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Re: Why are so many great packages not trying to get included in GNU Ema

From: Konstantin Kharlamov
Subject: Re: Why are so many great packages not trying to get included in GNU Emacs? WAS: Re: Making Emacs more friendly to newcomers
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2020 18:41:37 +0300
User-agent: Evolution 3.36.3

On Sat, 2020-06-20 at 17:02 +0300, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > From: Konstantin Kharlamov <hi-angel@yandex.ru>
> > Cc: rekado@elephly.net, joaotavora@gmail.com, dgutov@yandex.ru,
> >  stefan@marxist.se,  emacs-devel@gnu.org
> > Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2020 16:07:54 +0300
> >
> > > There's no requirement to retroactively fix commit log messages when
> > > files or functions are renamed.  The renaming is recorded in the
> > > history and can be found when one needs to explore the history of some
> > > code fragment.
> > >
> > > What is important is that the log message names the files and
> > > functions/macros/data structures as they are called at the time of the
> > > commit, because the log message is many times read in conjunction with
> > > the diffs.
> > >
> > > So I don't think the difficulties you describe are real.
> >
> > Are you saying that wrong commit messages are okay?
> Of course not.
> > Will it be okay if I make a
> > v1 of a patch where just one function is changed, and then in v2 I
> > additionally
> > modify a dozen of others, and won't add their names to the commit message?
> Of course not.  But you could omit the log messages completely in v1
> if it is known in advance that there will be a v2.  IOW, the only log
> message that really matters is the last one, the one that is going to
> be committed to upstream.
> It's similar to documentation: it is perfectly acceptable to initially
> post a patch without the documentation bits, saying you will provide
> one when the code details are finalized.
> > Also, what you say here contradicts to your quote of GNU standard, which
> > says
> > the list is needed to generate Changelog files. Because not fixing commit
> > messages retroactively will result in wrong Changelogs.
> >
> > What's the point in wrong Changelog files and wrong commit messages?
> We are miscommunicating.  You have only a very specific scenario in
> mind, whereas I was talking about something much more general.  For
> the situations you had in mind (IIUC), only the last variant of the
> log messages matters.  If you can get those log message right on the
> first attempt, you can omit them in intermediate variants, and just
> say you will provide them with the last version.  (Of course, if you
> don't get them right the first time, you will get review comments for
> them, so it's up to you to decide whether indeed you can afford
> omitting them from intermediate versions.)
> Also, let's face it: changesets where v2 renames many symbols present
> in v1's log are rare.  There's no need to make these rare cases sound
> as if they were the rule: they are not.

Please note that I haven't provided example here. From your text you seem to
think I implied scenario where v1 is an RFC, and later patches are actual

It's not what I had in mind. I rather was thinking about making some change in
v1, and then as result of code review making more similar changes to other
places. As a real life example, while discussing the patch `Replace manually
crafted hex regexes with [[:xdigit:]]`, more places where similar changes can be
applied were uncovered.

In code-refactoring I think it's pretty common to happen. You can't omit the
list in v1 in these cases because you don't know there will be followups.

> > Now let's get back to Emacs. I hope it's unquestionable that purpose of
> > Emacs
> > project is prosperity of Emacs project. It doesn't have explicit purpose to
> > cater to Emacs contributors or developers. But if you ask "how can we make
> > Emacs
> > evolve and prosper", the "making Emacs contributors, developers and users
> > comfortable" is hopefully an obvious answer.
> >
> > Having good developer practices is an implication of "making
> > developers/contributors comfortable". Which includes, that if some developer
> > practice (I'm pointing out here to the functions list) 1. carries burden on
> > everyone, and 2. Makes happy only a few (perhaps, because of their habits or
> > whatever), we should ditch this practice.
> We are not asking contributors to adhere to some arbitrary and
> outlandish standards and practices, or something that satisfies only a
> small group of people who usurped the power, so to say.  These are
> standards common to the GNU Project as a whole (although minor
> variations do exist, and when I submit changes to, say, GDB, I need to
> do that according to what GDB developers expect and require, not to
> what I'm accustomed to in Emacs).  These standards are the result of
> quite a few discussions among developers of many GNU projects, where
> arguments not unlike those you present are also voiced and considered.
> The result is described in the GCS document, and it includes
> rationale that also comes out of those discussions.
> IOW, it isn't like some band of people conquered the Emacs project and
> now dictates its arbitrary demands to the community at large.  These
> requirements are the result of many discussions, and include the
> summary experience and knowledge of many people who understand very
> well that every additional requirement adds to the burden of the
> contributors.
> Requirements for contributors are always a fine balancing act, whereby
> too few or too many requirements will both produce sub-optimal results
> for various reasons.  So let's not pretend that dropping important
> requirements to make it easy on contributors is the right solution,
> because the requirements are there for a reason, and dropping any one
> of them brings a disadvantage.  We need to carefully weigh the
> advantages and disadvantages of each requirement.

Sounds reasonable. I'd like to see those discussions though to understand the
background, and maybe even participate in them. Do you have any reference?

> > > Here are the excerpts from the latest GNU Coding Standards manual I
> > > mentioned above:
> > > […snipped…]
> >
> > Thanks. I should say, it's a big text, half of which basically says "it's
> > cool
> > to have" which doesn't answer the question "why". So, I'm sorry if I missed
> > some
> > point while reading this, in this case pointing this out more explicitly
> > might
> > help.
> Actually, the reasons (a.k.a. "why") are presented there at least
> twice: once indirectly, by explaining the general purpose of good
> change log records,

Err. Okay, I mean, text does explain it. Was I ever opposed to it? Let me
repeat, I'm all for good commit messages. My point is the functions list is not
necessary for having good commit messages.

This whole thread is dedicated to "why having the list is necessary as opposed
to not having it", and while text explains "why having the list is good" in
general, but it does not make comparison to not using it. There's no answer to
that question.

> and then once more by providing specific
> considerations for keeping the information we are talking about (names
> of files and functions/macros/data structures that were modified) in
> the log.

Again, I don't see why just saying in commit message e.g. "Factor out code doing
X out of all functions", is worse than additionally making the list of those
functions (or is it a bad example, and you have a better one in mind? Great, I
want to hear it!).

> > The text then goes into details that generating Changelogs from a VCS alone
> > may
> > be unreliable. The example it shows can be reproduced on Emacs repo as
> > follows:
> > if you do `git log -1 -p 50a0126402d`, you'll see some renames, however the
> > context above the hunk shows not the variable/function being renamed.
> >
> > I'd argue it would be way more productive to make git produce what Changelog
> > files need correctly rather than forcing tedious manual work upon everybody.
> > git
> > already can recognize the context correctly, we just need a specific flag to
> > only make it show changed functions/variables (ATM it seems not to have it,
> > at
> > least I didn't find one).
> I encourage you to talk to Git developers so that they improve this
> capability.  Not sure this is going to happen in practice (knowing how
> the diffs are generated, and given that one GNU project using Git
> after another sets up alternative tools for overcoming these
> problems), but it definitely cannot harm, so by all means go for it.

I might do it, but I need motivation. If I knew this is the only reason Emacs
has requirement for the functions list, thus having such ability in git would
allow to drop this requirement, I'd do it. Right now people seem to prefer to
stick to having the list for other reasons (which are being discussed in the
text above), so clearly even if git got such ability, it would be of little use
to Emacs.

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