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Re: Don't concat directories to file names

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Don't concat directories to file names
Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 14:16:18 +0900

Richard Stallman writes:

 >     >> Then the recently introduced `user-emacs-directory' should be renamed
 >     >> to `user-init-directory',
 >     >
 >     > Indeed.  Please: could someone do that?
 >     Er, well, "init" seems ... wrong.  It's used for more than "init files".
 > I agree.  "config" is also wrong; this is not just used for
 > configurations.

The question is not how the directory is used; it is how the variable
is used.  To XEmacs-the-program, and its subsystems, the operational
meaning is "when you [re]*init*[ialize] the environment, the *user*'s
configuration files may be found in this *directory*."  This includes
the auto-autoloads for packages when the user cannot or prefers to not
install in the system load-path, for whatever reason.

True, if the auto-autoloads are there, then the rest of the package
(and infrastructure) are there too.  Many XEmacs users do things like
keep sources to private libraries and personal data files there, of
course.  But XEmacs and its subsystems know nothing about that!  They
find packaged code through `load-path', not `user-init-directory', and
they find data through `data-directory-list'.  So it seems
*preferable* that the variable name not indicate such usage.  Rather,
subsystems should use it to initialize standard paths so that `load'
and `locate-data-file' Just Work, rather than have subsystems
explicitly referencing `user-emacs-directory'.

If Emacs's use is going to be substantially different, please pick an
appropriate name for that.  But as I understand it, the primary usage
of this *variable* is going to be finding user configuration when
initializing Emacs and its subsystems, as it described above for XEmacs.

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