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Deprecating ‘guix environment’?

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Deprecating ‘guix environment’?
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2019 17:31:24 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.3 (gnu/linux)

Hi Konrad,

Konrad Hinsen <address@hidden> skribis:

> On 16/12/2019 23:09, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
>> So in a more algorithmic manner:
>>> 1. if ad-hoc and inputs-of is present at the same invocation: fail
>>> hard. (With an error like incompatible options present)
>>> 2. if only ad-hoc is present, then print a deprecation warning (yes,
>>> we could make this suspendable with an environment variable, like you
>>> described)
>>> 3. if only inputs-of present, then do the new behaviour.
>>> 4. if neither ad-hoc nor inputs-of present then
>>>    a. if GUIX_ENVIRONMENT_DEPRECATED is 1: do the current behaviour,
>>>    b. if GUIX_ENVIRONMENT_DEPRECATED is undefined, or is not 1: do the
>>> new behaviour.
>> That sounds like a good plan to me.
>> #4 is the trickiest, and I think it’d be good to give users a bit of
>> time so they can start adjusting before deprecation is in effect.
> #4 is trickiest for another reason: there is no future-proof use of
> "guix environment" that works right now and will continue to work. Nor
> is there any way to see, when looking at a command line, whether it's
> old-style or new-style, if neither --ad-hoc nor --inputs-of are
> present. This means that all existing documentation (tutorials etc.)
> will become misleading in the future. Worse, even documentation
> written today, in full awareness of a coming change, can't do better
> than saying "watch out, this will do something else in the future".
> The first rule of backwards-compatibility is: never change the meaning
> of an existing valid command/API. Add new valid syntax, deprecate old
> valid syntax, but don't change the meaning of something that was and
> will be valid.


Clearly there’s a tension between that and keeping Guix open to changes.

> How about a more drastic measure: deprecate "guix environment" and
> introduce a new subcommand with the desired new behaviour?

That has the advantage of avoiding the problem you mention altogether
while also allowing for further changes.

The hard question then becomes: what do we call it?  I vote against
abbreviations.  :-)

Also, what other goals would we set for that command?  How would we
frame it in the set of commands?


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