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Re: files.el: Patch to make project-settings optional/customizable

From: Juanma Barranquero
Subject: Re: files.el: Patch to make project-settings optional/customizable
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 09:39:17 +0100

On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 03:01, Stefan Monnier <address@hidden> wrote:

> Do you advocate making "Local Variables:" in hack-local-variables
> customizable as well?  If you think one deserves customization, then I'd
> argue that the other deserves it just as well.

I'd argue that, too, but the uses are quite different. Most "Local
Variables:" sections I will encounter are not of my doing; if I change
that string, I'll have incompatibilities all around.

But that is not true with ".dir-settings.el". I'm not involved in many
shared projects, nor likely to be. Bets are that all (or almost all)
.dir-settings.el I'll ever find will be my own, in my own projects. It
makes perfect sense for me to change that name to something "better"
(for subjective values of better). If my assumption is wrong and I
find that I'm really running into incompatibilities, I can change it
back. But the incompatibility is theoretic; the wish to use a better
name is real.

> As far as I can tell, the only reason people want to customize it is
> because they find the default choice ugly.  I.e. for purely aesthetic
> reasons.  This is a pretty poor justification for introducing complexity
> and incompatibilities between projects.

The complexity of a defvar is negligible (as I've said, I don't think
it merits being documented in the manual). As for aesthetic reasons,
that's why we allow changing almost every filename or path used by
most Emacs packages.

And, regarding incompatibility: why do you assume the first thing
people will do is change the value? It is really hard for the user to
grasp a comment saying "DO NOT change unless you're aware of the

> As for its name: we're not wedded to it, AFAIK.  It was the result of
> a pretty long thread, so it's not going to be easy to find something
> else that's more or less consensual.  But for starters, if people could
> argue about why it's "ugly", maybe we can tweak it.

I'm no big believer in restarting already settled discussions for
"aesthetic reasons". That's why I strongly believe it is better to let
those who want to change it to do so: because there is no good value
that will look nice to everyone. No amount of discussion is going to
change that.


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