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bug#33050: 27.0.50; [macOS] Problem with process input with process-conn

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: bug#33050: 27.0.50; [macOS] Problem with process input with process-connection-type nil
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 10:00:31 +0300

> From: Thomas Fitzsimmons <address@hidden>
> Cc: Filipp Gunbin <address@hidden>,  address@hidden,  address@hidden
> Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2018 21:41:34 -0400
> > I don't understand why: using nil process-connection-type for programs
> > that prompt the user is a bug anyway.
> I'm interested to know why you think this is a bug (or even not
> preferable) in the specific case of ldap.el.  When ldap.el calls
> ldapsearch, ldapsearch doesn't prompt the user for the password
> directly.  ldap.el (having pre-read the password into Elisp by various
> means) runs the command, and, in response to its prompt, sends it the
> password.

First, I must apologize in advance: I might be mis-interpreting the
situation, because I don't use ldap.el or ldapsearch.  In that case,
what I said before and what I say below might not make sense.

That said, my rationale was simple: _any_ program that interacts with
the user will generally behave better when connected through pty than
when connected through a pipe, because the former looks and feels as a
terminal, and thus will cause the program to use the appropriate
buffering, will support terminal-only features like various escape
sequences, cursor control, job control, etc.  Using pipes will
probably work in most cases, but might fail in some of them, so good
engineering tells us to prefer pty's, like the ELisp manual says.

> I re-read the Elisp "Asynchronous Processes" node; when I was deciding
> how to set process-connection-type, I think I was following the
> _underlined_ part in:
>    [...] If available, ptys are usually preferable for processes visible
>    to the user, as in Shell mode, because they allow for job control
>    (‘C-c’, ‘C-z’, etc.) between the process and its children, and
>    because interactive programs treat ptys as terminal devices, whereas
>    pipes don’t support these features.  However, _for subprocesses used
>    by Lisp programs for internal purposes, it is often better to use a
>    pipe_, because pipes are more efficient, and because they are immune
>    to stray character injections that ptys introduce for large (around
>    500 byte) messages.  Also, the total number of ptys is limited on
>    many systems and it is good not to waste them.
> Given that ldapsearch can operate over a pipe (i.e., doesn't need
> terminal features, seems to be unaffected by buffering), and is used for
> internal purposes (i.e., is not visible to the user) isn't pipe mode
> preferable for the reasons given there?

Not in my opinion, no.  AFAIU, the efficiency considerations don't
really apply here, since the amount of data exchanged is small

All in all, I consider the "however" part above too vague to be useful
(what exactly does "internal purposes" mean in this context?).  I
think it's even slightly misleading.  I'll think about rewording it to
make the point more clear and the decision easier.

> But if ldap.el's current setting of process-connection-type really
> is a flat out bug then the Elisp manual might need clarification or
> stronger language about when not to set it to "pipe mode".


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