Thomas Guettler wrote:
Thank you for writing and mainting fetchmail!
I hope you can cope with negativ feedback, too: I think it is
confusing that you can use these noise keywords `and', `with', `has'.
I agree that the syntax is confusing, but I don't think it's primarily
because of the noise words. On the other hand, unlike ESR I don't
think they help matters at all. ESR claims that the English-looking
syntax is a good thing, but I completely disagree.
A fixed syntax is easier to remember:
The problem is that there are possible subsections in server entries,
and possible subsections of those, yet the current syntax (and this
suggested one, at least is this example) doesn't really make that
clear. The man page doesn't clarify it much either. Figuring out
the order to write keywords in an entry can be hit-or-miss, especially
when adding a keyword to an existing entry.
I recently told fetchmail to use ssl for one of my servers, and was
surprised that it complained when I put the ssl keyword near the
protocol rather than after specifying the user info. I can understand
putting different keywords in different subsections of an entry, but
it would help if those subsections were more explicit.
XML would be even better,
XML would solve many of the problems, but I don't think it's very
friendly to a person with a text editor. It's more for programs
communicating with each other.
Anyway, a while back I suggested to ESR that the config syntax be
changed, but he refused because of backward compatibility issues.
There's a huge installed base of fetchmail users that would be annoyed
if their config files stopped working, and ESR (for good reasons)
doesn't want to have two different config parsers in fetchmail.
But I think if major changes are planned, especially if those changes
would break existing config files anyway, the config syntax deserves a
The man-page is too complex. Normaly I prefer man-pages to
info-files. But here info would be easier to read.
True. Would you like volunteer to convert the man page to info? :-)
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