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Re: Gdb in emacs 24

From: David Reitter
Subject: Re: Gdb in emacs 24
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2011 09:37:45 -0400

On Oct 6, 2011, at 7:25 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:

>>> The very first line of the doc string says:
>>> gdb is an interactive autoloaded Lisp function in `gdb-mi.el'.
>>>                                                    ^^^^^^^^^
>> So, you're now asking users to infer the interface between GDB and Emacs 
>> from file names of the source file?
> Huh? did you even read the message to which I was responding?  A user
> asked why her ELisp function stopped working in Emacs 24.  That
> function used "--annotate=3" switch to GDB.  I responded that since
> Emacs 24 switched to using the MI interface to GDB, using --annotate
> is expected to fail.

There must be a misunderstanding.  Here's what you said:

> If you "C-h f gdb RET", you will see that Emacs 24 switched to use the
> GDB/MI interface, so the --annotate=3 thingy is no longer TRT, and I'm
> quite sure it will interfere in "interesting" ways.

And I pointed out that you couldn't actually infer the switch to the new 
interface from the doc string of `gdb'.

You responded by underlining the name of the source file.  

And my point is that this is insufficient to get the user to use a different 
argument for gdb.  (Clicking on the source file gets me to the definition of 
`gdb', and I have to scroll to the commentary on page 2 of the source code to 
find something about MI.   (The commentary actually says " It runs gdb with 
GDB/MI (-interp=mi)", which would lead me to infer that I don't have to give 
gdb further arguments on my own!)    Apologies if that wasn't clear.

In general:

1. The user doesn't care about how Emacs GDB and the underlying gdb 
communicate, and how that changes between Emacs versions - nor should they have 
to care.

2. The user can't be expected to deal with gdb's command line arguments, beyond 
the path of the executable anyway.  They're debugging their own program and 
that's complicated enough.  Tools should be seamless.

3. Don't expect the user to read documentation for Emacs functions between 
upgrades of Emacs.   Most users, today, won't read documentation at all.  They 
have to read API documentation for the program their writing, that's enough.

None of these have to do with users being "stupid".  Everyone has attentional 

PS.: thanks to everybody for keeping GDB in Emacs working, even with my ancient 
version/fork of GDB.  It makes life much easier.

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