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Re: Detecting display/frame capability in an Emacs daemon

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Detecting display/frame capability in an Emacs daemon
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:24:51 +0900

Richard Stallman writes:
 >      > I am unfamiliar with the things you are using but I do it with
 >      > rsync.  It would be a clear thing if that damned "cloud" didn't
 >      > obscure it.
 >     Not "obscure", "abstract".
 > I meant "obscure".

I know you did; you always mean what you say.

That doesn't mean your meaning is always useful.  In this case, I
don't think it is.  I think that Emacs should deal with this issue on
the more abstract level of resource shared by hosts of varying
capability, which is reasonably accurately expressed by "cloud".

 > The term "cloud computing" is not a clean abstraction but a
 > confusion between different and unrelated ways of using the
 > network.

As you just wrote yourself, they're related by use of the network.

Mere presence of the network already implies that Emacs users must be
concerned with different instances of Emacs using the same resources
in different contexts, with those differences being more or less
unpredictable as hosts of varying kinds connect to and disconnect from
the network.

It may not be Emacs's business to be concerned with that, I don't
know.  However, "the cloud" makes such sharing far more accessible to
both busy users who don't care to shoulder administrative burden of
less sophisticated resource-sharing protocols, and unsophisticated
users.  I think the demand for an Emacs that works and plays well with
both the "cloud" of transparently shared resources, and the varied
underlying implementations of that idea, will increase in the future.

 > I think file synching is the right term for this.

I disagree.  File synching is an implementation.  The OP doesn't care
that the files exist in multiple places, however, and he would indeed
have similar problems with NFS or Tramp (where the file is fetched
over the network, though one is implemented in the OS and the other in
Emacs) or with Coda FS (where the files are cached, the network use is
reduced to a quick version check if the cache is fresh, and the cached
files are not accessible to the user by a local name).  The
implementation doesn't matter; what matters is the abstract idea of a
resource automatically shared by different instances of Emacs.  "In
the cloud" is a reasonable informal expression of this concept.

 > The difference between that and "sharing resources among his own
 > machines" is so small that they seem equivalent to me, which means
 > it is not wrong.

Many resources are not file-based.  For example, the OP's question
about determining display capability would matter if you use Emacs to
invoke a remote program that generates an image locally.  I don't know
what the capabilities of OpenCloud are, but I wouldn't be surprised if
it included such remote processing.

How is the difference between sharing such resources and synching
files "so small that they seem equivalent"?

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