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Bug#197835: [PROPOSAL]: integrated environments are allowed

[As Joey said recently in another discussion, please follow up to the
bug, not to debian-policy.]

On Wed, Jun 18, 2003 at 01:02:37AM -0400, Colin Walters wrote:
> On Tue, 2003-06-17 at 20:28, Colin Watson wrote:
> > I think this is very bad. At the moment policy says that my EDITOR and
> > PAGER variables have priority over what random programs think is a good
> > idea, which I think is excellent. 
> Yes...but the idea is if programs have a preferred version for a
> reason.  Integrated environments like GNOME and KDE have very good
> reasons to prefer a particular editor, namely the one they ship with. 

*I* have very good reasons to prefer a particular editor, namely that I
can use it with great facility and by and large find other editors
uncomfortable and inflexible. Policy has this provision for a reason.

If the editor is actually part of the other program, such as editing a
text area in a web form directly in Mozilla, then I'd be willing to make
an exception, but not otherwise. "Use integrated environment's editor"
should be an option defaulting to off: note that newbies will not have
$EDITOR set at all so this won't affect them, and many other people may
choose to set $EDITOR in a context that doesn't apply to their whole X
session so that programs launched from a window manager menu don't see
it. This is fine.

> Again, this is simply codifying the status quo.  Nothing in Debian
> should change.

I honestly think that the status quo is broken, and therefore don't like
the idea of writing it into policy (particularly in the manner of your
proposal which effectively renders the paragraph in question completely
ineffective because the exception is so general, but even beyond that).
Is it really necessary to alienate lots of experienced users by
insisting that GNOME and KDE are exceptions to all the rules whose
consistent application has up until now made Debian a pleasure to use?
Remember in particular that not everyone uses them as a complete

> We have to face the fact that policy was written before there was
> anything like an integrated desktop environment.  At the time Debian was
> just a random hodgepodge of unrelated software, and Debian's main task
> was trying to get it to work together in some sane fashion.  But now we
> have software that's all *designed* to work together from the start.  By
> imposing Debian's own view of how things should be done on it, we're
> breaking that which gives it value.

But you're insisting that nobody might ever use it in a way different
from what its designers expected. This is just not true in the real
world: I've been known to fire up konqueror from a slightly GNOMEish
environment, and it had better not try to spawn KDE's editor and KDE's
pager for things. If I want it to do that, I'll unset $EDITOR and


Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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