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

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Summary and next steps for (package-initialize)
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2017 14:21:43 -0700 (PDT)

> > I still haven't seen an /argument *why*/ we shouldn't have users /opt
> > in/ to turn on use of the package system. Other than the simple
> > observation that some users have gotten confused about how to
> > appropriately turn it on.
> ... external packages ... need to be installed separately.
> I'd like this to be as easy as possible.

I've already said that I too think it should be easy.  I think it
should be easier than it is now, more obvious, and less error prone.

Why isn't the package-system doc improvement started, as the first
thing to do?  You might be surprised how much better doc might help
with user confusion.  Seems like that would be a good thing for those
who are familiar with the package mgr and are strong proponents of it
to work on.

> Enabling the package manager by default is one way to do this.

One way, sure.  Not necessary, just to make things easy, but it is
presumably one way.  Overkill, I'd suggest.

If you have an Emacs feature that is unclear or overly complicated
to use, and yet it is very popular, it seems like the first thing
to work on would *not* be just turning it on by default but making
it clearer (both the interface and the doc) and easier to use.

> I'd like us to give more visibility to Emacs packages, because I commonly
> run into people who use package in Atom or Visual Studio Code, but not in
> Emacs (and that's not because Emacs provides the corresponding features
> without an extra packages)

That is *not* a great reason to enable something by default.

That is a bit like the fellow who adds a new feature and wants it
turned on by default because it is a shiny new feature.  "Turn it
on so people are aware of it", we hear occasionally.  Not a good

The use of packages by Emacs users has taken off very quickly and
sees no sign of abating.  I see no argument that we need to turn
on the package manager by default just to let users know that there
is a package manager and there are packages.  Emacs users know both.
YAGNI.  That's not where they need help with packages.

> (Also: having the package manager enabled by default allows us to
> split some functionality out of core and into separate packages)

All you need is the package mgr for that.  You don't need it enabled
by default.

> > `delete-selection-mode' is not turned on by default (but it should be).
> `transient-mark-mode' was not turned on by default for decades (it finally
> was, thank goodness, but only after a lot of time and debate). And so on.
> I agree with this too, and I see package.el as another feature that should
> be enabled by default.

The question (still) is why.

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