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Re: Docstring of make-symbolic-link

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Docstring of make-symbolic-link
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2019 07:53:04 +0300

> From: Juanma Barranquero <address@hidden>
> Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:31:39 +0200
> Cc: Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden>, Emacs developers <address@hidden>
> Three people, two opinions.
> It's your call, Eli. LINKNAME or NEWNAME?

I understand that you prefer NEWNAME as well, so I'm in a minority

I don't want to force my opinion on this, for reasons that might
become apparent from what I say below.  I do want to explain my
opinion, though, at least FTR.

This NEWNAME thing never made much sense to me.  When creating hard
links, we call the function ADD-NAME-to-file, so NEW makes sense.
With make-symbolic-link this reason is gone, and NEW is just out of
the blue, as there's no OLD anywhere in sight.  TARGET and LINK do
make sense, and unlike Paul, I have no problems figuring out which one
is created, since the function's name is make-symbolic-LINK, not

I understand where Paul comes from: this description goes back to the
old days of 4.2BSD Unix, where symbolic links were introduced, AFAIK.
Look at the man pages from that era, you will see the same NEWNAME
nonsense.  So this is an old habit that dies hard, IMNSHO.  I suspect
that if we were to remove the NEWNAME part, many Unix old-timers will
object like Paul did.

Btw, the glibc manual at least tries to make it a bit more sensible:

  int symlink (const char *OLDNAME, const char *NEWNAME)
  The 'symlink' function makes a symbolic link to OLDNAME named

So now you know my views on this, and can make up your mind.  But
whatever you do, let's do that on master, as the first pretest of
Emacs 26.3 is already out, and I'd prefer to release it VSN, if
possible.  This text was with us since about forever, so no urgency to
fix it in 26.3.


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