..... They are extensions to bring CSS closer to a programming language (as opposed to extensions to support more of typography). They would at first sight be useful for advanced users, but in reality they are not, and are in fact harmful for the 'semantic Web,' .....
That was the bit that appealed to me too.
I'm averse to CSS becoming a programming language, and not because I can't, trust me I can! but because I care about the semantic web and standards (and obviously CSS ;)), IMHO ... ANY extension that is simply for the benefit of authors, as opposed to users, added via an external application/module
Yup. Except - as I said in my first post, many of the same souls who have been seemingly lone voices reminding us HTML is a mark-up language, css is for style, and facing down the "anti-semantic / couldn't care about accessibility " (for some reasons those arguments get locked together) are now calling for constant/macros/variables/programming.
I can't figure the reason for what seems like a contradictory move. (I think the lack of a consistent name about the new position also informs.) And this is not about better/worse. It is about why the stalwarts changed position - which I had hoped might lead to understanding why it is a good/bad idea.
But it means the browser MUST implement it.
... is still a critical issue to my mind, and, for me, this too:
Don't presume to remove tools from my belt to protect me from myself - I want my chainsaw, dammit!
Yup, and don't sneakily try to turn my chainsaw into a reciprocating saw either!