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Re: Adding packages to ELPA

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Adding packages to ELPA
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:26:46 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4.50 (gnu/linux)

>>>> For popular packages to be distributed outside of Emacs and ELPA
>>>> has some bad consequences:

>>>> * We can't change them when we change some part of Emacs that they use.
>>>> That makes it hard for us to change interfaces.

>>>> * We don't have copyright assignments in them, so we can't move the code
>>>> into Emacs.

>>>> * They may say things that work against the GNU Project in other ways,
>>>> such as by recommending nonfree programs, or by recommending rivals of
>>>> GNU packages.

>>>> I think therefore that we do more to move the popular packages into
>>>> ELPA or Emacs.

Right, these are pretty much my motivations, indeed.
[ Except for the "say things against GNU" part since moving them to GNU
  ELPA is generally not an option anyway; or at least, not before the
  problem itself is solved .  ]

Another is to improve users's experience by having more packages
available right away without having to customize their
`package-archives' first.

Also, I think it's important to include packages in GNU ELPA *early*.
For some reason, many people think of GNU ELPA as a kind of collection
of packages that have been blessed by the powers after due
considerations and checks, which inevitably is linked to the idea that
these are mature packages.

So I regularly see answers like "yes, I'd be honored to put this in GNU
ELPA when it's finished, but it's still being developed" (and this is
typically for packages that have seen a couple releases announced on

Of course, the package is never "finished" and if it ever gets to be
mature enough for the author to maybe think he should submit it to GNU
ELPA, now we have to go track down all the contributors for paperwork.

So, it's important to be very proactive and to try and get packages into
GNU ELPA very early on, when the copyright status is much more simple,
so that the copyright assignments can be collected progressively as the
contributions get accepted.


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