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Why are so many great packages not trying to get included in GNU Emacs?

From: Stefan Kangas
Subject: Why are so many great packages not trying to get included in GNU Emacs? WAS: Re: Making Emacs more friendly to newcomers
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2020 19:07:03 +0200

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

> And it isn't like packages are lining up to be included in Emacs, or
> even "anointed" by it, is it?  Boy, I'd like to be there.

I strongly agree.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is an
important strategic consideration for GNU Emacs.

It's very unfortunate that there are so many great packages that are only
available to a subsection of users willing or able to install third party

It's too easy for package authors to just throw it up on MELPA and be done with
it, without realizing the many benefits of getting it into GNU Emacs.  There
would be some great benefits to having more deserving packages in core, or even

- They would reach a wider audience.
- We can do more to ensure they integrate well with all other packages.
- We could consider enabling some of them by default.
- We would have a world class team of Emacs Lisp hackers (in other words,
  emacs-devel) reviewing the documentation and code.
- etc., etc.

The reasons why package authors would not want to include it, on the other hand,
could obviously vary.  Some of the reasons I have seen are
unfortunately very shallow:

- Misconceptions about how hard it is to work with emacs-devel.
- An unwillingness to assign copyright to the FSF, seemingly often more due to
  inertia than any principled opposition.
- Strongly ideological anti-FSF sentiments (often disguised as "non-ideological"
  or "practical").

I mean, that's my impression of it, and I'm not pretending that this list is
exhaustive or even generally correct.

But maybe we should think about how we can argue our case more strongly, and
clear up at least some of the misconceptions.  For example, we could make
additions to the Emacs Lisp manual on why one would want to push to have their
package included.  We could also explain that they can have their code in GNU
ELPA, or even GNU Emacs, and host a development repository anywhere
they like, etc.

Best regards,
Stefan Kangas

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