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Re: [PATCH 4/4] environment: Add '--debug' flag.

From: Thompson, David
Subject: Re: [PATCH 4/4] environment: Add '--debug' flag.
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:14:04 -0400

Hi David,

On Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 12:49 PM, David Craven <address@hidden> wrote:
> * guix/scripts/environment.scm: Add '--debug' flag to add common debugging
> packages (file, gdb, strace, valgrind) to environment.

Thanks for the patch and trying to make 'guix environment' more
friendly, but I don't really like this particular change for a few

- The name "--debug" is misleading.  When I saw the patch subject
line, I thought it was a way to get 'guix environment' to print some
verbose output for the sake of debugging the generated environments.
As a user, I wouldn't expect --debug to affect the set of packages in
the environment.

- The debugging tools that a developer would want vary depending on
the project.  I don't use GDB or valgrind to debug my Guile programs,
for example.

- It tightly couples 'guix environment' to a particular, opinionated
set of packages.  What if the user wants to use a different variant of

- Tools like strace are Linux-specific but we have plans to support
additional kernels like the Hurd.

I don't perceive a usability problem in this area, but that doesn't
mean there isn't one.  Could you explain your motivations behind this
patch?  Perhaps there's an alternative thing we could do, but in
general I don't envision 'guix environment' having a deep knowledge of
the available packages and having opinions about which packages users
should choose.

- Dave

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