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Bug#890946: debian-policy: Editor policy is inconsistent with sensible-editor's behaviour

Matthew Woodcraft writes ("Bug#890946: debian-policy: Editor policy is inconsistent with sensible-editor's behaviour"):
> The rationale for this behaviour is in bug 482774 [1].

IMO #482274 was misconceived.

The reason for the existence of sensible-editor is to make it
convenient to implement the policy requirement to honour EDITOR
etc. in programs whose source code doesn't do so already.

It was not intended to be a point where general functionality
"enhancements" could be made - because, obviously, programs aren't
required to use it.

> The effect is that users see inconsistent behaviour depending on whether the
> program launching the editor is using sensible-editor or implementing the
> policy mechanism directly (which in my experience is much more common).


> Ideally I think Policy would permit exactly one of these behaviours, but at
> any rate what it currently says is untrue so something should change.

If policy were to require the behaviour requested in #482274, lots and
lots of programs should change.  And the result would be howls of
protest as lots of existing programs start to bother the user with
questions rather than just running some editor.

I think #482274 should probably simply be reverted.

>From the POV of the policy package: I think existing policy is
correct.  A bug should be filed against sensible-editor saying that
#482274 should be reverted so that programs which use sensible-editor
conform to policy.

The alternative would be to change policy to mandate that every
program should use sensible-editor rather than implementing the
EDITOR/VISUAL logic itself.

If some kind of autoselection is considered desirable, it could
perhaps be done by changing the behaviour of /usr/bin/editor, but
likewise, I predict (additional) annoyance.


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
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