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Re: Moving packages out of core to ELPA

From: Stefan Kangas
Subject: Re: Moving packages out of core to ELPA
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2024 13:09:33 -0500

Po Lu <luangruo@yahoo.com> writes:

> Dmitry Gutov <dmitry@gutov.dev> writes:
>> Those who say that the costs of maintenance is tiny, seem to have
>                                                  ....
>> missed the simple statement that the built-in version has diverged
>> from its upstream 7 years ago. The maintenance is clearly not being
>                                                             ...
>> done.
> We stand corrected.  The cost is _zero_, not tiny.

It's not zero here.  See Bug#39992 and Bug#69171.

To be honest, I find the argument that maintaining code can somehow be
done for free surprising.  AFAICT, the only code that doesn't increase
the maintenance burden is the code that we don't have.  I'm therefore
not convinced by those that ask us to never delete anything.

If idlwave.el is not a sufficient example, I just spent some time on
private correspondence regarding another library in Emacs that I
personally have wanted to chuck into lisp/obsolete for years.  A few
weeks ago, I installed a patch someone had sent for another case much
like that.

Is that a good use of my time?  I'm not so sure.  But just ignoring
parts of Emacs and let them bitrot doesn't seem very attractive either.
I think that we do have to take some minimal amount of responsibility
for the things that we ship.

That said, we don't have too many such files -- in large part thanks to
obsoletions that have been done over the years -- but they do still
exist.  Given our highly limited resources, I think its useful to
occasionally ask ourselves if keeping this or that library around is
still worth it, and then obsolete it if it isn't.

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