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

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: bidi-display-reordering is now non-nil by default
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 14:56:22 +0300

> From: David Kastrup <address@hidden>
> Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 13:27:47 +0200
> Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:
> > You are dead wrong: I have no activism stance in this matter.  I
> > actually don't care.  My job was to give Emacs infrastructure upon
> > which bidi-aware features could be built.  That job is almost done,
> > modulo bugs that will show during the pretest.
> And that is an important job that makes Emacs usable for a new audience.
> It won't make it pretty for the new audience, but Emacs is not really
> pretty except for users comfortable with an English interface.

There's nothing in Emacs yet to present an interface that is not
English.  I actually considered coding a couple of features to make it
possible for the UI to be displayed right-to-left, but eventually
decided against it, because it didn't make sense to do that for Emacs
that doesn't support localized UI at all.  (There are comments in the
code and a TODO item for someone who will want to implement UI
direction control in the future.)

However, what we are talking about here is not the interface, it's the
ability to edit bidirectional text.  Typing non-English text in Emacs
is dead simple, for quite some time, as simple as in any other
application on the same platform.  It is as "pretty" as it gets.

> > The rest is the responsibility of those unnamed "external maintainers
> > of modes"--they are free not to care about catering to the hundreds of
> > millions of readers of R2L scripts enough to adapt: it's their
> > funeral.
> Nope, it is Emacs' funeral if one can't expect it to produce consistent
> results without lots of changes all across third party code bases.

If you think support for bidirectional scripts can come without "lots
of changes" where it matters, you are in the pipe dream land.  Sorry,
that's life.  Look how any bidi-aware HTML needs to use the equivalent
directives in order to DTRT--there's a lesson here to be learned.

> My position is that we should be quite conservative with changing its
> behavior for pure L2R material, or requiring such changes from
> third-party code authors.

If we can do that, fine.  The design and implementation of the bidi
infrastructure followed this principle from day one.  But sometimes,
there's nothing you can do except change the code in higher levels.
After all, breaking the assumption that "before" in the buffer means
"to the left" on the screen is an extremely fundamental change.  Any
code that depends on that assumption will need to do _something_ to
produce legible display.

Now, if someone can show a way to fix this use case in Emacs
infrastructure such as `format', I'm all ears.  You raised the idea,
but never explained it in enough details to judge it.  However, from
what I gather, your suggestion means changes in 3rd party code anyway
(e.g., use a special format specifier).

> There is no way that I can make you acknowledge something you choose
> to ignore.

Your views are not ignored, they were carefully considered and

> But since you are not the only Emacs developer, raising the issues
> may still make them register with others.

I would be more than thrilled to see someone to come on board and

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