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Re: [PATCH] Fixing package-initialize, adding early init file

From: Radon Rosborough
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Fixing package-initialize, adding early init file
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:38:18 -0700

> This seems like a lot of changes that add new complications to the
> startup of Emacs. Since I don't have time just now to review those
> 150 messages, may I please ask for an executive summary to motivate
> this change?

You could read [1] for an explanation of what the problem is, and [2]
for a list of the different ways people have proposed to solve it. But
I will summarize again:

* Currently, Emacs modifies the init-file to add (package-initialize)
  to it when Emacs starts. This has many disadvantages [1] which I'm
  not going to rehash here.
* There are many proposals [2] on how to make package.el work out of
  the box without requiring Emacs to modify the init-file. These all
  have practical disadvantages, except for the proposal to add an
  early init file, which solves the package.el problem with
  essentially no disadvantages, and furthermore solves several other
  problems at the same time (for example, people having no way to
  disable the menu bar before it is initialized the first time).

You can disagree with the above two points, but they were the outcome
of the aforementioned 150 emails, and everybody seems to agree that
this is the best approach. The only difficulty is actually making the
relevant changes to startup.el, which are honestly pretty small in the
grand scheme of things.

> new complications

The only new code is to load an additional init-file. It's definitely
a new complication, but I don't think it's that bad. The other changes
to startup.el are to add a new variable, and move the
(package-initialize) call and the check for an invalid user name to a
bit earlier. Sure, we need to test it thoroughly, but it's certainly
not *complicated*.

[1]: https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2017-08/msg00154.html
[2]: https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2017-09/msg00023.html

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