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Re: Summary and next steps for (package-initialize)

From: Alex
Subject: Re: Summary and next steps for (package-initialize)
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:24:00 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Yuri Khan <address@hidden> writes:

> On Sun, Aug 20, 2017 at 11:37 PM, Alex <address@hidden> wrote:
>> There could be a link (and perhaps keybinding) on the splash
>> screen/tutorial, where Emacs could ask the user a few questions and
>> create an init file for the user. Possible questions include:
>> Would you like this file in ~/ or ~/.emacs.d (.emacs vs init.el)?
>> Would you like to change some defaults? (This could help out with the
>> (IMO correct) notion that Emacs has some poor defaults while leaving
>> those alone for users that don't use this template.)
>> Would you like to use a separate file for `custom-file'?
>> Would you like to set up the package system?
>> I believe that this would be a step forward in accommodating new users.
> This amounts to asking the new user to perform customization up front.
> A new user will not have enough knowledge to answer these questions.

That would depend on the questions asked. I don't think asking "would
you like your init file in your home directory or in a separate
directory" or "what is your preferred tab size" is asking too much. The
other questions might be more palatable if they deal at a higher level
of abstraction (e.g., don't mention Customize or package.el directly).

> Further, he or she may feel intimidated and choose a different editor,
> one that works out of the box.

This procedure would be completely opt-in. I agree that it shouldn't
offer too much customization (or they'd be there forever), at least by

I don't think that such a procedure would intimidate users, at least not
more than the current built-in options available. There's already
something similar on the splash screen: a link to a Customize buffer
about "Initialization".

> It is better to have reasonably sane defaults and let the user
> customize when he or she is ready.

I agree, but I don't see how that necessarily contradicts with my
proposal. Even if the defaults are improved, I still believe having an
opt-in procedure to make a skeleton init file would make it easier for
new users to adopt Emacs.

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