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bug#20322: 25.0.50; indent-tabs-mode should default to nil


From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: bug#20322: 25.0.50; indent-tabs-mode should default to nil
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:36:57 +0300

> Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:17:06 +0300
> From: Dmitry Gutov <address@hidden>
> CC: address@hidden
> 
> On 04/17/2015 10:26 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> 
> > Yes, I know that.  I'm saying that this default doesn't bother me, as
> > long as the modes that I care about still default to non-nil.
> 
> It seems that you won't object to changes as long as they don't affect 
> your our experience, even if you'd just have to change one line in your 
> init.el.

This argument goes both ways, you know.

And no, it's not only my experience, as I mentioned more than once in
this thread.

> > I meant "need" as in "most users of that language already use spaces".
> 
> So, you're open to considering C and C++ in this context, too?

Yes, except that there I have strong views, unlike with most other
languages.

Are _you_ open to leaving C and C++ at their current defaults?  What
would it take to convince you doing that?

> > I don't consider GitHub to be a representative sample for this matter.
> 
> Maybe not, but it's a sample we can research. And Emacs could do worse 
> than become more friendly to the modern-ish audience.
> 
> Do you have a better sample in mind?

I gave you mine.  I've seen, and still see, a lot of C/C++ code
written by others, and they all mix spaces and tabs.

> > I don't see any complications.  Doesn't everyone have their own hooks
> > for every language they use, anyway?  I know I do, since almost the
> > first day I started using Emacs.  That hook is the place where users
> > could customize the variable, if they don't the defaults.
> 
> The members of those "everyone" shouldn't be bothered with a change in 
> one tiny default value anyway.

True.  But changing long-lived defaults always annoys people; you can
see evidence to that on help-gnu-emacs almost every day.  So we
shouldn't change them without a very good reason.  And I don't see one
in this case.

> I think you're overestimating the savvy-ness of an average Emacs user. 
> Not every beginner is fine with writing Elisp (some spend years without 
> doing so), and the more effort a user's first steps in Emacs take, the 
> more likely they are to settle for something else, because they haven't 
> yet been properly exposed to Emacs's benefits yet.

I think you underestimate the widespread use of Google and questions
asked on stack-overflow and such likes.  People simply collect
snippets from there and paste them into their .emacs.  Problem solved.

> That's why I think the default are important, and that they shouldn't 
> take the entrenched user base so much into account.

But there's nothing wrong with this particular default.  It doesn't
reduce any functionality.  Users that aren't annoyed enough will learn
to live with it; those with higher motivation will discover how to
change that soon enough.  There's no real problem here.  Unlike other
arguments we had about changing defaults (font-lock, colors, and menus
come to mind), this one does not affect any functionality at all.

> > See above; and it doesn't have to be a lambda function, of course.
> > Mine has a name (my-c-stuff, if you want to know) and a doc string.
> 
> I also use hooks quite a bit in my init script.

I think everyone and their dog do.

> > We are talking about programmers, for whom having a mode hook is not a
> > problem.
> 
> Not necessarily Emacs Lisp programmers, though.

I don't think this matters much.  When you customize a package, you do
that in whatever extension language that package provides.  The
important aspect here is that programmers are less more likely to
become intimidated by the need to make such customizations, in
whatever language.





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