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Re: [PATCH PING] Honor 'SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH' when generating autoloads.

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: [PATCH PING] Honor 'SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH' when generating autoloads.
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 08:47:09 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.4.0

Eli Zaretskii wrote:
The string speaks for itself when you display it.

It does not. A host name could be ‘unknown’ or even ‘elided’. In theory it could be any string.

It sounds strange that Emacs should "miss the information" about the
system it was built on; that could well sound like a bug to some.

It is a feature, not a bug. That is, it is a desirable feature of deterministic builds. It is not strange; on the contrary, it is the behavior I expect from other programs that I use. When I run (say) Firefox to browse the web, I do not want Firefox to tell me the host name of the system that it was built on. If Firefox did tell me that, it would be a sign of sloppy engineering on the builder’s part. Any reasonably-competent builder should be able to reproduce a build even if the particular host that built it no longer exists. This is basic software construction.

In this sense, the Dec. 25 change that introduced the system build name into the output of report-emacs-bug was a misstep. I am glad that there will eventually be a build-time option to disable this sort of thing. It is an option I plan to use.

It sounds strange to send users to documentation for such a simple issue.

No matter what we do here, we will need documentation that users can refer to on occasion. Even simple approaches like nil-if-unknown require some documentation. More-complicated approaches like magic-cookie-if-unknown would require more of it.

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