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bug#23425: master branch: `message' wrongly corrupts ' to curly quote.

From: John Wiegley
Subject: bug#23425: master branch: `message' wrongly corrupts ' to curly quote.
Date: Wed, 04 May 2016 11:46:58 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.130014 (Ma Gnus v0.14) Emacs/25.0.93 (darwin)

>>>>> Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden> writes:

> There won't be lots of complaints about this. There will be a few people who
> notice, and some of them will utterly hate it, just as I do. Some will have
> their Lisp rendered unworkable, just as happened to me. There are thousands
> of options in Emacs, and most users care about only a small subset (although
> the subset is different for each user). You could remove any option, no
> matter how "important", and you'd get only a small number of complaints.
> This doesn't seem to me like the way to judge things.

Hi guys,

I appreciate the passion on this issue; I had a feeling this would come up,
and I think the reaction is going to be far more widespread than some expect.

As maintainer, I'll go on record by saying that I very much dislike the new
curly quotes logic. After the reactions I've read here, I'm convinced again
that a customization option needs to exist in 25.1, so we can easily recommend
it to people who react as Alan has done.

I realize it's harder to take away a defcustom than to promote a defvar, but
this is too much of a hot issue to wait an entire release for sufficient bug
reports to come in before we act. If we think this reaction is going to be
isolated to just a few developers here, I fear we've underestimated the global
capacity for bike-shedding: and nothing says bike-shedding better than a
purely aesthetic concern as minor as ' vs. ’.

In fact, I would like to rip all the curly-quote redisplay logic out of Emacs,
for several reasons:

  1. It achieves nothing technically. Emacs is not a better editor because of
     it in any objective way; it is purely an aesthetic change, desired only
     by those who agree with its aesthetics.

  2. It has caused numerous bugs already.

  3. It has provoked heated debate many times already. The amount of time
     lost on emacs-devel to this one issue is an absolute shame.

  4. It changes Emacs according to the preferences of specific people, without
     giving others -- in the very spirit of Emacs! -- an option to choose
     one's desired behavior in the standard fashion.

At this point, I cannot undo this feature, since that would destabilize 25.1.
However, we must have an option to conveniently disable it before the release
happens. Of that I am now certain. Would someone be willing to craft a patch,

Lastly, to play devil's advocate: I also recognize, after having written this,
that I'm something of an "old fogey" in Emacs terms, with a special place for
ASCII in my heart. It's quite possible that the new-and-coming generation is
very fond of Unicode, and they will all love this feature, since it gives
Emacs a more modern "feel". For their sake, I'm prepared to wait for the
world's judgment before deciding that this feature is entirely terrible.

But for the sake of my fellow dinosaurs, I need a way to turn it off! Please!
They are like tiny knives, stabbing at my mind with their Unicode edges; or a
plague of typeset locusts, foretelling the soon-to-come Apostroclypse.

I hope we can resolve this discussion with less ire, and more focus on what
will make 25.1 a better release. No one is ill-intended here. We just have
very different opinions on what looks nice.

John Wiegley                  GPG fingerprint = 4710 CF98 AF9B 327B B80F
http://newartisans.com                          60E1 46C4 BD1A 7AC1 4BA2

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