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Re: Unboxed package manager

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Unboxed package manager
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2023 08:46:23 +0200

> From: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@gmail.com>
> Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2023 18:22:55 -0400
> Cc: gregory@heytings.org, casouri@gmail.com, emacs-devel@gnu.org
> On Wed, Mar 22, 2023 at 10:42 AM Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org> wrote:
> >
> > Why would someone want all 300 of them?  Some of them even contradict
> > each other, in that they implement similar features in very different
> > ways.
> You're correct, many of them do address similar issues and should not
> be "turned on" simultaneously.  As long as they are well-behaved and
> able to be switched on and off reliably, though, there's no reason to
> not have them simultaneously installed and loaded if the user is not
> dedicated to minimizing resource consumption.

I didn't say people should not be able to do that.  They should, and
they are.  I just said it isn't a reasonable thing to do, and thus
doesn't justify our jumping through hoops to cater for it.

> > > Note I'm just installing
> > > these packages, not actually loading any of them directly.
> >
> > Exactly.  So this is entirely theoretical use case, not a real one.
> I was just noting that the performance hit comes from merely
> installing the package (and enlarging the load-path), not from loading
> it.

And I was just noting that doing such a thing cannot be of any
practical interest to us, unless it causes severe bugs in Emacs, like
crashes etc.

> > As I already said: you can simply load each package by its explicit
> > absolute name.  Poof! problem disappeared.
> You're incorrect, unless you can ensure required system packages are
> all explicitly loaded in order.  SImply specifying the full path of
> one will not prevent it searching for its dependencies.

I obviously assumed (and I think I even said that explicitly) that the
directories of those packages shouldn't be added to load-path;
_instead_, they should be loaded by their explicit file names,
including leading directories.  _Then_ the problem with load-path will
not happen.

As for the order of loading packages -- that problem exists anyway,
and I believe use-package, which is now part of Emacs, is capable of
making the solution a bit easier.  In any case, solving that is
basically a one-time issue, when you first install a new package.

> That said, I don't advocate adding that complexity when rationalizing
> the way packages are installed is an effective way to avoid enlarging
> the load-path in the first place.  The number of packages whose design
> really requires enlarging the load-path (just as a user of the
> package, not in "development mode") is tiny in my experience.  realgud
> and its extensions are in fact the only ones that come to mind,
> because of the use of load-relative.  Others may be tricky to handle
> automatically, but there's nothing in their design that fundamentally
> requires enlarging the load path - a few manual modifications are
> usually enough to handle those cases, which are fairly small in number
> (magit being one of them due to the version function expecting to find
> the package installed in its own directory or to be able to contact
> the main git repository).

So what exactly are you asking for?  Is it some change in package.el?
If so, what change?

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