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[O] Stable releases

From: Scott Randby
Subject: [O] Stable releases
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 13:18:35 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/31.8.0

While I've used Org's development version in the past, I stopped doing that due to my failure to learn how to use git (no time) and other issues. Now, I only use the stable releases. But the latest 8.3 release doesn't seem so stable to me, so I'd like some clarification about what the Org maintainers mean by a stable release. Perhaps this is too vague, so let me explain a bit.

Normally, I wait many months before upgrading Org to a new stable release, but when 8.3 was released, I upgraded right away (from 8.2.10) since I have a new machine on which I installed Emacs 24.5. I read through the release notes for anything that might give me problems and didn't see anything.

When I started using 8.3, I discovered that the behavior of commented headlines had been changed---a change with which I disagree, a change I could not find in the release notes, and one which forces me to alter a huge number of files. It seems I missed the discussion about commented headlines on the mailing list. This is due to my limited knowledge of elisp and programming in general, a gap which makes it difficult for me to follow the more technical discussions on the mailing list. While it has been explained to me that the change is a feature, I consider it to be a serious bug since it is not backwards compatible.

Another issue I had with 8.3 is the deletion of the org-latex-with-hyperref variable, something I could not find in the release notes (maybe I missed it). I understand that having Org insert \hypersetup{...} details is the most desirable situation, but I fail to see the harm in keeping org-latex-with-hyperref for those of us who needed it in the past. Yes, I figured out a fix, but this is a fix that forces me to stick with an outmoded way of doing things, and so I consider this deletion to be a bug.

I do understand that all software has bugs, and that everyone working on Org is doing so voluntarily (thank you so much for your wonderful work). But I was very surprised to find that the evaluation of table formulas didn't work in 8.3.1. I could see something like this happening in the development version, but it is somewhat mysterious to me how such a bug could make its way into a stable release.

I guess what I want to know, and maybe there is no answer, is how long should I wait before upgrading to a stable release? Org is by far the most important piece of software I use (I hate it when I can't use Org), and bugs (which I know can't be avoided) make it hard, even impossible, for me to get my real work done. If there is a way for me to minimize encountering bugs, I will appreciate a description of that way.

Scott Randby

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