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bug#20968: 25.0.50; Be able to specify the output directory for `byte-co

From: Drew Adams
Subject: bug#20968: 25.0.50; Be able to specify the output directory for `byte-compile-file'
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2015 07:55:55 -0700 (PDT)

> > I don't necessarily disagree with the first part.  I won't be
> > using this feature myself, in any case.
> Who will?

Perhaps someone like the user who asked how to be able to easily
keep *.elc separate from *.el (without moving after compilation).

> > Anyway, I won't argue strongly for this, but I also don't (yet)
> > see it as something undesirable or unsurmountable.
> What would be the reason for providing such a feature?  (Yes, I've
> read that discussion; no, I don't see why the user wanted this.)

Well, there was the reason given by the OP, which you apparently
reject.  Flexibility is another reason.

Why should the target dir be hardwired to the source dir?  Testing
might be a reason for the enhancement: quickly remove the *.elc dir
from `load-path' to take byte-compilation complications out of the
equation.  Having different compilation dirs for different Emacs
versions could be another argument for such flexibility.

Is there a compelling reason, beyond "we've always done without
this", not to let users specify the output dir?

But I'm not here to argue about this.  If you don't see the point
of such an enhancement then just move on.

Or seize the opportunity to instead rant about non-GNU Emacs forums...

> If you dwell a lot on those sites, how about encouraging people to
> use the Emacs forums, where they will get definitive answers,
> instead of talking to random people (present company excluded) on
> Stack-foo?

If you visited emacs.SE and StackOverflow (tag `emacs') occasionally,
you might observe that that is **EXACTLY** what I do do.  Far more
than anyone else, BTW.  And I encourage them to file bug reports if
they think they've found a bug or have an enhancement suggestion.

And most importantly (IMO), I try to teach them how to, and I
encourage them to, *ASK EMACS* first and foremost, instead of
immediately asking questions in a knee-jerk way.

Why not inform yourself a little before tossing out such advice?
Amazing that you would try to pooh-pooh helping Emacs users, in
any venu.  Tell it to Stefan.  Or Malabarba.  Or any number of
other people who try to help Emacs users on such sites.  They are
the same people (present company excepted) who try to help Emacs
users on address@hidden etc.

> I cannot for the life of me figure out why these sites are so
> popular,

Think harder.  Find out more about such sites - how they work,
how they don't work.

> given that Emacs has such a helpful community and such
> a good documentation.  Fashion and bad habits are the only
> explanations I came up with.

Another explanation: Many people, especially young people, do not
read documentation these days.  Q&A seems easy, and "these sites"
actually do do a good job of responding to questions.  Like it or

You can call anything like this (e.g., not being apt to read doc)
a "bad habit".  But the effect of community help on such sites is
undeniable.  And you might well be surprised at the 3rd-party Emacs
code development that has come out of help provided on "such sites".

You want to vent about such sites - fine.  I have NO problem with
that.  This is not the best place for it, perhaps, but you are
welcome to do it, if it makes you feel better.

I filed this enhancement request because the suggested change
sounds to me like it could be useful.  So far, I haven't seen
any reason expressed against it (beyond the fact that it hasn't
been done before).  But if you don't find it useful then don't
bother with it.  Simple.

But I wouldn't mind an answer, for my curiosity: What's a good
reason not to let users specify the output directory?

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