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Re: Emacs Lisp's future

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Emacs Lisp's future
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2014 21:17:15 -0400

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    Originally, Emacs would complain that Latin-1 cannot be used, and
    asked the user to select a different encoding.

That is about Latin-1.  What did Emacs do, at that time, with UTF-8?

                                                    Then users of UTF-8
    locales complained that these prompts were annoyances, that they
    expect Emacs to use UTF-8 silently, without any questions, as long as
    UTF-8 can encode the result.

It is not clear what "As long as UTF-8 can encode the result" means,
concretely.  Whether Emacs's UTF-8 encoding can encode the raw bytes
is a matter of our decision.  Strictly speaking, UTF-8 can't encode
the raw bytes.

Thus, it seems that asking for confirmation before writing raw bytes
in UTF-8 is consistent with that expectation, and writing the raw
bytes without asking for confirmation is also consistent with that.

I am not trying to play word games with you.  I think you probably had
a more specific point in mind, but you need to present it clearly.

    >     > What exactly did we try before?
    > and you responded
    >     AFAIR, we tried converting raw bytes into valid non-ASCII characters,
    >     and perhaps also replacing them with the equivalent of u+FFFD, the
    >     Unicode "replacement character".
    > But those are both different from the proposal I'm discussing.

    How are they different?

The first of them was to convert the raw bytes into valid non-ASCII characters.
(When?  When reading the file?  When writing the file?)  You have not
described that behavior clearly, but either way it is not the same as
the proposal we are discussing now.  This proposal is to ask for
confirmation before encoding a file with raw bytes.

The second was to "replace" these codes with something else.  (When?
When reading the file?  When writing the file?)  Either way it is not
the same as the proposal we are discussing now.  This proposal does
not replace any characters.

    In any case, I hope you are not expecting to hear about user reactions
    to any of the proposals that haven't been tried yet.

That idea did not come from me.  YOU said they had already reacted to
THIS proposal.

      What I (and I think also David)
    were trying to show is that _similar_ situations were met with user
    complaints and outcry, and that we are where we are today because we
    heeded to those complaints.

There are many ways for two different designs to be "similar".  They
are also different.  The details are crucial for users' reactions.  I
think the people who objected to those behaviors, which involved
changing the file contents, might not mind the confirmation much.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call.

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