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Re: Emacs Lisp's future

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Emacs Lisp's future
Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2014 23:22:57 -0400

[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

    > It will be easy to specify one or the other, so why not make the default
    > be strict, except in the primitives that operate on files?

    Because we had that already.

What exactly did we have already?
Are we talking about the same thing?

    When we lost users in large droves to XEmacs at the time Emacs became
    the loss leader for multibyte encodings by making MULE manadatory, a
    significant number of those users who went were the ones not even using
    non-ASCII locales, and they would purportedly not even have noticed a
    difference with the files they were supposed to be working with.  But in
    practice, files and communications don't pass the purity tests.

I'm talking about the default for encodings that are NOT done for
reading and writing files.  You seem to be talking about files.

    > 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.

    That kind of choice would require the assumption that any file operation
    (and any other encoding/decoding action) is an immediate, direct, and
    obvious consequence of a user interaction with Emacs.

I don't quite follow you.  Could you present a concrete example to show
what you mean?

However, I think I follow part of it.  If a program does explicit
encoding and decoding operations but does them as part of showing text
to the user, it should specify doing them in the same flexible way
used by the usual file operations.

For instance, decoding an email to show to the user should be done the
flexible way.

It won't be hard to change these programs to specify "flexible" for
the decoding if that is not the default for the encoding primitives.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
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