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Re: [elpa] Excorporate: Exchange integration package

From: Daniel Colascione
Subject: Re: [elpa] Excorporate: Exchange integration package
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2015 03:00:59 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/31.4.0

On 02/08/2015 08:08 PM, Stefan Monnier wrote:
>> I wrote a library called Excorporate that allows Emacs to talk to an
>> Exchange server over the Exchange Web Services API.  I would like to
>> release it as a GNU ELPA package.  In the meantime, you can try it out
>> like this:
> I think I'm going to turn this one down, sorry.
> We generally don't want packages that offer support for
> proprietary programs. 

EWS is a commonly used network protocol and making sure that Emacs
cannot understand it helps nobody. If you want to drive the adoption of
free software, the first step is to make people want to use it.

> It's OK for packages to support proprietary
> programs "as a side-effect" of supporting something else, but packages
> that only support proprietary programs are usually undesirable since
> they end up promoting those proprietary programs, which is counter to
> the goals of Free Software.

Emacs does not have the usage numbers to meaningfully affect the
adoption of non-free software. Not once in my entire career has someone
said, "let's not use this technology: Emacs doesn't support it".

Maybe if Emacs had a few orders of magnitude more users, the strategy of
driving adoption by decreasing utility might make sense. As it stands,
rejecting features just drives users away, either to external
repositories or to other systems. Emacs rejecting EWS will have all the
broad social impact of the Amish rejecting automobiles.

> There can be exceptions (typically support for using Emacs on Windows
> and Mac OS X platforms), when we consider that such support will
> encourage people to rely on Free Software (e.g. Emacs) more than
> it will encourage them to rely on proprietary programs.
> In this case, I think this argument doesn't work, since you can already
> use Emacs to access an Exchange server via IMAP (tho that admittedly
> only covers some part of the functionality;and I don't know if other
> parts can be similarly accessed via other standard protocols or not).

In addition to IMAP not supporting all use cases (like scheduling), some
Exchange administrators disable IMAP support completely.

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