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bug#17403: 24.4.50; package-alist doc-string error

From: Stefan Kangas
Subject: bug#17403: 24.4.50; package-alist doc-string error
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 05:22:04 +0200

Richard Kim <address@hidden> writes:

> I believe the doc-string for package-alist is incorrect.
> Each element is (PKG DESCS) rather than (PKG . DESCS), i.e.,
> each item is (list PKG DESCS) rather than (cons PKG DESCS).
> To fix this, the patch shown below can be applied.

You are correct.  There is indeed a difference between what the
documentation says and what the code does.  According to the code,
package-alist is *not* an alist, but a list of lists. (This goes back
to at least 2013 AFAICT.)

Yet it has the suffix "-alist".

I see three ways to rectify this:

    1) Change the code so that it is an alist.

    2) Update the documentation, rename the variable to
       something like package-list.

    3) Update the documentation, ignore that it's not an alist.

Out of these alternatives, I think the first is by far the least
attractive.  It has already been changed to not be an alist once.  But
which is the better of alternatives 2 and 3?

It would be good to hear what others think.

Stefan Kangas

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