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Re: Customize buttons that change user'scustomfileshouldaskforconfirmati

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Customize buttons that change user'scustomfileshouldaskforconfirmation
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 19:25:32 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Robert J. Chassell" <address@hidden> writes:

> Customize is a can of worms.  But the worms can improve the garden
> if handled rightly!
> As others feared years ago, I now fear that some will come to depend
> on their .emacs file being written automatically by Customize.

So what?

> They will lose or not gain an understanding of the technology.

So what?

> This applies especially to people who are not programmers and who do
> not wish to become programmers.

I don't see why I should disregard their wishes.

> Customize should always show what it is automatically writing, just
> as menu items always show key strokes, so anyone can become more
> expert and more efficient if he or she wants.

I disagree very strongly.  Customize is more complicated than just a
few setq-default (we have setter functions and stuff), and so all you
can say is what custom-set-variable action is being taken.  And
anybody who wants or needs to know this for editing a .emacs file can
look right into the .emacs file.

> This does not force anyone to learn anything, but it makes that
> learning easy.

It is distracting for no good reason.  I think this as misguided as
the wish of a mechanic that no dashboard should conceil the
electronics of a car.  The whole point of the dashboard is making it
possible to focus on what you need for your daily tasks.  The purpose
of Customize is to channel the operations of the user into a
controlled subset that works.  It is a bad idea to suggest to the user
that he is gaining anything by tampering around himself: missing or
too many parens, additional or missing quoting and so on can render a
.emacs file completely inoperative.  The whole story is there in the
Emcas Lisp manual if you desire it.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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