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

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: Changing the default for `send-mail-function'
Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2011 10:07:14 +1000

On Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 9:20 AM, Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen <address@hidden> wrote:
> Ken Brown <address@hidden> writes:
>> After all, we're targeting users who are trying to use emacs to send
>> mail but have not configured it.  I would guess that the most common
>> case for this is sending a bug report.
> No, I think the most common case is people sending email from Emacs 24
> for the first time, and who want to continue doing that.

You are talking outside of report-emacs-bug yes? If so, I would agree
that most people who try to send mail other than a bug report are
likely to want to continue sending mail via emacs, if only for a short
period to try it out. However, what proportion of all emacs users
these users are is unknown.

Ken's comment to perhaps treat emacs-bug-report completely separately
is probably correct. Have it default to mailclient if no other mail
settings have been made. What we want to avoid is the user having to
go through any significant additional configuration steps to send a
bug report. For other areas, they are configuring mail, so asking them
to do configuration work/decisions would be reasonable and if they
never want to use emacs for mail, they will never get bothered.

Whatever the default selected, it needs to add value to the largest
group of users possible.

>> Mailclient has the advantage that it should just work OOTB for most
>> people, without any configuration.
> Well, I'm not sure how true that is.  (The "most people" part...)  I
> certainly don't have any other mail client set up reachable by
> mailclient.el.  :-)

What platform are you on and what percentage of the user base do you
think it would represent?

This is the root of the problem. We all have different opinions about
the user base, the most common case etc. To really get the right
default for this setting, we need a better understanding of the user
base. We need to know what really is the most common user pattern and
need to stop guessing based on our own perceptions.

This is hard to do. One possible metric we could try would be to
analyze the mail headers in some of the emacs related mail lists, such
as this one. We would not want to use the bug list as it will likely
be somewhat biased towards emacs clients due to report-emacs-bug.
However, loooking at the others should give some indication of users
who use emacs for general mail and those who don't.

Another alternative would be to try and run a survey. However, it is
quite difficult to structure good surveys, hard to get people to
participate and when you do, those that do answer are rarely a true
cross section of users.


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