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Re: lax matching is not a great default behavior

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: lax matching is not a great default behavior
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 2015 12:10:28 +0200

> Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 10:33:14 +0100
> From: Per Starbäck <address@hidden>
> Cc: address@hidden, address@hidden, Drew Adams <address@hidden>, 
>       "address@hidden" <address@hidden>
> > I see no real reasons yet for such a decision.  Character folding was
> > introduced with the explicit goal of giving users what the other
> > text-editing and word-processing environments provide, what they
> > therefore are expected to expect.  To revert that decision will take
> > more than just "I think it's wrong" kind of posts.
> I didn't follow its creation, but I don't think users generally expect
> that (yet). (I just checked searches in Gedit and Firefox where there
> were no such features, at least not in the versions that are standard
> in my operating system distribution.)

Try more serious editing environments.  E.g., MS Word does that by

> Not that I think that matters a lot. I think a good reason to
> introduce character folding is because it's a good feature, simple as
> that. But it needs to tried out more and get more feedback from
> different locales before made into the default.

The entire time interval between Nov 15 this year and until we release
Emacs 25.1 (which will take a few months, probably more than 6,
judging by past experience) is supposed to provide that feedback.  All
it takes to turn this off by default is changing the default value of
a single variable (and change a couple of places in the User Manual to
reflect that).  Once we decide to do that, it can be done very quickly
and easily.  We can do that a day before the release, if we want to.

OTOH, turning it off today means that it will get much less testing,
and therefore bugs related to it (like the one reported just today in
http://debbugs.gnu.org/cgi/bugreport.cgi?bug=22090) will most probably
remain hidden for who knows how long.

> I may have missed something, but I have not read a single "I think
> it's wrong" post.

Any post that doesn't explain why folding characters might be _wrong_
in _most_ situations is not providing any useful arguments for turning
off the default.  Most posts I've seen explained why their authors
don't like this feature.

> I've read that making the feature available to users
> first will make it possible to have a poll before changing a default
> that is a massive change, and I've read my own examples of how the
> American-centered assumptions are just wrong in some situations. There
> is probably more feedback of a similar kind. By enabling this feature
> it will be possible to get that feedback, without the outcry that
> comes with changing the default. By ironing out the wrinkles this will
> be a welcome change when the default later is changed.
> You have to realize that this is a *massive* change, even though it
> may not feel so for someone who almost only writes in English.

I do realize it's a massive change.  And you are wrong assuming that I
almost only write in English (look at my locale), let alone that this
is some American-centered view (which would have dictated exactly the
opposite default).

In any case, introducing massive changes that are turned on by default
is nothing new in Emacs development.  Bidirectional display engine
introduced in Emacs 24.1 comes to mind; it certainly was much more
massive than this one.  And turning that one off was nowhere as simple
as turning character folding off, so the risk was much higher.  We did
it anyway, because we thought that was TRT to do, and because we
wanted any bugs and adverse side effects of that change found and
fixed before the release.  Likewise here.

> >> Should it be "Ignore accents for search"?
> >
> > No, because ignoring accents is just a small part of character
> > folding.  Please take a look at character-fold.el for the details.
> I know, but it has to be called something. Do you have a better suggestion?

Either "Character Folding in Search" or maybe "Character Equivalence
in Search".  (I'm not good at finding short descriptive names.)

> >> > Alternatively, we
> >> > could quickly release Emacs 25.2 with character folding turned off if
> >> > we see an outcry.  But polling at this time will not be efficient,
> >> > IMO.
> >>
> >> Not at all as good! To "quickly release" something doesn't mean that
> >> it is a quick change for users, who may keep using that version for a
> >> long time.
> >
> > If they are annoyed by a feature, they will upgrade quickly, I think.
> That kind of user will rather change their options themselves. I'm not
> primarily talking about people installing Emacs themselves, but those
> who use a version their system adminstrator or the OS distribution
> provider installed for them.

A misfeature that causes an outcry will prompt sysadmins to upgrade, I

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