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RE: always put Customizations in `custom-file', never in `user-init-file

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: always put Customizations in `custom-file', never in `user-init-file'
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 15:08:30 -0800

> > Now that we have a good alternative (`custom-file'), I
> > think that should be used exclusively.
> The alternative has always been there, in what cases is it not used now?

If `custom-file' is nil, then Customizations are added to `user-init-file'.
They are not added to a separate custom file.

> When custom was first introduced, the default name for this file was
> .custom.el, so the decision to put everything in .emacs where the user
> can find it was a concious one, probably for good reasons.

I assumed it was a conscious one.

The good reasons at that time (can anyone state them?) might no longer be so
good. They might have included not wanting to disturb existing habits, such
as expecting all customization code to be in .emacs. Or perhaps the
potential problems were not sufficiently considered at that time. Who knows?

And that decision could not benefit from hindsight. Encouraging users to
edit their own customizations in a file that also contains Customize
customizations (which generally should not be edited) is just asking for

I am sure (but I have no proof) that it has caused some users trouble. I am
convinced (but you can change my mind) that such trouble can reasonably be
avoided by keeping Customize away from `user-init-file'.

You are welcome to restate any pertinent arguments from that discussion of
so long ago. Without seeing the arguments, however,...

I think there is a problem. It's generally unclean to mix automatically
generated code with user-edited code in the same file. Let's hear arguments
about the problem (really a problem or not?) or the solution (what I
suggested or another).

> I certainly disagree with your proposal to restrict the value
> of custom file to actively prevent users from putting
> customizations in their user-init-file,

What restriction are you referring to? No one suggested preventing users
from putting customizations in `user-init-file'. That's what
`user-init-file' is for, after all!

What I suggested was preventing Customize from putting Customize
customizations (custom-set-*) in `user-init-file'. I explicitly said that:

>>   I think it was probably a mistake ever to have put
>>   Customize customizations into a file intended for editing.

> and [I certainly disagree] with having Emacs move
> customizations that are already there.

And your reason is?  ("I certainly disagree" is not a reason.)

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