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Re: Changing the default for `send-mail-function'

From: Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen
Subject: Re: Changing the default for `send-mail-function'
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 15:08:35 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.110018 (No Gnus v0.18) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

> Emacs until now didn't require the user to provide the server address.
> At least on Windows, the system mailer (Outlook or whatever) is
> normally already configured, and many times by a person other than the
> one who invoked Emacs.  The latter might not know the address or the
> credentials, or both.  We don't want that to get in the way of an
> Emacs user who wants to report a bug, for example.

It's the same situation on Linux, really.  Today, if you want to send
email on Linux, you will have configured exim to do the right thing.
(Or it will be configured by somebody else for you.)

So the situation is the same on Linux and Windows: People today
necessarily have configured their mail setup, or had it configured for

The problem that switching the default from `sendmail-send-it' (on
Linux) and `mailclient-send-it' (on Windows) is to make Emacs work as a
mail client out of the box.

If you install Ubuntu on a new machine, it will install exim, but leave
exim in local delivery mode only by default.  If you then send email
from your brand new fresly installed Emacs, it will fail silently.  It
will call `sendmail-send-it', and exim will take it, and deliver a
bounce locally.  Which probably won't be seen by the user.

I think that's pretty unacceptable behaviour.

On a freshly installed Windows, the situation is similar, but at least
it won't fail silently.  `mailclient-send-it' will send the message,
which will then open Outlook (or something), which then won't be able to
send the message.  But at least it'll tell you so.  I still think it's
pretty yucky mail behaviour, and one that no other common mail clients
will emulate.

Defaulting to `smtpmail-send-it' will make Emacs behave exactly like all
other mail clients: It'll ask you for the outgoing server name.  If you
give it the wrong name, or you don't know it, you will get a proper
error message saying what the problem is exactly.

While this default change will annoy 95% of the current users (since
they have to type the SMTP server name once (and possible credentials if
the SMTP server requires them)), it'll make Emacs mail work for new
users reliably.

However, I think there's a third possibility here, beyond keeping the
current defaults and "hard-swapping" them.  :-)

What about if we default to `query-user', and then the first time you
use it, it'll ask "Use the built-in SMTP support, or use {the Windows
mailer,exim} to send the mail?", and then save the response.

(It probably needs to top up a help buffer explaining the choices in
more detail, though.)

(domestic pets only, the antidote for overdose, milk.)
  bloggy blog http://lars.ingebrigtsen.no/

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