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Re: Auto-installing packages?

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Auto-installing packages?
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2018 09:40:57 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

>>> I use `use-package' to "automatically" install packages for me.
>> How does it work?
>> Doesn't this silently install at startup the packages you specified?
>> I really dislike the "silently" part (and am not too happy about doing
>> all of it at startup either).
> Yep. It runs "package-install". It's not silent, since you get all the

By "silent" I meant that it does it without asking for
permission/confirmation first.  I understand that it's a small matter of
programming, but from the UI-side I consider this unacceptable.

> install messages. And, yes, doing it as part of startup is very slow
> iff none of the packages are installed. Also, it breaks startup if a
> package installation fails.
> Still this only happens when you use Emacs on a new machine or in my
> case, when I change Emacs version.

Which all argues in favor of prompting.

>> Another related issue is the "auto-upgrade" part.  This one is worse
>> because it seems to inevitably involve some kind of "polling" of
>> a central server, which I find to be a serious privacy issue.
> It doesn't autoupdate, although it's simple to make it do so, but
> automating the "package-refresh, update-all" cycle. A privacy issue,
> yes, maybe, although it's not massively different from running this
> manually.

I find a constant "call home" done automatically qualitatively very
different from running it manually (e.g. you can make sure it's always
done from your home, for example).

But I wouldn't oppose an option to automatically check for updates in
the background (I'd also be OK with an option to auto-download them, but
I'd oppose auto-installing them updates without an explicit user

>> Indeed, there's the problem of installing those auto-install-autoloads,
> There is a practical issue with handling it *just like* autoloads.
> At the moment, autoloads happens in the command-loop.

Actually, it happens at a much lower-level within `funcall`.

> So, from nearly anywhere.

Oh, yes.

> That's okay, because if an autoloaded package cannot be autoloaded,
> then Emacs has some pretty major issues.
> Installing a package over a network is a much more failable process.

No doubt.  Maybe rather than "prompt the user, install, and retry the
call", we'll need to "abort the current command, then prompt, ...".

> No, you misunderstand me. You don't need to pre-install this way. You
> release "Emacs without ELPA", but include
> "auto-install-autoloads". Emacs will get bigger this way over time.

Ah, make the auto-installs into an upgradable package, yes that makes
a lot of sense.


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