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Re: Installing cond* in core

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Installing cond* in core
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2024 12:38:23 +0000

Hello, Eli.

On Sun, Jan 28, 2024 at 08:09:28 +0200, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2024 23:33:52 +0000
> > Cc: emacs-devel@gnu.org
> > From: Alan Mackenzie <acm@muc.de>

[ .... ]

> > On this point, it's worth noting that pcase was silently slipped into
> > Emacs in the dead of night without any public discussion, and was then
> > widely proliferated through working code, again without discussion.

> Please drop this attitude: it is not useful.  In Emacs development,
> stuff is routinely "slipped into Emacs in the dead of the night
> without any public discussion", for better and for worse.

Pretending it didn't happen and failing to discuss it is not healthy for
the project.  Routine bug fixes, and uncontroversial stuff is committed
without discussion, yes.  Otherwise we'd be doing nothing else but silly
discussions on emacs-devel.

But changes which fundamentally affect the way everybody works should be
openly discussed, first.  pcase was such a change, and it was not
discussed.  Had if been discussed first, then:

(i) Its faults could have been identified and corrected, or at least
(ii) It would have had adequate documentation from the start.
(iii) Richard wouldn't be trying to fix things 14 years later by
  crafting a better alternative.

> I'm sure that if you examine the logs of your own changes, you will
> see many examples of that; I know I see that in mine and in most
> other's.

I don't think I have ever intalled anything controversial without
discussing it on the list.  I don't think you have, either.  For
example, when you enhanced redisplay a few years ago to display line
numbers, that was openly discussed.  A few bugs were found, and you made
one or two changes to the design in response to feedback.  That's the
way things should work.  It didn't happen for pcase.

> E.g., I installed a user-facing change just yesterday without asking
> anyone's opinion.  This is how Emacs is developed for decades, and we
> should by now realize that this is our strength, although it does have
> known downsides.  The stuff that goes into the repository is sent to a
> special mailing list, so people who want to be aware of things
> "slipping in the dead of night" have ample opportunity to pay
> attention and holler.

Controversial things should be discussed _before_ being committed to
master, before their designs are finalised, not afterwards.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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