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Re: customization; std vs. personal libraries

From: Thien-Thi Nguyen
Subject: Re: customization; std vs. personal libraries
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 01:12:20 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

ken <address@hidden> writes:

> If thought
> through sufficiently [...]

probably the result would be straight elisp or the customize facility.

> Would it be so difficult to parse a configuration file for values to
> plug into a function?

parsing is no big deal.  the difficulty lies in synchronization w/ the
other methods (straight elisp and customize facility), handling session
changes, handling syntax and/or semantic errors, providing useful help,
etc.  note that the customize facility has precisely the same problems
to overcome; another configuration format adds more hair w/o resolving
these and in fact compounds the problems.

> Finally, an ascii configuration file would also provide a listing of
> variables pertinent to the user, perhaps helping to maintain the
> separation, addressed by Drew, between standard libraries and personal
> startup libraries.

i think under the ideals of GNU (four freedoms), such a separation would
in time (over many years over many people (but obviously not all ;-))
diminish, by dint of source code being able to more easily flow from
"standard" to "personal" and back to "standard".  this ideal requires
questioning of authority, understanding of the mechanisms used by the
author, application of those mechanisms on a personal scale (becoming an
author in one's own right), and publishing the personalized methods (if
one is inclined to share).

the framework for this social process requires a language, and although
elisp is not perfect (by far) for the purpose of personalizing emacs'
behavior, it is superior to declarative languages (like config files),
which fail to satisfy deep personalization the way fashion fails to
satisfy deep personalization.

granted, there are those for whom fashion is enough, whose luxury is to
be satisfied w/ a choice of pre-fabbed, post-angst, artful artifact.  i
can understand that point of view, and suspect that many who would be
able to realize the config-file approach you advocate, can also see its
merit.  however, to realize it you have to hack elisp.  and once you've
started down that path (why are you fighting it, btw?), people and ideas
you find along the way may change your original intent and motivation.


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