-direction with that of bidi-display-reordering?

> Btw, some small portion of this leaks into the UI as well.  For
> example, the name of a buffer that visits a file whose name includes
> R2L characters will be displayed in the mode line and in the
> appropriate menu items.

And you would consider it a good idea if the mode line flipped its
orientation depending on the first directional letter in it?

> So, while it's true that the Emacs is only marginally
> internationalized, the environment in which we work every day already
> requires that even the UI should support bidi.  Otherwise, users who
> _really_ need bidi will not be satisfied, and will turn to other
> applications for their needs.  The net effect will be that the
> addition of bidi to Emacs will become a futile exercise.

I think you got your priorities mixed up.  There is a different between
supporting bidirectional text editing, and applauding side-effects of
the implementation showing up where they serve no purpose.

If you don't want to have people disable bidi-display-reordering as a
sanity measure (and .emacs cross-pollination is an annoying but rather
present fact of life), you better be conservative with making
bidi-paragraph-direction assume a default setting causing significant
regressions where they serve no purpose even for people using R2L
languages regularly.

David Kastrup

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