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Re: please put version timestamp inside .el files

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: please put version timestamp inside .el files
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 14:50:08 +0300

On 14 May 2001, Dan Jacobson wrote:

> >>>>> "RMS" == Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:
> Dan>     OK, I hope so, otherwise it would be sort of like "non-open source
> Dan>     code"... at least as far as timestamps are concerned.
> RMS> We don't support the open source movement anyway, so whether we are
> RMS> "open source" is not a matter of particular concern.
> No I was meaning that the situation was not even up to the level of
> openness that perhaps some of the open-source guys would accept, not
> to mention the free-source guys.
> The bad thing I'm taking about is that the emacs developers would have
> a clear, handy and certain view of each emacs lisp .el file's
> modification time, whereas the emacs end user would have to go thru
> hoops to get it

I think you are making a popular mistake of confusing ``Free Software'' 
with ``unlimited access to the development process''.

As far as I understand, project which wants to be Free Software is 
required to provide, for each _released_ version, the full sources and 
all the auxiliary files needed to recreate that released version.  There 
are no requirements to do anything about development code or unreleased 
versions.  (Of course, a maintainer can do so if she so wishes.)

> Where in the past has the GNU end user not had the same view of GNU
> software as the GNU developer?

An end user almost never has the same view of a project as the 

Anyway, IMHO this part of the discussion is becoming off-topic here.  If 
you want to discuss the philosophy of this, please take this discussion 
to gnu.misc.discuss or some other appropriate forum.

> Anyway, preventing this information "monopoly" precedent from starting
> would only cost 0.01% increase in GNU software size, I'm guessing.

As I said (and you cited), this is not done to monopolize information, 
but because keeping the RCS tags complicated maintenance.

> Eli> Past experience shows that this makes all kinds of trouble for Emacs
> Eli> maintenance.
> Can't there be some kind of auto timestamp mode enabled...

That would cause even more problems.  These tags and timestamps cause 
files to look as if they changed when no real changes were done.

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