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Re: PL support

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: PL support
Date: Thu, 14 May 2020 01:03:07 -0400

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  > Today, this problem can be fixed in 2 possible way:
  > - List all external tools needed on a README/INSTALL file and let the
  >   user install them

That is the right way to handle this, because it gives the user
a chance to think about the matter.

  > - Automatically download and install the external tools with some
  >   Elisp code that call `wget` or a packages manager

I've explained previously why that is bad.

  > For the second way, it is already used by some third party Emacs
  > packages

Indeed, some users and developers do things we think are misguided.
We can't tell them what to do.

  > If we look at the ethic problematic of the situation, today we cannot
  > prevent third party Emacs packages to automatically download external
  > tools.

Indeed, we can't stop them from disregarding those other values.  What
we can do, and must do, is to draw a clear line between them and us,
and put up a sort of a fence there.

Having GNU ELPA, and not recommending packages outside of it, is the
way we do it.

  > But this question can also arise for the package manager of Emacs that
  > can be used with a third party repository that would providing
  > proprietary software.

That is why we don't enable any third-part repos by default.

This way of making the fence is not the only possible way.  It has
some problems.  People are citing those problems as arguments that we
should put the fence further out, or not as high.

But the other ways would have similar problems, and other problems
too.  We we consider changing the details, we need to consider the
drawbacks of the alternatives, not only the drawbacks of the current

I will talk more about this in another message.

Dr Richard Stallman
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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