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Re: [elpa] Excorporate: Exchange integration package

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: [elpa] Excorporate: Exchange integration package
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2015 13:40:38 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Thomas Fitzsimmons <address@hidden> writes:

> Stefan Monnier <address@hidden> writes:
>>> 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.  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.
> OK, I'm definitely sympathetic to this view.  In this regard, my main
> concern is that it's currently impossible for other Emacs developers
> to test Excorporate using/against only Free Software.  One idea is if
> OpenChange could grow EWS support in tandem with the features that
> Excorporate actually uses, then there would be a Free Software option
> for full Excorporate testing at all times (note: I'm not necessarily
> signing up for this work).  Would that improve the appeal of
> Excorporate for ELPA?

>> 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).
> The counter-argument here is that Exchange Web Services is essentially
> just providing a network service.

As long as this network service does not obey open standards and is
subject to change under the whim of a corporate identity, it is not
helpful for free software to encourage this interface over more reliably
available free ones.

> From following emacs-devel I was under the impression that Free
> Software that talks to a network service over a protocol was OK,
> regardless of what was implementing the protocol on the other end.

But not regardless of who controls the details of the protocol under
which conditions.  Also not regardless of existing implementations of
such protocol.  If it's only supported by non-free software, there is
really not much of a point for GNU software to support it.  Even if
there is support via a reverse-engineering clone like Samba (no idea
whether this is the case), one needs to look very carefully whether this
makes enough strategic sense to stand behind.

Stuff like Samba is really very much an outskirt into proprietary
software.  Supporting all of its aspects may not always be strategically
sound.  Often we might rather support protocols not under the control of
single proprietary vendors.

David Kastrup

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