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Re: Installation, activation and setup of packages (e.g. Gnus)

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Installation, activation and setup of packages (e.g. Gnus)
Date: Tue, 05 Jan 2010 14:43:33 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.91 (gnu/linux)

> Well, this can be debated for a while.

I don't think there's much to debate: when the admin installs a user
package, it can't automatically configure it for all the users
(especially not for the users that haven't yet been created).
Sometimes, some part of the package depends on site data, so that part
might be configured when the admin installs the package, but usually
this is very limited (e.g. in the case of Gnus, the admin might set the
DNS name of the local NNTP server [tho I'd sadly expect nowadays that
for most admins there's simply no such local NNTP server to specify]).

> I think users expect an installed package to work (Gnus doesn't do
> much if just installed) and it's convenient to set it up when
> installed instead of later.

When I start `evolution', it doesn't "just work": it starts by running
the wizard.  How could my sysadmin know that I read my email from
imap.iro.umontreal.ca rather than pop.teksavvy.com?

> System packages these days are commonly set up like that, e.g. Postfix
> on a Debian system asks several basic setup questions IIRC.

The key word above is "System": Postfix is a *system* package, Gnus isn't.

> 1) at least show a message when installing Gnus that the first-time
> assistant can be run with commands X and Y.  If the session is
> interactive, ask the user if he wants to do it now.  This requires some
> package.el support.

It might be a good idea to let the package management run a wizard when
a user package is installed by a user (or when a system package is
installed, tho there are very few Emacs system packages).

> 2) make Gnus smarter about starting up without any configuration.  The
> assistant should run automatically in this case.

Sounds fine.  But that's a Gnus issue, unrelated to packaging.

> GMail should have a specific setup path since it's so popular.

I definitely do not want Emacs to encourage the use of GMail over any
other service.


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