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bug#32722: [O] bug#32722: bug#32722: bug#32722: 26.1; Org-publish depend

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: bug#32722: [O] bug#32722: bug#32722: bug#32722: 26.1; Org-publish depend on non-free platform ?
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2018 22:13:45 -0400

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  > There are a handful of references to MELPA inside Emacs.  Are these to
  > be discouraged?

The question is rather broad, so I can only say "it depends".  Whether
a reference to software outside Emacs is good or bad depends on its
semantics -- that is, on what it says _about_ the software that it
references -- and on circumstances.

Here's a general answer in terms of rules and circumstances.

The first question is, does the references tend to encourage,
recommend, or lead users to install and use some outside software?  If
it doesn't, there isn't an issue.  In that case, it would normally be a
comment in the code, not a message shown to the Emacs user.

If it does tend to lead users to install some program, the next
question is, is that program free?  If not, it may be a moral problem,
but that depends.  If the code encourages uses of Emacs by users of
widely used nonfree program Foo, that's ok.  If the code encourages
use of nonfree program Foo by users of Emacs, that's bad, so we should
remove the message _and_ the code immediately.

If the other program is free, the next question is, should this job be
done by part of Emacs, or should it be separate?

If logically it should be a separate program, such as find, GCC or
LaTeX, then it is fine to encourage Emacs users to install it and for
Emacs to invoke it.

If logically it should be part of Emacs, we should arrange to do the
job with code that IS part of Emacs.  We could do that by merging the
program into Emacs, or packaging it with Emacs, if those are possible.
Or we could do it by writing new code.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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