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Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2015 10:16:40 -0400

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You have presented practical arguments, but they are extremely minor
ones; they can't justify much.

  > Not in the first day, but we have people use Emacs over a period of ten 
  > as part of a software construction course.  A primary benefit of Emacs over 
  > editors like vim (which is what we've also used in the past) is its 
  > programmability.  I want students to be able to read and understand the 
  > code of the tools they're using.

To understand Emacs Lisp (beyond the rudiments) one must learn an awful lot.
A convention such as `...' is insignificant by comparison.  Thus, the benefit
of eliminating `...' would be little.

As long as both `...' and curly quotes are being used, instead of a tiny
simplification it would be a tiny extra complication.

  > Although they apply primarily to the UI, they also apply to source code. 
  > Previously a docstring couldn't unambiguously quote Lisp code containing ' 
or `. 
  >   Now it can.

When we mention a complicated expression in a doc string, we typically
put it on separate lines, for readability.  Then we don't need any
sort of quotation marks around it.  Thus, this issue is not a real
problem in practice.

  >  Previously one could cut from a *Help* buffer and paste into a
  > docstring; this remains true only because curved quotes now work
  > in a docstring

I recommend copying from the source code of the function.
(One might want to copy more than just the doc string.)

  > Also, nonexperts read Lisp code at times, and we're better off simplifying 
  > process of reading the code and becoming expert.

What I said about the first point applies here too: to guess the
meaning of `...' is insignificant by comparison with the rest of what
you have to guess, and as long as both forms are used, this means
a tiny complication rather than a tiny simplification.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (gnu.org, fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See stallman.org/skype.html.

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