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The Modernization of Emacs

[this post is a excerpt from
The Modernization of Emacs, Xah Lee, 2006-04 at
http://xahlee.org/emacs/modernization.html
]

The Modernization of Emacs

----------------------------------------
THE PROBLEM

Emacs is a great editor. It is perhaps the most powerful and most
versatile text editor. And, besides text editing, it also serves as a
email application, newsgroup application, ftp application, irc
application, web browser, shell interface, file management
application, programable calculator, calendar and personal info
management application, lisp language system, among other things.
These seemingly wild functionalities are employed in production daily
by a significant number of programers around the world. Some calls
emacs as a Operating System as a joke. (Technically it does not
qualify because a OS implies management of hardware.).

If emacs is such a great and powerful text editor why almost nobody
knows about it? Vast majority of people who need to write will be more
than happy to use editors other than emacs. Ask a Microsoft Windows
user. She'll be more than happy to use Microsoft Word↗. If he doesn't
have MS Word, he'll use NotePad↗ or WordPad↗. If he is a programer,
most will be more than happy to use any of other graphical editors on
the Windows platform or any of the Integrated development
environment↗. Same is true on other operating systems, and new editors
spring up here and there even though they don't have as much power or
flexibility as emacs. For example, there are NEdit, JEdit, Eclipse,
Xcode↗ , or the various associated with languages or third party
language software, such as Visual Basic or Borland C++.

Many reasons can be made out of this. For example, emacs is not
bundled on popular operating systems such as Windows or Mac, which are
used by some 99% of computer users worldwide. Windows and Mac both
have simple text editors bundled that will satisfy majority of
computer users, which are non-professional computer users. (NotePad
and WordPad on Windows, TextEdit↗ on Mac) For the few professional
computer users, a majority will need a easy to use, yet powerful
editor that also does styled text, formatting, and sundry light
publishing needs such as table layout, simple line graphics drawing,
embedded images, math formulas. They will choose and adopt Microsoft
Word for their needs. The tiny percentage that might be interested in
emacs, are programers. Even among professional programers, a majority
shy away from emacs.

A major difficulty among programers who do not use or like emacs, is
that emacs's user interface is rather esoteric, involving arcane
terminologies and keystrokes. This is in sharp contrast to the
thousands of software applications used today, where their User
Interface are similar and familiar to today's computer users.

----------------------------------------
THE COMMON USER INTERFACE

The following is a excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Common User
Access↗:

CUA was a detailed specification and set strict rules about how
applications should look and function. Its aim was in part to bring
about harmony between MS-DOS applications, which until then had
implemented totally different user interfaces.

Examples:

* In WordPerfect, the command to open a file was [F7], [3].

* In Lotus 1-2-3, a file was opened with [/] (to open the menus),
[W] (for Workspace), [R] (for Retrieve).

* In Microsoft Word, a file was opened with [Esc] (to open the
menus), [T] (for Transfer), [L] (for Load).

* In WordStar, it was [Ctrl]+[K]+[O].

* In Emacs, a file was opened with [Ctrl]+[x] followed by [Ctrl]+
[f] (for find-file).

Some programs used [Esc] to cancel an action, some used it to complete
one; WordPerfect used it to repeat a character. Some programs used
[End] to go to the end of a line, some used it to complete filling in
a form. [F1] was often help but in WordPerfect that was [F3]. [Ins]
sometimes toggled between overtype and inserting characters, but some
programs used it for “paste”.

Thus, every program had to be learned individually and its complete
user interface memorized. It was a sign of expertise to have learned
the UIs of dozens of applications, since a novice user facing a new
program would find their existing knowledge of a similar application
absolutely no use whatsoever.

----------------------------------------
SIMPLE CHANGES

In the following, i describe some critical changes that are also very
easy to fix in emacs. If emacs officially adopt these changes, i think
it will make a lot people, at least programers, like emacs and choose
emacs as their text editor.

* Change the keyboard shortcut of Copy & Paste to ctrl-c and ctrl-
v as to be the same with all modern applications.

* Change the undo behavior so that there is a Undo and Redo, as
the same with all modern applications.

* Get rid of the *scratch* buffer.

* Change the terminology of “kill” to “cut”, and “yank” to
“paste”.

* Change the terminology of Meta key to Alt.

* Make longlines-mode the default editor behavior for any file.

Things emacs should do now, even though it eventually will do.

* When opening a HTML document, automatically provide highlighting
of HTML, CSS, and Javascript codes. Similarly for other multi-language
files such as PHP, JSP, et al. This behavior must be automatic without
requiring user to customize emacs.

Possible Documentation Change Proposals

* Reduce the use of the word “buffer” in the emacs documentation.
Call it “opened file” or “unsaved document”.

* Switch the terminology of Window and Frame so it is more
standard. That is, Emacs's “Window” should be called Panes or Frames.
While Emacs's “Frame” should be termed Window.

* Change the terminology of keybinding to “keyboard shortcut” in
emacs documentation. Use the term keybinding or binding only in a
technical context, such as in elisp documentation.

Xah
xa*@xahlee.org
http://xahlee.org/

Jun 17 '07
331 12735
On Jun 20, 3:53 pm, Twisted <twisted...@gmail.comwrote:
On Jun 20, 4:21 pm, BartlebyScrivener <bscrivene...@gmail.comwrote:
On Jun 17, 10:13 am, Xah Lee <x...@xahlee.orgwrote:
[this post is a excerpt from
The Modernization of Emacs
----------------------------------------
SIMPLE CHANGES
At the command line, change "emacs" to "gvim"

Out of the frying pan and into the fire...
Nah.

http://www.debian-administration.org/polls/89

Jun 20 '07 #51
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 5:21 pm, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
>Twisted <twisted...@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 4:49 pm, Twisted <twisted...@gmail.comwrote:
On Jun 20, 4:35 pm, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
Twisted <twisted...@gmail.comwrites:
I continue to suspect that there's an ulterior motive for making and
keeping certain software actively beginner-hostile; a certain macho
elitism also seen with light aircraft pilots and commented on at
www.asktog.com(exactURLescapes me; sorry).
You are babbling.
>No, I am not. You, however, are being gratuitously insulting.
I have that exact URL now --
http://www.asktog.com/columns/027Int...sThatKill.html

Utterly unrelated to Emacs.

I think it is quite relevant. Clunky computer interfaces may not be
so dramatically dangerous, but they certainly can hamper
productivity.
But Emacs does not have a "clunky" interface.
Between Windows bugs and gratuitous misfeatures (e.g. DRM) and Unix
clunkiness, billions of dollars of potential productivity is lost
worldwide every *month*.
You are spewing again.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jun 20 '07 #52
On Jun 20, 5:22 pm, Matthias Buelow <m...@incubus.dewrote:
Twisted wrote:
That's a joke, right? I tried it a time or two. Every time it was
rapidly apparent that doing anything non-trivial would require
consulting a cheat sheet. The printed-out kind, since navigating to
the help and back without already having the help displayed and open
to the command reference was also non-trivial.

Ah, yes.. we live in a time where no-one seems to have the patience to
read documentation anymore. Maybe that's why there is such a scarcity of
good documentation with many "modern" software packages.
Emacs does have documentation. The problem is you have to already know
a load of emacs navigation oddities^Wkeyboard commands to get to and
use it.

Also, basic tasks should not require consulting the documentation,
unless the application genre is new to the user. Basic tasks requiring
the uninitiated to consult the documentation is okay in 3D modeling
apps, given the "uninitiated" have used none before. Basic tasks
requiring the uninitiated to consult the documentation is absolutely
ludicrous in a text editor.

I count "consulting the documentation" as one of those basic tasks,
along with the fundamental editing, saving, loading, and searching
functionality (including, of course, "searching the documentation").
``I abhor a system designed for the "user", if that word is a coded
pejorative meaning "stupid and unsophisticated".''
Yeah, and I abhor the elitist systems that are designed with the
philosophy that anyone who hasn't mastered years of arcane
memorization and training in just that one idiosyncratic system is /
ipso facto/ "stupid and unsophisticated". Most of us 6 and a half
billion people have better uses for our time, such as buckling in and
being promptly productive, once we're out of high school or college,
and fully three and a quarter of us are at least as smart as average,
and so /ipso facto/ *not* "stupid and unsophisticated".

Jun 20 '07 #53
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 5:03 pm, Kaldrenon <kaldre...@gmail.comwrote:
>I still have a good deal to learn, even of the basics, but I've toyed
with it casually for a little bit (a total of two hours at most, but
almost certainly less) and I already know enough that finding out how
to do anything else IS trivial. It's not a program whose controls
throw themselves at you, exactly, but with a touch of patience and a
genuine interest in learning, it's not too bad.

I don't know what software you're describing, but it's obviously not
emacs, unless there have been some HUGE changes to (at minimum) the
help and pane-navigation (er, excuse me, "window"-navigation)
controls...
So what version are you babbling about?

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jun 20 '07 #54
On Jun 20, 5:35 pm, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
But Emacs does not have a "clunky" interface.
That's for the everyday novice-to-intermediate user to decide. Your
gnu.org email address (and attitude) clearly marks you as not a normal
user, and so your opinion doesn't count.

Jun 20 '07 #55
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 5:22 pm, Matthias Buelow <m...@incubus.dewrote:
>Twisted wrote:
That's a joke, right? I tried it a time or two. Every time it was
rapidly apparent that doing anything non-trivial would require
consulting a cheat sheet. The printed-out kind, since navigating to
the help and back without already having the help displayed and open
to the command reference was also non-trivial.

Ah, yes.. we live in a time where no-one seems to have the patience to
read documentation anymore. Maybe that's why there is such a scarcity of
good documentation with many "modern" software packages.

Emacs does have documentation. The problem is you have to already
know a load of emacs navigation oddities^Wkeyboard commands to get
to and use it.
Menus and toolbars exist.
Also, basic tasks should not require consulting the documentation,
unless the application genre is new to the user.
And they don't.

Really, what is the last version of Emacs you actually tried?

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jun 20 '07 #56
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 5:35 pm, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
>But Emacs does not have a "clunky" interface.

That's for the everyday novice-to-intermediate user to decide.
And they do.
Your gnu.org email address (and attitude) clearly marks you as not a
normal user, and so your opinion doesn't count.
Your email address and attitude marks you as an anonymous troll.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jun 20 '07 #57
Twisted wrote:
Emacs does have documentation. The problem is you have to already know
a load of emacs navigation oddities^Wkeyboard commands to get to and
use it.
Yes, like hitting the F1 key.
Yeah, and I abhor the elitist systems that are designed with the
philosophy that anyone who hasn't mastered years of arcane
memorization and training in just that one idiosyncratic system is /
ipso facto/ "stupid and unsophisticated". Most of us 6 and a half
billion people have better uses for our time, such as buckling in and
being promptly productive, once we're out of high school or college,
and fully three and a quarter of us are at least as smart as average,
and so /ipso facto/ *not* "stupid and unsophisticated".
Noone forces you to use either Unix or emacs (or vi, for that matter).
I don't really understand what your problem is.
Jun 20 '07 #58
On Jun 20, 5:37 pm, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
...spewing...babbling...
I won't dignify your insulting twaddle and random ad-hominem verbiage
with any more responses after this one. Something with actual logical
argumentation to rebut may be another matter of course.

One more GG issue: those stupid star ratings. So potentially
prejudicial. So easy to game, as evidenced by your managing to somehow
vote 82 times(!) against one of my posts in a matter of minutes. So
far I've found a less-impressive method to game them -- it's not hard
to get throwaway accounts elsewhere, send yourself there a gmail
invite, and create many GG accounts. Handy to get around their onerous
posting limits. Handy for stuffing the star-vote ballot boxes with
multiple votes, too, but there's no way I can see to generate 82 of
them that fast by that method, and that much logging in and out in
that short a time using different accounts but from just one IP
address is sure to come up on Google's radar somehow, with
unpredictable but probably bad results. How did you do it? I'm
guessing they stop the link for voting appearing as a usable link on
the page for a) your own posts and b) the ones you've voted for, but
the link's URL still works, so if you use a script to keep fetching
the appropriate URL ...

Jun 20 '07 #59

Some entity, AKA Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>,
wrote this mindboggling stuff:
(selectively-snipped-or-not-p)
On the other hand, being actively beginner-hostile leads to nobody
adopting the tool. Then again, if you don't mind being the last
generation that'll ever use it, then I guess you're okay with that. If
it suits its existing users, the rest of us will just continue to use
something else.
I continue to suspect that there's an ulterior motive for making and
keeping certain software actively beginner-hostile; a certain macho
elitism also seen with light aircraft pilots and commented on at
www.asktog.com (exact URL escapes me; sorry).
Of course! real tools are not for wannabees.
Just like there are a lot of people that have a shed full off the most
modern power-tools that money can buy from the local DIY-Market,
but cannot build a chickencoop if their life depended on it.
If you are to lazy to learn how to use any tool, it will not serve
you in any usefull manner.
But if you are to dumb to grok it, it's useless anyway.

Cor

--
(defvar MyComputer '((OS . "GNU/Emacs") (IPL . "GNU/Linux")))
The biggest problem LISP has, is that it does not appeal to dumb people
If that fails to satisfy read the HyperSpec, woman frig or Tuxoharata
mailpolicy @ http://www.clsnet.nl/mail.php
Jun 20 '07 #60
On Jun 20, 8:28 am, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
Actually, the "E" in "Emacs" stands for "extensible". Part of the
appeal of Emacs is that you can change it to accommodate you.
Actually, though Emacs is the epitome of extensibility, the "E" stands
for "Editor." "EMACS" is simply short for Editor MACroS, and was
originally implemented as a set of TECO macros.

There's also the joke that EMACS stands for Esc Meta Alt Ctrl Shift,
due to it's (often overwhelmingly) large and sometimes complex set of
keystroke combinations used to invoke various editing functions. This
view is usually put forth by the vi camp during editor wars.

Speaking of which, vi is a piece of wombat do. ;-)

Regards,

-=Dave

Jun 20 '07 #61
On Wed, 20 Jun 2007 23:33:29 +0100, Dave Hansen <id**@hotmail.comwrote:
On Jun 20, 8:28 am, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
>Actually, the "E" in "Emacs" stands for "extensible". Part of the
appeal of Emacs is that you can change it to accommodate you.

Actually, though Emacs is the epitome of extensibility, the "E" stands
for "Editor." "EMACS" is simply short for Editor MACroS, and was
originally implemented as a set of TECO macros.

There's also the joke that EMACS stands for Esc Meta Alt Ctrl Shift,
due to it's (often overwhelmingly) large and sometimes complex set of
keystroke combinations used to invoke various editing functions. This
view is usually put forth by the vi camp during editor wars.
There are dozens of alternative interpretation for "EMACS".

http://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/gnuemacs.acro.exp.html

My favourite:

Elsewhere Maybe All Commands are Simple

Dan.

--
Daniel Dyer
http//www.uncommons.org
Jun 20 '07 #62
Twisted wrote:
This seems to be a closer analogy with emacs versus normal Windows
text editors.
Windows text editors are not normal: most are devoid of all but the most
primitive functions and are further hampered by having an interface that
required frequent time wasting hand transfers from keyboard to mouse
because, if they provide keyboard equivalents at all, these are
remarkably unmemorable and/or undocumented.

Ask anybody who used early versions of Word and you'll hear just how
much faster Word for DOS 5 was than any of its Windows incarnations.
This was because all commands were keystrokes so a skilled typist could
keep both hands on the keyboard all the time. WinWord's interface is a
clunker by comparison.

As for documentation, lets look at vi. Not a great editor, but every
*nix variation has it installed and any fool can learn to use it in
about 2 hours flat and it does at least have good pattern matching.

Can't find its documentation? Never heard of manpages ("man vi") or
apropos ("apropos vi")? My copy of vi understands ":help" and tells you
so if you start it without any arguments.

Amongst its benefits are that you can do anything its capable of by
using only a standard QUERTY keyboard plus ESC - no function keys, etc
are needed - which can save your bacon if somebody misconfigured your
console or the computer is dieing. Beyond that it has user-configurable
KEY BINDINGS so you can also set it up to suit both yourself and that
fancy keyboard in front of you.

Arguably even the weird controls are superior in some
way -- but only if you got used to them,
You mean that Alt-Esc or Windows-e aren't weird? How long is it since
you tried to use Windows with a dead mouse? There are a set of arcane
keystrokes to replace anything you can do with a mouse but I bet 99% of
windows users don't know any of them apart from TAB and CTRL-ALT-DEL.
The above applies equally to vi and its derivatives, if not more so --
vi is like taking that same already-wacky car with the two separate
throttles and adding, in a fit of quaint nostalgia, the need to
actually crank-start its engine. ;)
If you can't learn enough vi to get by with in half a morning you're
probably well out of your depth here on comp.lang.java.programmer.

Oh, I forgot: you don't read manuals so you ARE out of your depth.

--
martin@ | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org |
Jun 21 '07 #63
En Wed, 20 Jun 2007 19:33:29 -0300, alguien escribi:
Speaking of which, vi is a piece of wombat do. ;-)
Would you all please stop posting (and crossposting) about something that
is mostly off topic for 80% of the groups involved?
Or is someone going for the Longest Off Topic Thread Of The Year Award?

--
Gabriel Genellina

Jun 21 '07 #64
On 6/20/07, Martin Gregorie <ma****@see.sig.for.addresswrote:
Amongst its benefits are that you can do anything its capable of by
using only a standard QUERTY keyboard plus ESC - no function keys, etc
are needed - which can save your bacon if somebody misconfigured your
console or the computer is dieing.
While it is true that the original incarnation of vi only uses the
"regular" keyboard keys and the escape key, to make vi not painful to
use there are a whole slew of commands that have been added in vim and
other vi clones to add basic features, and many of these commands use
Ctrl (or some other function key). For example, the original vi lacks
a redo command (!), and consequently the redo command sequence in vim
is Ctrl-r. I don't think nearly as many people would use vi if none
of the Ctrl sequence commands present on modern versions of vi were
available due to the lack of features like this one.

--
Evan Klitzke <ev**@yelp.com>
Jun 21 '07 #65
On 6/20/07, Evan Klitzke <ev**@yelp.comwrote:
On 6/20/07, Martin Gregorie <ma****@see.sig.for.addresswrote:
Amongst its benefits are that you can do anything its capable of by
using only a standard QUERTY keyboard plus ESC - no function keys, etc
are needed - which can save your bacon if somebody misconfigured your
console or the computer is dieing.

While it is true that the original incarnation of vi only uses the
"regular" keyboard keys and the escape key, to make vi not painful to
use there are a whole slew of commands that have been added in vim and
other vi clones to add basic features, and many of these commands use
Ctrl (or some other function key). For example, the original vi lacks
a redo command (!), and consequently the redo command sequence in vim
is Ctrl-r. I don't think nearly as many people would use vi if none
of the Ctrl sequence commands present on modern versions of vi were
available due to the lack of features like this one.
Sorry to reply to my own message, but if I didn't someone else would
have corrected me! It's not that the original vi didn't have redo, but
it didn't have multiple undo, so using undo twice would effectively
function as a redo.

--
Evan Klitzke <ev**@yelp.com>
Jun 21 '07 #66
On 6/20/07, Gabriel Genellina <ga*******@yahoo.com.arwrote:
En Wed, 20 Jun 2007 19:33:29 -0300, alguien escribi:
Speaking of which, vi is a piece of wombat do. ;-)

Would you all please stop posting (and crossposting) about something that
is mostly off topic for 80% of the groups involved?
Or is someone going for the Longest Off Topic Thread Of The Year Award?

--
Gabriel Genellina

--
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
I for one, am finding the thread interesting, and it can be argued
that a discussion about text-editors is relevant in a group about any
programming language - although this specific topic (Modernization of
emacs) is certainly not VERY relevant to python, except in the sense
that a lot of people are seeing python as their first programming
language and need to figure out what editor to use (emacs being a very
powerful one with a steep learning curve)

Anyhow, the topic isn't a flamewar, and it's generating well-thought
out discussion - is it that big of a deal?
Jun 21 '07 #67
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 12:39 pm, jadam...@partners.org (Joel J. Adamson) wrote:
>The point is that the responsibility to customize is on the user.

Given that in its out-of-the-box configuration it's well-nigh unusable
without a printed-out "cheat sheet" of some kind, of the sort that
were supposed to have died out in the 80s, getting it customized poses
something of a catch-22 for anyone trying to get started using it.
"Catch 22" is the right phrase here: just catch Emacs 22 and get
started. Its out-of-the-box configuration is quite sensible.

What was the last version you said you actually tried out?

--
David Kastrup
Jun 21 '07 #68
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 5:37 pm, David Kastrup <d...@gnu.orgwrote:
>...spewing...babbling...

I won't dignify your insulting twaddle and random ad-hominem verbiage
with any more responses after this one. Something with actual logical
argumentation to rebut may be another matter of course.

One more GG issue: those stupid star ratings. So potentially
prejudicial. So easy to game, as evidenced by your managing to somehow
vote 82 times(!) against one of my posts in a matter of minutes.
It has not occured to you that actually thousands of people read those
postings? And they are heavily crossposted to boot (redirecting
followup to comp.emacs, I would suggest everybody else do the same).

And you have really nothing worthwhile to contribute. So if there is
some rating system (I don't use Google Groups so can't tell) in place,
your postings would certainly be good candidates for downrating.

Not that this posting of mine is much better, and actually the
followup-to comp.emacs would indicate that this is about Emacs.
However, you have still not given any information about what, if any,
version of Emacs your very vaguely expressed experiences are supposed
to have come from.
So far I've found a less-impressive method to game them -- it's not
hard to get throwaway accounts elsewhere, send yourself there a
gmail invite, and create many GG accounts.
And you wonder that people don't find it worthwhile reading you...
Handy to get around their onerous posting limits. Handy for stuffing
the star-vote ballot boxes with multiple votes, too, but there's no
way I can see to generate 82 of them that fast by that method, and
that much logging in and out in that short a time using different
accounts but from just one IP address is sure to come up on Google's
radar somehow, with unpredictable but probably bad results.
Uh, is there some monetary compensation for star ratings? Or what's
the deal? Really, if somebody can come up with a better group for
followups, feel free to direct there.
How did you do it? I'm guessing they stop the link for voting
appearing as a usable link on the page for a) your own posts and b)
the ones you've voted for, but the link's URL still works, so if you
use a script to keep fetching the appropriate URL ...
What a crazy obsession.

--
David Kastrup
Jun 21 '07 #69
E M A C S
i e n o w
g g d n a
h a t p
t b i p
y n i
t o n
e u g
s s
l
o y
f

m
e
m
o
r
y
Jun 21 '07 #70
Windows text editors are not normal: most are devoid of all but the most
primitive functions and are further hampered by having an interface that
required frequent time wasting hand transfers from keyboard to mouse
because, if they provide keyboard equivalents at all, these are
remarkably unmemorable and/or undocumented.
well ultra-edit, textpad, source-insight etc. pp are better than that
(and run on windows)
Jun 21 '07 #71
Dave Hansen <id**@hotmail.comwrote in comp.lang.perl.misc:
Speaking of which, vi is a piece of wombat do. ;-)
You can have Emacs when you pry it from my cold hypertrophied
escape-pressing pinky!

Anno
Jun 21 '07 #72
On 17 Jun., 17:13, Xah Lee <x...@xahlee.orgwrote:

Yaawn!
Xah
x...@xahlee.org
http://xahlee.org/
Hmm I just had to think about the C64/Amiga etc. game "California
Games"... The game displayed a comment when the player broke his neck
the 13th time when BMXing:

"Geek of the week!"

Karsten

Jun 21 '07 #73
On 2007-06-21, an******@radom.zrz.tu-berlin.de <an******@radom.zrz.tu-berlin.dewrote:
You can have Emacs when you pry it from my cold hypertrophied
escape-pressing pinky!
LOL!....

nb
Jun 21 '07 #74
Sascha Bohnenkamp wrote:
>Windows text editors are not normal: most are devoid of all but the most
primitive functions and are further hampered by having an interface that
required frequent time wasting hand transfers from keyboard to mouse
because, if they provide keyboard equivalents at all, these are
remarkably unmemorable and/or undocumented.

well ultra-edit, textpad, source-insight etc. pp are better than that
(and run on windows)
I said MOST, not all!

To your list I'd add PFE and a Windows port of microEmacs, which has
almost nothing in common with EMACS except some key bindings.

But to return to your point: how many Windows users actually install the
editors we've listed? I bet most never get past Wordpad. I've even found
people using Word, of all things, to edit BAT files and program source.

I'd give long odds that Windows users who use editors other than Wordpad
are using the one that came with whatever IDE they've installed, simply
because integrated editors are much more common in Windows-only IDEs
that they are on *nixen. My guess is that this is because the standard
editors (Wordpad, edlin) are so bad.
--
martin@ | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org |
Jun 21 '07 #75
In article <86************@lola.quinscape.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.org>
wrote:
Kaldrenon <ka*******@gmail.comwrites:
I'm very, very new to emacs. I used it a little this past year in
college, but I didn't try at all to delve into its features. I'm
starting that process now, and frankly, the thought of it changing -
already- upsets me. I don't feel like the program ought to change in
order to accommodate me.

Actually, the "E" in "Emacs" stands for "extensible". Part of the
appeal of Emacs is that you can change it to accommodate you.
Actually, the "E" in Emacs stands for "Editor". And the macs part stands
for "Macros". As in "Editor Macros". It started out as a bunch of macros
written in TECO.
Jun 21 '07 #76
Roy Smith <ro*@panix.comwrites:
In article <86************@lola.quinscape.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.org>
wrote:
>Kaldrenon <ka*******@gmail.comwrites:
I'm very, very new to emacs. I used it a little this past year in
college, but I didn't try at all to delve into its features. I'm
starting that process now, and frankly, the thought of it changing -
already- upsets me. I don't feel like the program ought to change in
order to accommodate me.

Actually, the "E" in "Emacs" stands for "extensible". Part of the
appeal of Emacs is that you can change it to accommodate you.

Actually, the "E" in Emacs stands for "Editor". And the macs part
stands for "Macros". As in "Editor Macros". It started out as a
bunch of macros written in TECO.
It's not like I did not know this. Don't ask me what got into my head
here.

--
David Kastrup
Jun 21 '07 #77
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| Given that in its out-of-the-box configuration it's well-nigh unusable
| without a printed-out "cheat sheet" of some kind, of the sort that
| were supposed to have died out in the 80s, getting it customized poses
| something of a catch-22 for anyone trying to get started using it.

indeed, not adhering to the half a dozen keybinding and menu
conventions that most newer applications use on OSX and Windows today
is not ideal UI design, but it doesn't really present that much of a
problem either; so it ends up being a non-issue to any regular user.
(actually, it isn't merely a case of changing some keybindings and
names -- the problem is that Emacs has a bunch of concepts that are
not easily mapped to trivial editor semantics, so it would be hard to
change without causing further confusion).

Emacs isn't really meant for the casual user and there are editors far
better suited for those who think spending an afternoon learning it is
too much. (compare to VI or VIM, which probably takes even a bit
longer to grasp, but which is beautifully practical once you
understand how it works. there's this good tech-talk given by Bram
Moolenaar available on about text editing and VIM).
) http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...31956647446078

-Bjrn
Jun 21 '07 #78
[Martin Gregorie <ma****@see.sig.for.address>]
|
| As for documentation, lets look at vi. Not a great editor, but every
| *nix variation has it installed and any fool can learn to use it in
| about 2 hours flat and it does at least have good pattern matching.

there's also the "info" system in Emacs, which not only covers Emacs
itself, but usually also a lot of documentation available for Emacs
extensions and other programs. again, this predates a lot of things
that people are used to today, so just because it seems (and sometimes
is) a bit more fiddly, it must necessarily be inferior.

the most common theme when people have to choose between products is
that they are not really comparing what it is like to use the products
like they were intended -- they are merely underlining that X is not
Y. for instance, Linux has come a long way in addressing the needs of
desktop users, yet some people refuse to use Linux because it doesn't
behave *exactly* like Windows (as if that was a worthwhile goal) and
they are too lazy or don't think they can manage, to learn a new
system.

-Bjrn
Jun 21 '07 #79
[BartlebyScrivener <bs**********@gmail.com>]
|
| http://www.debian-administration.org/polls/89

this is hardly surprising. I use both editors. for most sysadmin
tasks I use vi(m). for programming i use Emacs.

in part out of old habit (most UNIX systems had vi installed) and
partly because vi(m) is faster (which makes it more suitable when you
just need to change a couple of lines in a file).

for programming I use Emacs since I have a gazillion extensions I use
while programming that I don't even think about anymore. from various
forms of automated text completion to syntax checking/highlighting, to
enforcing style guides, look up symbol relationships, compile, debug
etc.
so if the context was system administration, I'd vote for vi as
well. if the context was programming I'd vote Emacs.

-Bjrn
Jun 21 '07 #80
Bjorn Borud <bo********@borud.nowrites:
[BartlebyScrivener <bs**********@gmail.com>]
|
| http://www.debian-administration.org/polls/89

this is hardly surprising. I use both editors. for most sysadmin
tasks I use vi(m). for programming i use Emacs.

in part out of old habit (most UNIX systems had vi installed) and
partly because vi(m) is faster (which makes it more suitable when you
just need to change a couple of lines in a file).
The idea is to start Emacs once and use it for everything.
so if the context was system administration, I'd vote for vi as
well. if the context was programming I'd vote Emacs.
You know you can use something like
C-x C-f /su::/etc/fstab RET
(or /sudo::/etc/fstab) in order to edit files as root in a normal
Emacs session?

--
David Kastrup
Jun 21 '07 #81
Lew
Bjorn Borud <bo********@borud.nowrites:
>so if the context was system administration, I'd vote for vi as
well. if the context was programming I'd vote Emacs.
David Kastrup wrote:
You know you can use something like
C-x C-f /su::/etc/fstab RET
(or /sudo::/etc/fstab) in order to edit files as root in a normal
Emacs session?
I've been using emacs for something like twenty years and never knew that before.

I like the built-in therapist in emacs.

--
Lew
Jun 21 '07 #82
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
>
Given that in its out-of-the-box configuration it's well-nigh unusable
without a printed-out "cheat sheet" of some kind, of the sort that
were supposed to have died out in the 80s, getting it customized poses
something of a catch-22 for anyone trying to get started using it.
I don't see that. C-h t is your friend if you're starting out. The
only keystrokes a user really needs to remember are C-x C-s and C-x C-c;
everything else simple text editing needs works as expected (arrow keys,
backspace and so forth). Granted, text-mode is friendlier than
fundamental-mode. Still, as a pico replacement emacs works well
enough--and as the user continue to works, he discovers more and more
functionality, eventually having a 10,000-line .emacs...

--
Robert Uhl <http://public.xdi.org/=ruhl>
Listening to someone who brews his own beer is like listening to a
religious fanatic talk about the day he saw the light.
--Ross Murray, Montreal Gazette, 1991
Jun 21 '07 #83
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| Being beginner-friendly doesn't have to be at the expense of power or
| expert-user usability.

depends on your definition of "expert". :-)
| On the other hand, being actively beginner-hostile leads to nobody
| adopting the tool. Then again, if you don't mind being the last
| generation that'll ever use it, then I guess you're okay with that.

obviously I lie awake dreading the day this happens. on my tombstone
will say "here lies the last Emacs user on earth. M-x rip".

-Bjrn

Jun 21 '07 #84
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| Emacs does have documentation. The problem is you have to already know
| a load of emacs navigation oddities^Wkeyboard commands to get to and
| use it.

that, or just start Emacs and follow the instructions that appear on
the screen.

indeed, I *am* aware that something demanding an attention span in
excess of 3 seconds is a bit of a tall order for most users today.

-Bjrn
Jun 21 '07 #85
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 12:39 pm, jadam...@partners.org (Joel J. Adamson) wrote:
>The point is that the responsibility to customize is on the user.

Given that in its out-of-the-box configuration it's well-nigh unusable
without a printed-out "cheat sheet" of some kind, of the sort that
were supposed to have died out in the 80s, getting it customized poses
something of a catch-22 for anyone trying to get started using it.
Again, I have to point out that I had a different experience. I did
the tutorial, and somehow immediately I understood how to customize.
I don't remember having any difficulty with Emacs other than not
liking the way it looked -- that's because I was on Windows (I later
found out). I soon fixed that problem. I didn't need a cheat-sheet,
since the help files are _actually_ _helpful_ unlike those "Help"
(=advertising) files on most other pieces of software.

My point is that I'm the sort of person that has a mind set up for
Emacs. I had none of the difficulties that someone else might have,
who's used to other kinds of software.

However, I'll also point out that my wife has used Emacs a couple
times, and she's never done more than point and click with a computer,
and she's had no frustration whatsoever.

Joel

--
Joel J. Adamson
Biostatistician
Pediatric Psychopharmacology Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 643-1432
(303) 880-3109

A webpage of interest:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/sylvester-response.html
Jun 21 '07 #86
On 2007-06-21, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
You know you can use something like
C-x C-f /su::/etc/fstab RET
(or /sudo::/etc/fstab) in order to edit files as root in a normal
Emacs session?
As I understand it, this will only work for ver 22 and later or if
you have tramp(?) installed. I have 2.3.1 (no tramp) and all I get is:

ftpopen su
ftp: su: Unknown host

I'm looking at upgrading to 22 for a couple other features, too.

nb
Jun 21 '07 #87
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jun 20, 5:03 pm, Kaldrenon <kaldre...@gmail.comwrote:
>I still have a good deal to learn, even of the basics, but I've toyed
with it casually for a little bit (a total of two hours at most, but
almost certainly less) and I already know enough that finding out how
to do anything else IS trivial. It's not a program whose controls
throw themselves at you, exactly, but with a touch of patience and a
genuine interest in learning, it's not too bad.

I don't know what software you're describing, but it's obviously not
emacs, unless there have been some HUGE changes to (at minimum) the
help and pane-navigation (er, excuse me, "window"-navigation)
controls...
We're talking about Emacs. In particular we're referring to

C-h t
C-h i
C-h ?

Or, since Emacs is customizable, for me it would be

<f1t
<f1i
<f1?

Joel

--
Joel J. Adamson
Biostatistician
Pediatric Psychopharmacology Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 643-1432
(303) 880-3109

A webpage of interest:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/sylvester-response.html
Jun 21 '07 #88
Lew <le*@lewscanon.nospamwrites:
Bjorn Borud <bo********@borud.nowrites:
>>so if the context was system administration, I'd vote for vi as
well. if the context was programming I'd vote Emacs.

David Kastrup wrote:
>You know you can use something like
C-x C-f /su::/etc/fstab RET
(or /sudo::/etc/fstab) in order to edit files as root in a normal
Emacs session?

I've been using emacs for something like twenty years and never knew
that before.
The package "tramp" will provide that (as well as editing files over
ssh, scp, rsync, telnet, plink...). It is already preinstalled in
Emacs 22.1, but can also be installed for earlier versions.

--
David Kastrup
Jun 21 '07 #89
ja******@partners.org (Joel J. Adamson) writes:
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
>On Jun 20, 5:03 pm, Kaldrenon <kaldre...@gmail.comwrote:
>>I still have a good deal to learn, even of the basics, but I've toyed
with it casually for a little bit (a total of two hours at most, but
almost certainly less) and I already know enough that finding out how
to do anything else IS trivial. It's not a program whose controls
throw themselves at you, exactly, but with a touch of patience and a
genuine interest in learning, it's not too bad.

I don't know what software you're describing, but it's obviously not
emacs, unless there have been some HUGE changes to (at minimum) the
help and pane-navigation (er, excuse me, "window"-navigation)
controls...

We're talking about Emacs. In particular we're referring to

C-h t
C-h i
C-h ?

Or, since Emacs is customizable, for me it would be

<f1t
<f1i
<f1?
Huh? The latter are available by default on Emacs 22.1.

--
David Kastrup
Jun 21 '07 #90
notbob <no****@nothome.comwrites:
On 2007-06-21, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>You know you can use something like
C-x C-f /su::/etc/fstab RET
(or /sudo::/etc/fstab) in order to edit files as root in a normal
Emacs session?

As I understand it, this will only work for ver 22 and later or if
you have tramp(?) installed. I have 2.3.1 (no tramp) and all I get is:

ftpopen su
ftp: su: Unknown host
I should think that version 2.3.1 would not even try ftp. Is that on
Multics?
I'm looking at upgrading to 22 for a couple other features, too.
You'll find that the last 30 years of development indeed make a
difference.

--
David Kastrup
Jun 21 '07 #91
Matthias Buelow <mk*@incubus.dewrites:
>
Here's a nice one from Ken Thompson:

``I abhor a system designed for the "user", if that word is a coded
pejorative meaning "stupid and unsophisticated".''
That's a good one. It's going on my wall.

Joel

--
Joel J. Adamson
Biostatistician
Pediatric Psychopharmacology Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 643-1432
(303) 880-3109

A webpage of interest:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/sylvester-response.html
Jun 21 '07 #92
Matthias Buelow <mk*@incubus.dewrites:
>
Here's a nice one from Ken Thompson:

``I abhor a system designed for the "user", if that word is a coded
pejorative meaning "stupid and unsophisticated".''
That's a good one. It's going on my wall.

Joel

--
Joel J. Adamson
Biostatistician
Pediatric Psychopharmacology Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 643-1432
(303) 880-3109

A webpage of interest:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/sylvester-response.html
Jun 21 '07 #93
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:

Yeah, and I abhor the elitist systems that are designed with the
philosophy that anyone who hasn't mastered years of arcane
memorization and training in just that one idiosyncratic system is /
ipso facto/ "stupid and unsophisticated". Most of us 6 and a half
billion people have better uses for our time, such as buckling in and
being promptly productive, once we're out of high school or college,
and fully three and a quarter of us are at least as smart as average,
and so /ipso facto/ *not* "stupid and unsophisticated".
You see, though, the problem is that computers are *not* easy to use.
People only say that they've been made easy to use in order to *sell*
things. The number one commodity in the technology business (with a
huge profit-margin attached to it) is "user-friendly." And it's
baloney! No one in my office that uses one of these supposedly
user-friendly machines thinks that it's actually easy to use. They
slam their keyboards and throw their hands up *every* day.

The only solution that really works is for people to _learn_ how to
use computers, and to accept that it will be a challenge.

And as for the arcane commands needed to get to the help page, their
on the splash screen. Have you used Emacs recently?

Joel
--
Joel J. Adamson
Biostatistician
Pediatric Psychopharmacology Research Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 643-1432
(303) 880-3109

A webpage of interest:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/sylvester-response.html
Jun 21 '07 #94
Lew
Joel J. Adamson wrote:
My point is that I'm the sort of person that has a mind set up for
Emacs. I had none of the difficulties that someone else might have,
who's used to other kinds of software.

However, I'll also point out that my wife has used Emacs a couple
times, and she's never done more than point and click with a computer,
and she's had no frustration whatsoever.
A new user of two hours' experience. A father of a six-year old whose child
hums along happily with emacs. A computer widow who "had no frustration
whatsoever" with it.

To the claim that "emacs is too hard for the beginner" we have a mounting pile
of steaming evidence that refutes. It may still be true that it is too hard
for some beginners, but then again the power cord can be too hard for some
people. (I used to help customers find the Big Red Switch when they first got
a computer. There were many who needed it.)

To the claim that emacs has arcane keystrokes comes the evidence that modern
revs have "normal" keystrokes like right-arrow, F1, Ctrl-End.

To the claim that the help is too hard to use comes the evidence that three
simple keystroke patterns are all one needs to know, and anecdotal evidence of
the help system's utility.

Some will refuse to face the truth. To the open-minded, let the facts speak
for themselves.

I bet Xah Les is all over smiles about how well his controversy bloomed.

--
Lew
Jun 21 '07 #95
On 2007-06-21, Lew <le*@lewscanon.nospamwrote:
To the claim that "emacs is too hard for the beginner" we have a mounting pile
of steaming evidence that refutes. It may still be true that it is too hard
for some beginners......
I point them to jed. I, too, was overwhelmed by emacs, initially, but
can't stand vi so I had to do something. jed was my savior. It uses
many standard keys like backspace and the arrows, so newbs aren't so
confused. When I finally became comfortable with the std emacs
keystrokes I got O'Reilly's great book and ventured into emacs. Love
it. But, still a rank newb and still use jed and slrn a lot till I
can learn to configure emacs like I want it.

vi, the heart of evil!

nb

Jun 21 '07 #96
On 2007-06-21, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>
I should think that version 2.3.1 would not even try ftp. Is that on
Multics?
Slackware 10.1

nb

Jun 21 '07 #97
Lew
Lew wrote:
>To the claim that "emacs is too hard for the beginner" we have a mounting pile
of steaming evidence that refutes. It may still be true that it is too hard
for some beginners......
notbob wrote:
I point them to jed. I, too, was overwhelmed by emacs, initially, but
can't stand vi so I had to do something. jed was my savior. It uses
many standard keys like backspace and the arrows, so newbs aren't so
confused.
You mean compared to the way emacs also uses the same "standard" keys, like
backspace and the arrows? How are the arrow keys in emacs more confusing than
the arrow keys in jed?

Your comment reads like you've missed most of this thread.

--
Lew
Jun 21 '07 #98
On 2007-06-21, Lew <le*@lewscanon.nospamwrote:
Your comment reads like you've missed most of this thread.
This may be due to the fact I've missed most of this thread.

nb
Jun 21 '07 #99
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
>
>Emacs is amazingly beginner-friendly for the power and flexibility it
provides. [snip]

That's a joke, right? I tried it a time or two. Every time it was
rapidly apparent that doing anything non-trivial would require
consulting a cheat sheet. The printed-out kind, since navigating to
the help and back without already having the help displayed and open
to the command reference was also non-trivial.
C-h i, C-x b RET is non-trivial?!?
Four hours of wasted time later, with zero productivity to show for
it, I deleted it. The same thing happened again, so it wasn't a bad
day or a fluke or a one-off or the particular version, either.
If you'd spent half an hour using the tutorial (helpfully displayed
right there when you start emacs), you could have saved three and a half
hours of wasted time. And you'd now be using an actual text editor,
which is often helpful.

--
Robert Uhl <http://public.xdi.org/=ruhl>
The cover art on the O'Reilly tome isn't meant to anthropomorphize
sendmail itself after all; it's actually a subliminal warning that
one'd need to be bats to want to use sendmail. --Anthony de Boer
Jun 21 '07 #100

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