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Eliminating "changed in Emacs outside of Customize"

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Eliminating "changed in Emacs outside of Customize"
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 19:03:29 -0500

Could you tell us the reason why you designed Custom to recognize a
state of "changed in Emacs outside of Customize"?  It would be cleaner
if we could just eliminate that, and make Custom treat values assigned
outside Custom just the same as values assigned within Custom.  Is
there some reason why this would be hard to do or would cause trouble?

Also, I second this request for more internal documentation of how
Custom works.  Can you write some explanations of this?

It would help to have an overview explanation of what the possible customize
states are, and what actions/events cause which state changes - IOW a state
transition machine description.

For instance, it would help to have a table of the correspondances (and
state changes) between the various :custom-state values (hidden, customized,
changed, modified, set, rogue, uknown, invalid, standard, nil) and the
various symbol properties `customize-value', `customized-face',
`saved-variable', `saved-value', `saved-face', `standard-value',
`customized-variable', `customized-variable-comment', `backup-value', etc.

And a little more explanation in `custom-magic-alist' would help - it's not
clear, for instance, just which :custom-state's correspond to "changed
outside Customize", or what the differences are between `set' ("set but not
saved"), `changed' ("changed temporarily"), `modified' ("modified, and has a
valid form"), and `invalid' ("modified, but has a valid form").

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