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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 12733
On Jun 25, 12:32 am, Twisted <twisted...@gmail.comwrote:
>
It looks like there are
several utterly different pieces of software that have one thing in
common - the name "emacs"...
When you start emacs in a text console, you see this:

Welcome to GNUEmacs, one component of the GNU/Linux operating system.
Get help C-h (Hold down CTRL and press h)
Emacsmanual C-h r
Emacstutorial C-h t Undo changes C-x u

Really? That is not what I recall seeing. Are you talking aboutemacs-
the-text-mode-editor, oremacs-the-hybrid-somethingorother-when-you-
happen-to-run-it-from-the-command-prompt-on-unix? Because I've been
discussing the former.
Everyone now uses http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/
or a minor derivative of it.

Its official distribution FTP location is
http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/emacs/

And for the Windows port, the official FTP is here
http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/emacs/windows/

We don't care about the 1970 version of Emacs,
because of course back then there WAS NO GUI.

- JackT

Jun 25 '07 #201
Some entity, AKA JackT <ja******@gmail.com>,
wrote this mindboggling stuff:
(selectively-snipped-or-not-p)
We don't care about the 1970 version of Emacs,
because of course back then there WAS NO GUI.
But if you are blind as bat, any 2007's GUI is useless.

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 25 '07 #202
On Jun 25, 12:56 am, Cor Gest <c...@clsnet.nlwrote:
Some entity, AKA JackT <jackt...@gmail.comwrote this mindboggling stuff:
(selectively-snipped-or-not-p)
No need to be insulting.
>
We don't care about the 1970 version ofEmacs,
because of course back then there WAS NO GUI.

But if you are blind as bat, any 2007's GUI is useless.
You may have missed part of the discussion.

Today's GNU emacs will still run with most of its features
(even keyboard-driven text-drawn menu) when you run
it on a GUI-less environment.

At the same time, today's GNU emacs, when run on a GUI,
will be able to pop up file-selection menus, display colors, etc. etc.

- JackT
Jun 25 '07 #203
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
>
Really? None of [navigating a folder window analogue] happens if
you just do the straightforward file-open command, which should
obviously at least provide a navigable directory tree, but
definitely does not.

The first does. Really, it does. Fire up emacs (which you've never
done before) and type C-x C-f.

Whoa, Nellie. I seem to recall we were discussing the file-open
command. That was something else, like C-x C-o or something. More
apples-and- oranges?
Fortunately, emacs has a facility to tell exactly what's bound to a key
sequence. C-h k (or f1 k, if you prefer)followed by that sequence will
display what's bound to it, and the documentation for that function.

C-h k C-x C-o yields:

C-x C-o runs the command delete-blank-lines

C-h k C-x o yields:

C-x o runs the command other-window

C-h k C-x C-f yields:

C-x C-f runs the command find-file

So you can see how cool emacs is, here's the entire output for C-x C-f,
demonstrating how the editor documents itself:

C-x C-f runs the command find-file
which is an interactive compiled Lisp function in `files.el'.
It is bound to <open>, C-x C-f, <menu-bar<file<new-file>.
(find-file filename &optional wildcards)

Edit file filename.
Switch to a buffer visiting file filename,
creating one if none already exists.
Interactively, the default if you just type RET is the current directory,
but the visited file name is available through the minibuffer history:
type M-n to pull it into the minibuffer.

Interactively, or if wildcards is non-nil in a call from Lisp,
expand wildcards (if any) and visit multiple files. You can
suppress wildcard expansion by setting `find-file-wildcards' to nil.

To visit a file without any kind of conversion and without
automatically choosing a major mode, use M-x find-file-literally.
>You will be presented with a prompt
something like 'Find file: ~/'; hit tab once; you'll see the message
'[Complete, but not unique]'; hit tab again and you will be presented a
list of all files in that directory.

Sounds clunky anyway. I don't need a bunch of keypresses to do the
equivalent in an Explorer-based file-open dialog in a native Windows
app. Just a double-click.
Generally, you need to scroll, too, as the Windows file widget doesn't
display a lot of files at once.
Of course, there's an even faster Windows way, if you don't mind not
seeing lists of possible items:
Alt, f, o
Startofname-down-/-Subd-down-/
How is this different from C-x C-f Startofname-tab-Subd-tab? Except
emacs saves you type slashes...
>If you like 'em, though, just select File:Visit New File. It gives
you a platform-default (gtk+, for me) file selector.

Now we're talking about a graphical port instead of stock emacs
again. :P
That _is_ stock emacs, I assure you.
>Fortunately, folks brighter than you & I have imagined a nice way for
us. It pops up a new Emacs window (pane, if you prefer the
terminology) showing a list of all filenames. You could continue
typing, or just click on a filename in the window, or hit return
while the cursor is on a filename in that window.

Back to discussing a graphical port again.
It's not a port--it's emacs. And save for the click all of the above
works in both a GUI and a console. It's nice working the same way in
multiple places.
Besides the apples and oranges issue, this amounts to implementing a
dodgy imitation of a file open dialog anyway. Why bother with such an
imitation when you can use a natively-GUI editor written for your
platform and get access to the real thing?
Because it's nice having the same interface no matter what. Because
GUIs come and GUIs go (remember CDE? OpenView?), but emacs will always
be there. Because it's nice being able to fire up emacs and not care
what platform one is running on.

--
Robert Uhl <http://public.xdi.org/=ruhl>
prepBut nI vrbLike adjHungarian! qWhat's artThe adjBig nProblem?
-- Alec Flett
Jun 25 '07 #204
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
>
>I have two frames open right now: one 80x70, the other around 180x70
(characters, not pixels). One isn't split at all; the other is split
into four windows, horizontally and vertically.

Then you're obviously not using the One True Emacs I am criticizing,
which is a console app.
No, the One True Emacs supports GUIs. It has since 1991. Take a look
at <http://linux.softpedia.com/screenshots/Emacs_2.png>.
>emacs has continued doing its own thing, mostly because that thing is
better. The CUA standards (there exists an emacs package if you
really want them) are broken and lame--I and most other don't wish to
cripple our text editor of choice.

"CUA standards"? I'm sorry, I don't speak Botswanan. If you mean
Windows standards like for cut, copy, and paste, "broken and lame" is
obviously in the eye in the beholder, and something 97% of computer
users are used to is the defacto standard, so it's the other 3% that
are "broken and lame". ;)
Popularity is no measure of goofness.
No, we're discussing ... oh, nevermind. It looks like there are
several utterly different pieces of software that have one thing in
common - the name "emacs".
That is actually true. There's GNU emacs (the original and still the
best). There's XEmacs (a fork of the same). Then there are a myriad of
ancient emacsen, most particularly Gosling emacs.

However, the only two which matter are GNU emacs and XEmacs. Both have
supported a GUI for 16 years now. I don't have XEmacs installed, so I
cannot tell you if it has the tutorial. I would be truly surprised if
it didn't.
>Neither is right nor wrong; you're just used to one. The emacs keys are
certainly more flexible and powerful, though. Some might consider them
right for that reason.
[snip]
This is also a change from your earlier position that they were, and I
quote, "broken and lame", assuming you mean the same stock Windoze
keybindings you meant with the cryptic term "CUA standards".
Not really--they're broken and lame because they are less flexible and
powerful.

How 'bout you actually try using a modern emacs? It'll even support
your chosen operating system.

--
Robert Uhl <http://public.xdi.org/=ruhl>
Better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish. And if he can't
be bothered to learn to fish and starves to death, that's a good enough
outcome for me. --Steve VanDevender, 1 May 2000
Jun 25 '07 #205
Robert Uhl <ea*******@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
+---------------
| However, the only two which matter are GNU emacs and XEmacs.
| Both have supported a GUI for 16 years now. I don't have
| XEmacs installed, so I cannot tell you if it has the tutorial.
| I would be truly surprised if it didn't.
+---------------

It does. And the default startup splash screen
tells you how to access it.
-Rob

-----
Rob Warnock <rp**@rpw3.org>
627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607

Jun 25 '07 #206
Cor Gest <co*@clsnet.nlwrites:
Some entity, AKA JackT <ja******@gmail.com>,
wrote this mindboggling stuff:
(selectively-snipped-or-not-p)
>We don't care about the 1970 version of Emacs,
because of course back then there WAS NO GUI.

But if you are blind as bat, any 2007's GUI is useless.
Have you actually talked to a blind person about that? They often
prefer the GUI applications since they tend to interact better with
screen readers and the accessibility software available for the GUI's
toolkits. Sounds crazy, I know.

Anyway, Emacs plays in a league of its own for blind people due to
Emacspeak.

--
David Kastrup
Jun 25 '07 #207
On Thu, 21 Jun 2007 13:02:18 -0400, ja******@partners.org (Joel J. Adamson) wrote:
>David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrites:
>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 did not know that. That will save me huge amounts of time. You're
my hero.
If you like `C-x C-f /sudo::...', then it may also please you to know
that Tramp supports other remote access methods too, i.e.:

C-x C-f /ftp:
C-x C-f /ssh:

and it lets Emacs edit files in remote locations, as long as you have a
valid set of username/password credentials for the remote host :-)

Jun 25 '07 #208
David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrites:
I should think that version 2.3.1 would not even try ftp. Is that
on Multics?
Note that the GNU Emacs version jumped directly from 1.12 to 13.
See etc/ONEWS.1.
Jun 25 '07 #209
Twisted wrote:
The manuals came with the computers, at no additional charge. It was a
different time. This isn't going to be true of any separately-
purchased book or user-made printout concerning emacs. Also, the
manuals provided a basic introduction for the beginning user. A
traditional-unix-tool providing anything resembling that would
genuinely shock me.
Oh, so manuals are OK and you'll read them if they are dead trees that
came in the same box as the software, but not if they're HOWTOs, online
documentation or O'Reilly books?
I distinctly remember Winword circa 2002 not being able to
retroactively change all of a bunch of like-formatted paragraphs
easily. Not without delving into VBscript or something, anyway.
So you didn't read the free but thick and stodgy Word manual? Styles and
style sheets have been in Word since Word for DOS 5. Changing a style
sheet has always affected all documents that reference it.
>
Oh, because the implementation (of "reveal codes" and of everything
else) was awful, not because of any intrinsic flaw in the idea itself.
If a word processor, which by definition is provides a WYSIWYG user
interface, can't produce perfectly formatted text by editing a
representation of the finished result then its a deeply flawed program
and not fit for purpose.

By providing 'Reveal codes' and by being designed in such a way as to
force its regular use, Wordperfect reveals itself as being no better
than nrof or tex - its like expecting a user to write postscript source
with a text editor and providing a separate window with a Postscript
viewer to see what the final result will look like.
Would you want to edit a Web page without being able to hand-hack the
HTML?
Of course not, but HTML isn't anything to do with WYSIWYG and any system
(Coldfusion, Front Page, HTML from Word) that pretends it is WYSIWG is
both useless and perpetrating a fraud.
What happened to the guys that did all this stuff after it became
obsolete?
It isn't obsolete despite going back a looong way. The hardware and
software was originally developed as Future Series (intended S/360
replacement), was canned in 1970 but resurfaced in the late 80s as
System/38. A second generation appeared as AS/400, was renamed to (I
think) Z-series and are now known as iSeries servers. Its good, reliable
kit and easy to work with if you don't mind programming in RPG.

I know of no better "one size fits all" interface design than that
provided by the OS/400 operating system. Its still called that. Its a
pity the interface style hasn't been emulated by others.
It would be nice if straightforward macro recording was standard in Windows
though.
It was standard with Win 3.1 and 3.11 and it was bloody useless. Most
people I know tried it once or twice before giving up and writing .BAT
files or putting up with RSI. The problem was that it recorded
keystrokes and mouse clicks. Even minor changes to the screen layout
made it fail and the macros couldn't be edited or parameterised nor made
to prompt for filenames, etc.

You can do better with Gnome, thanks to tcl, but I think most people go
straight to Ruby or stick to plain vanilla shell scripts.
--
martin@ | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org |
Jun 25 '07 #210
Hi Twisted,
>>>>"Twisted" == Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
TwistedThat's entirely orthogonal to the issue of interface learning curve OR
Twistedinterface ease-of-use. Emacs has deficiencies in both areas, if
Twistedprincipally the former. (For an example of the latter, consider
Twistedopening a file. Can't remember the exact spelling and capitalization
Twistedof the file name? Sorry, bud, you're SOL.

Wrong, ever heard about input completion?

TwistedGo find it in some other app
Twistedand memorize the name, then return to emacs.

Wrong. Do you know dired?

For even more ease of use use someting like ido, or icicles. It
runs rings about Editors like Notepad.

TwistedNow THAT is what I call
Twisteddisruptive context switching. Meanwhile even the lowly Notepad
Twistedresponds to "open" by displaying a list of text files and tools to
Twistednavigate the folder hierarchy without having to do it blind, while
Twistedstill letting you blind-type a path if you remember it. And you can
Twistedalso paste the path in from the clipboard.

You can do so in emacs as well.

TwistedUnix systems don't even
Twisted*have* a proper system-wide clipboard and copy/paste capability. Under
TwistedX there's a weak, text-only imitation, which doesn't help you much
Twistedwhen you want to copy a selection from an image in a paint program and
Twistedpaste it into a CAD or web-design or specialized image-manipulation
Twistedtool or whatever...you have to save it to a file and load it, which is
Twisteda pain in the butt and slowly clutters your hard drive with
Twisted"temporary" files you occasionally forget to delete.

You obviously have no clue about working under Unix either.

'Andreas

--
Wherever I lay my .emacs, there's my $HOME.
Jun 25 '07 #211
In article <11*********************@g4g2000hsf.googlegroups.c om>,
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrote:
On Jun 23, 10:36 am, Martin Gregorie <mar...@see.sig.for.address>
wrote:
[ snip ]
* The operating system where you can do powerful stuff with a command
line and a script or two, but can also get by without either. (Windows
fails the former. Linux fails the latter.)
About the latter -- it's hard for me to be sure, since for many
things something with a GUI is not my first choice of tool, but
my impression is that on "user-friendly" Linux distributions,
pretty much everything, including sysadmin stuff, can be done by
pointing and clicking, starting with the menus displayed on the
default desktop. Perhaps someone with more/different experience
can comment on how many things still require scripting or a
command line.

[ snip ]

--
B. L. Massingill
ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.
Jun 25 '07 #212
In article <11**********************@c77g2000hse.googlegroups .com>,
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrote:
On Jun 24, 7:19 pm, Robert Uhl <eadmun...@NOSPAMgmail.comwrote:
[ snip ]
emacs has continued doing its own thing, mostly because that thing is
better. The CUA standards (there exists an emacs package if you really
want them) are broken and lame--I and most other don't wish to cripple
our text editor of choice.

"CUA standards"? I'm sorry, I don't speak Botswanan. If you mean
Windows standards like for cut, copy, and paste,
Pretty much. "Common User Access". I thought this was a
well-known acronym in Windowsland, but I guess not. A Google
search on "CUA" finds the Wikipedia article as the second hit.

[ snip ]

--
B. L. Massingill
ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.
Jun 25 '07 #213
In article <m3************@borud.not>,
Bjorn Borud <bo********@borud.nowrote:

[ snip ]
a lot of IDE's are getting quite good and you don't have to mouse
around all that much. I think the main reason I stick to Emacs is
because I use it for a wider range of tasks -- not just programming.

also, the IDE's I've used in the past were sluggish and for some
reason the font-rendering was really hard to get right (if at
all). when you spend the majority of your waking hours editing text,
interactive response time and "editing ergonomics" matter a lot.
this reminds me that it is probably time to give IDEs another chance.
it has been a couple of years since the last time I tried a couple for
Java.
A few words from someone else with a strong preference for "learn
one editor well and use it for all text editing" (though maybe
I should admit that my preference is for vim) ....:

I use Eclipse in teaching second-semester programming, mostly
because my department decided it was good to expose students to
command-line tools in CS1 and a "modern" IDE in CS2. In general
it's annoying not to have all those years of vi(m) experience
making things easy for me, and a lot of the features others find
wonderful I find annoying, *but*:

Eclipse has something that generates "import" statements with
a few keystrokes, and for me that's almost in the "killer app
[feature]" class. (Why do I strongly suspect that with the
right plug-ins emacs can do this too? :-) That would send
me searching for the Web site where vim macros are collected.)

--
B. L. Massingill
ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.
Jun 25 '07 #214
[Followup-To: header set to comp.emacs]
blmblm myrealbox.com wrote:
Eclipse has something that generates "import" statements with
a few keystrokes, and for me that's almost in the "killer app
[feature]" class. (Why do I strongly suspect that with the
right plug-ins emacs can do this too? :-)
because emacs exposes its lisp system to the user, allowing one to add
basically any functionality one can come up with? ;-)
--
Joost Kremers jo**********@yahoo.com
Selbst in die Unterwelt dringt durch Spalten Licht
EN:SiS(9)
Jun 25 '07 #215
On Jun 25, 5:32 pm, blm...@myrealbox.com <blm...@myrealbox.comwrote:
To me it's similar to "memorizing" a phone number by dialing
it enough times that it makes its way into memory without
conscious effort. I suspect that not everyone's brain works
this way, and some people have to look it up every time.
For those people, I can understand why something without a
GUI could be a painful experience. "YMMV", maybe.
You'll be happy to know then that my opinion is that the phone system
is archaic too. Exposing the numerical network addresses like that is
so 1970s; where's the phone version of DNS, given that the technology
to develop it is clearly there now, and (from my experiences with the
phone menus at some 800 numbers) even the technology for you to just
pick up the handset, say someone's name, and have it look them up and
ring them, possibly after being prompted to accept long distance
charges, reverse them, or cancel if it's LD. :)

We'll actually probably see a generation of friendlier phones RSN --
either regular phones, or because VoIP providers leapfrog them and
advance rapidly leaving the old telcos eating dust when these don't
advance their technology and interfaces.

Setting up and using voice mail or speed-dial keys still tends to be
*painful*. There's still an excuse for that with cell phones since you
can't put a more sophisticated interface onto something the size of a
credit card, but a phone that takes up a substantial chunk of desk
space really should have more than a tiny LCD screen and twelve tone
keys. The only reason nobody complains much is because they're so bog
standard everyone is used to them and knows how to operate them. If we
had modern internet and other services and someone tried to introduce
the touch-tone telephone system now, the market would reject it in a
heartbeat and pursue VoIP, and Techdirt would run a "Failures"
category article blaming the terrible UI and excessive fee structure.
The same sort of inertia that let the phone system survive mostly
unchanged over the last 20 years without improving its UI much keeps
some old unix tools beloved by those who mastered them, and of course
propels Windows, which has done some dumb things with its UI (and much
worse under the hood).
Jun 25 '07 #216
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
2. Regarding these graphical derivatives (apparently plural) of
emacs,
Emacs is a graphical derivative of Emacs? What nonsense. The
canonical Emacs as distributed and copyrighted by the FSF is a GUI
application on a large number of platforms.
has nobody considered that this means that Xah had already won
before he'd even fired his shot? :P
It just means that you have no clue what Xah has been talking about.
Xah was concerned about keybindings and terminology. Never mind that
there are menus (with keyboard shortcuts displayed automatically),
toolbars, scrollbars, multiple frames, font support, mouse support and
so forth and so on. Xah knows this since he actually _uses_ Emacs.
Someone obviously felt the need for a more usable emacs and
delivered one. In that case it's a fait accompli. Criticisms leveled
at original-emacs shouldn't bother users of the graphical versions
regardless.
The graphical versions _are_ original Emacs.
The one complaint might be that both of us had out of date
information and were fighting a war our side had already won years
ago. :)
You just have no clue what Xah has been talking about.
Unless of course these are all klunky bolted-on GUIs of the sort all
too common when porting unix software to Windows or the Mac or for
use under X, which don't work quite right or are clearly poorly
integrated with the application's internals...about which I
currently have no information.
You have had no information about _anything_ right from the start.
And no, I'm not about to spend hours downloading half a gig of
bloated who-knows-what just to find out, tyvm. :)
You could start with the current NEWS file at
<URL:http://cvs.savannah.gnu.org/viewvc/emacs/etc/NEWS?root=emacs&view=markup&pathrev=EMACS_22_1>
which describes everything which is new in Emacs 22.1 (and will give
quite a few ideas about what has already been there in earlier
versions).

Of course, you'll whine together some excuse why you can't be bothered
getting some information about Emacs, never mind that you post several
dozens of embarrassing tirades that are completely based on nonsense
of your own imagination.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jun 25 '07 #217
On Jun 25, 10:01 pm, Twisted <twisted...@gmail.comwrote:
2. Regarding these graphical derivatives (apparently plural) of emacs,
has nobody considered that this means that Xah had already won before
he'd even fired his shot?
You have no idea what Xah was talking about.
Xah knows the ONE TRUE EMACS has had GUI capability
since early 1980s.

To summarize:

Richard Stallman was the original author of the original Emacs,
but he wrote it while he was an employee of another company,
so that company owned his code.

Richard Stallman then quit the company, rewrote Emacs from
scratch, and this emacs is now sometimes called the GNU emacs.

GNU emacs (and forks of it) is the only emacs today.

GNU emacs is a continuous product from about 1980 to 2007:
Richard Stallman is still writing code for it even now.

GNU emacs will gladly use the GUI library on the system
if available. So GNU emacs will launch Windows file menus
on Windows, and will launch GTK file menu on Linux, etc.

GNU emacs will also run in a text mode window gladly.
I use it all the time when I'm connected to a remote system
via SSH.

GNU emacs starts out with an initial help screen every time you run
it.
Every time.

If you don't believe one (or more) fact, please point out which one,
and we can try to prove it.

- JackT
Jun 26 '07 #218
On Jun 26, 12:23 am, JackT <jackt...@gmail.comwrote:
the ONE TRUE EMACS has had GUI capability
since early 1980s.
Sorry, I meant early 1990s.
I believe it was 1993 or so (it is in the web page).

- JackT

Jun 26 '07 #219
Twisted wrote:
With the latest stuff like Ubuntu, you're pretty much right ... until
something goes wrong. Windows has .
[...]
Linux has ... the
command line, or worse a GRUB or fsck prompt at startup. No access to
accessible, easy to browse help right when you need it most.
I suppose you never used Ubuntu's disc for anything but installing or
reformatting either, but that doesn't mean it's the only thing that
can be done with it. You can boot with it, have a working net
connection (or create it) and solve many problems in the comfort of
the full GUI, and with all the help available from the web.

As for the available help on Windows, I didn't know Windows Safe mode
let you connect to the Intertubes, or that its help was of any help in
those situations.

Really, if you have no idea, it's ok to refrain from posting.
--
Saludos
Adriano

Jun 26 '07 #220
On Fri, 22 Jun 2007 21:51:34 -0000, Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrote:
>C-h i, C-x b RET is non-trivial?!?
[...]
I'm sorry. I don't speak Chinese.

I trust I've made my point. Not only does it insist you learn a whole
other language (though I'm guessing it's not actually Chinese --
Greek, maybe), even when you know that's a bunch of keystrokes and
even what they are...

HOW IN THE BLOODY HELL IS IT SUPPOSED TO OCCUR TO SOMEONE TO ENTER
THEM, GIVEN THAT THEY HAVE TO DO SO TO REACH THE HELP THAT WOULD TELL
THEM THOSE ARE THE KEYS TO REACH THE HELP?!
No it's not Greek. I can assure you it isn't, because I *am* Greek.

Now, regarding your shouting about the keys, have you tried using a
recent GNU Emacs installation? The first thing that pops up when a new
user runs Emacs looks like this:

,-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Welcome to GNU Emacs, a part of the GNU operating system.
|
| Type C-l to begin editing.
|
| Get help C-h (Hold down CTRL and press h)
| Emacs manual C-h r
| Emacs tutorial C-h t Undo changes C-x u
| Buy manuals C-h C-m Exit Emacs C-x C-c
| Browse manuals C-h i
| Activate menubar F10 or ESC ` or M-`
| (`C-' means use the CTRL key. `M-' means use the Meta (or Alt) key.
| If you have no Meta key, you may instead type ESC followed by the character.)
|
| GNU Emacs 22.1.50.2 (i386-unknown-freebsd7.0, X toolkit)
| of 2007-05-29 on kobe
| Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
|
| GNU Emacs comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; type C-h C-w for full details.
| Emacs is Free Software--Free as in Freedom--so you can redistribute copies
| of Emacs and modify it; type C-h C-c to see the conditions.
| Type C-h C-d for information on getting the latest version.
`-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Basic reading skills are necessary to parse this 'splash' screen, but it
shouldn't be too hard to read a few lines of text which guide you about
the proper key sequence to reach the tutorial, right?
Of course, Notepad is so easy to use it doesn't even need help,
despite which it's readily available. In case you forgot the bog-
standard (and therefore it IS self-evident) "F1" there's even a "Help"
menu in plain view as soon as you open a Notepad.
There's also a "Help" menu in plain sight when you fire up Emacs with an
X11 interface. I don't see why Notepad is special in any way here.
This is the lowly Notepad, which I'll freely admit is the rusty
bicycle of text editors, and it's much easier to use (including the
help) than the supposed Mercedes-Benz of editors.
Isn't this always the case? The 'interface' of a tiny bicycle is
something which even very young kids can master pretty fast. On the
other hand, I'm relatively sure there's at least one valid reason we
don't let pre-school aged children drive around Mercedes-Benz cars,
isn't there?

Jun 26 '07 #221
On Fri, 22 Jun 2007 23:08:02 -0000, ne********@gmail.com wrote:
> lpr /usr/local/share/emacs/21.3/etc/refcard.ps
or your install-dir........^ ^
or your version.............................^

So now we're expected to go on a filesystem fishing expedition instead
of just hit F1? One small step (backwards) for a man; one giant leap
(backwards) for mankind. :P
>But then again buying the GNU-book from 'O Reilly would have solved it
in the utmost nicest possible of ways anyway.

So much for the "free" in "free software". If you can't actually use
it without paying money, whether for the software or for some book, it
isn't really free, is it?
Please do not confuse the term 'free' in 'free software' with 'gratis'.

'Gratis', i.e. 'lacking a monetary price tag' is something *very*
different from the meaning of 'free' in 'free software'.

Jun 26 '07 #222
On Jun 25, 2:28 pm, Giorgos Keramidas <keram...@ceid.upatras.gr>
wrote:
This is the lowly Notepad, which I'll freely admit is the rusty
bicycle of text editors, and it's much easier to use (including the
help) than the supposed Mercedes-Benz of editors.

Isn't this always the case? The 'interface' of a tiny bicycle is
something which even very young kids can master pretty fast. On the
other hand, I'm relatively sure there's at least one valid reason we
don't let pre-school aged children drive around Mercedes-Benz cars,
isn't there?
And the myth of the bicycle being easy to learn persists. Did you know
that kids learn better than adults do? Why do kids pick up at least
one language without any conscious effort, while adults trying to
learn one more often struggle in night school?

I know people who find all kinds of vehicles easy to learn but never
mastered a bicycle (despite trying). People, plural, as in more than
one of them.

Anyway, I know which comes with a fatter manual -- the Benz...

Jun 26 '07 #223
>>>>Long count = 12.19.14.7.15; tzolkin = 1 Men; haab = 3 Tzec.
>>>>I get words from the Allmighty Great Gnus that
"T" == Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
TAnd the myth of the bicycle being easy to learn persists. Did you
Tknow that kids learn better than adults do? Why do kids pick up at
Tleast one language without any conscious effort, while adults
Ttrying to learn one more often struggle in night school?

Mostly because they block themselves with strange fears and due bad
teaching, the "fear" of a test, the lack of fun, the "constriction",
all block adults learning new language.

Pick an over 30, overloaded with (often) frustrating work, and give
her an university level course in languages with grammars and/or
alphabets completly different from those she uses (yesss, I am
thinking of a woman, my wife...) like Arab (alphabet and some grammar)
and Turkish (its grammar sound lispish to my ears), and she'll go
ahead without "fatigue" and with flying colours.

Children pick up other language without any conscious effort because
either they learn it by using with parents, relatives and friends or
they are involved in a game-like style of learning.

Why else hacker prize fun this much ? :) :)

TI know people who find all kinds of vehicles easy to learn but
Tnever mastered a bicycle (despite trying). People, plural, as in
Tmore than one of them.

Again, fear, or maybe, some malfunction in the balancing organs. But
fear mainly. You do not see what keeps a bike upright and running, you
have to trust that you can.

You can walk on a 4 inch wide stripe on a floor without problems, but
when it is a 4 inch wide bar some feet over the floor...

--
/\ ___
/___/\_|_|\_|__|___Gian Uberto Lauri_____
//--\| | \| | Integralista GNUslamico
\/ e coltivatore diretto di Software

A Cesare avrei detto di scrivermi a fn***@rat.vg

Jun 26 '07 #224
Twisted wrote:

[...]

Hey dude,

get back to selling used cars and leave us computer geeks alone, will ya?

Thanks.
Jun 26 '07 #225
Matthias Buelow <mk*@incubus.dewrites:
Twisted wrote:

[...]

Hey dude,

get back to selling used cars and leave us computer geeks alone,
will ya?
Well, how will his customers react to the stories about avoiding
Mercedes cars because of people getting hit in the face by the crank
start?

--
David Kastrup
Jun 26 '07 #226
[Robert Uhl <ea*******@NOSPAMgmail.com>]
|
| Once again I am forced to wonder if you have _ever_ actually used
| emacs. find-file has tab completion: hit tab without anything typed, and
| it displays _everything_ in the directory; type a few characters to
| narrow it down; hit tab to complete the filename and be done with
| it.

....and of course, in addition you have access to history so you can
easily find previous parameters and edit them. this makes it very
efficient when you need to fiddle about in deep directory trees in a
way no GUI can yet offer.

....and then there's bookmarking, which is very good for keeping a set
of files (and locations) handy for quick access.

-Bjrn
Jun 26 '07 #227
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| Really? None of this happens if you just do the straightforward file-
| open command, which should obviously at least provide a navigable
| directory tree, but definitely does not.

well, if you insist on using Emacs in the most clumsy way possible,
then of course, not it won't be easy. it is very obvious to any Emacs
user that you haven't bothered learning Emacs at all. go away, troll.

-Bjrn
Jun 26 '07 #228
[Robert Uhl <ea*******@NOSPAMgmail.com>]
|
| Agreed. Stallman got sidetracked by Scheme, which IMHO was a
| dead-end.

too many people buying SICP and believing what they heard about it
being an important book. I too spent some time exploring Scheme, or
should I say, wasted some time, years ago, and nothing came of it
other than a profound irritation. these people seemed to be
completely disconnected from reality.

Scheme, and thus Guile, might have been a viable path if these people
had only been practical instead of stubbornly insisting on being odd.

| A Common Lisp emacs would be pretty sweet. There's a Climacs project,
| but they're just focused on providing an editor, not on providing a
| full-fledged emacs.

if nothing else, a proper Emacs in Common Lisp might give me a reason
to learn Lisp properly.

-Bjrn
Jun 26 '07 #229
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| and you said that depended on the definition of "expert". Apparently
| you believe there is a type of "expert" for whom beginner-friendly
| software is intrinsically less usable than beginner-hostile
| software.

no, I was alluding to you thinking that posession of knowledge which
is considered rudimentary basics for Emacs somehow elevates the person
in question to an "expert". just because you have not, by your own
admission, been able to even locate the built-in tutorial, I don't
think your definition of "expert" is very relevant.

-Bjrn
Jun 26 '07 #230
Bjorn Borud <bo********@borud.nowrites:
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| and you said that depended on the definition of "expert". Apparently
| you believe there is a type of "expert" for whom beginner-friendly
| software is intrinsically less usable than beginner-hostile
| software.

no, I was alluding to you thinking that posession of knowledge which
is considered rudimentary basics for Emacs somehow elevates the person
in question to an "expert". just because you have not, by your own
admission, been able to even locate the built-in tutorial, I don't
think your definition of "expert" is very relevant.
Since he did not ever download a copy of Emacs in the last 10 years
(and won't according to his own statements download anything or look
at any web page because his computer incompetency makes him incapable
of avoiding or detecting viruses) one can hardly blame him for not
finding the tutorial in software he did not download.

--
David Kastrup
Jun 26 '07 #231


On Tue, 26 Jun 2007, Bjorn Borud wrote:
[Robert Uhl <ea*******@NOSPAMgmail.com>]
|
| Agreed. Stallman got sidetracked by Scheme, which IMHO was a
| dead-end.

too many people buying SICP and believing what they heard about it
being an important book. I too spent some time exploring Scheme, or
should I say, wasted some time, years ago, and nothing came of it
other than a profound irritation.
Did you expect something specific before starting to read that
book? Thats a failure. SICP is a book you should read just for pure
pleasure.
these people seemed to be
completely disconnected from reality.
Please don't write things like that without backing it up with some
reason.

Jun 26 '07 #232
On Jun 26, 10:52 am, Bjorn Borud <borud-n...@borud.nowrote:
[Robert Uhl <eadmun...@NOSPAMgmail.com>]
|
| Agreed. Stallman got sidetracked by Scheme, which IMHO was a
| dead-end.

too many people buying SICP and believing what they heard about it
being an important book. I too spent some time exploring Scheme, or
should I say, wasted some time, years ago, and nothing came of it
other than a profound irritation. these people seemed to be
completely disconnected from reality.

Scheme, and thus Guile, might have been a viable path if these people
had only been practical instead of stubbornly insisting on being odd.
Some people might say the same thing about emacs. A lot of unix tools
even. "Stubbornly insisting on being odd" appears to be a particularly
prevalent character flaw among the geeknoscenti.

Jun 27 '07 #233
On Jun 26, 6:06 am, Gian Uberto Lauri <s...@spammer.impiccati.it>
wrote:
HOW IN THE BLOODY HELL IS IT SUPPOSED TO OCCUR TO SOMEONE TO
ENTER THEM, GIVEN THAT THEY HAVE TO DO SO TO REACH THE HELP THAT
WOULD TELL THEM THOSE ARE THE KEYS TO REACH THE HELP?!
What's your problem ?
Ofcourse a mere program-consumer would not look what was being
installed on his/her system in the first place ... So after some
trivial perusing what was installed and where : WOW Look, MA !
.... it's all there!
lpr /usr/local/share/emacs/21.3/etc/refcard.ps or your
install-dir........^ ^ or your
version.............................^

nSo now we're expected to go on a filesystem fishing expedition
ninstead of just hit F1? One small step (backwards) for a man; one
ngiant leap (backwards) for mankind. :P
[snipping some thinly-veiled insults and irrelevancies throughout]
There's a program called find, not this intuitive but worth learning

It could solve the problem from the root with something like

find / -name refcard.ps -exec lpr {} \; 2/dev/null
Let me get this straight.

In this corner, we have just about every Windows application ever
developed. When a user needs help, a click on the "help" menu or tap
of the F1 key is all it takes to obtain some. Sometimes the help is
not of the greatest quality, but that is another issue we won't
concern ourselves with here.

In the other corner, we have just about every Unix application ever
developed. When a user needs help, they may do such things as manually
explore the directories where the application was installed
(equivalent to rooting around in C:\Program Files\Appname for .hlp
files, because F1 didn't work and there was no "help" menu, if such a
thing ever happened on Windoze). Or alternatively it can just
magically come to them as a divinely inspired insight, or in a dream
or a burning bush or stone tablets from heaven or something, that
something useful might happen if the unlikely combination of symbols
"find / -name refcard.ps -exec lpr {} \; 2/dev/null" were typed at
the console, which otherwise would obviously never occur to them. Even
if they knew the find tool and its syntax, it would still have to
somehow occur to them that "refcard.ps" might be a useful search
target. On Windows, if push came to shove, clicking Start->Search and
putting in ".hlp" and "C:\Program Files\Appname" would quickly find
any help files. If they were given the usual file extension. If not,
good luck, but most usually the help files would be named to end
with .hlp. Moreover, once found, a quick double click and they're in a
hypertext browser viewing the help. Unless I miss my guess, refcard.ps
would require mucking about installing and configuring Ghostscript and
GSView, which for Joe Winblows User is daunting enough. Trying to read
anything serious and navigate in GSView is no picnic either. A
hypertext browser it ain't. Adobe Acrobat Reader *might* be able to do
more with a .ps file, but it's proprietary. On a Unix box, if you
don't know exactly how to get some app viewing a .ps file and how to
navigate in it I'm guessing you're SOL. The original suggestion with
"lpr" implies printing it rather than viewing it online, which a)
costs money and b) requires configuring a printer and a Postscript
interpreter, given that unless the printer cost more than the
computer's CPU it surely won't natively grok Postscript. We're back to
configuring Ghostscript, only this time on the Unix box where I have
no doubt it's even more painful than it is on a Windoze box, as well
as configuring a printer on a Unix box, itself a recurring nightmare
of mine for years now since one night in the nineties when I got
caught in the crossfire between someone's Epson inkjet and their
Mandrake 7.somethingorother Linux.

Reexamining that "find" line it looks like it tries to automatically
"lpr" the file(s) found. That is cause for concern, since I can easily
see something like this going into Sorceror's Apprentice mode and
costing you a fortune in ink and paper if there's either a misspelling
or other mistake (easy enough to make in a complex arcane command line
like that one) or more "refcard.ps" matches than you expected there'd
be in the target directory and its descendants.

Jun 27 '07 #234
On 2007-06-27, Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrote:
irritating was the necessary frequent trips to the help. Even when the
help was easy to use (itself rare) that's a load of additional task
switching and crap. Of course, lots of the time the help was not easy
to use. Man pages and anything else viewed on a console, for example
On the plus side, you only have to learn it once. With new releases
of Windows/Office, more often than not, Bill n' The Boys rename
functions and hide them somewhere else in an attempt to make it look
like they actually did something, so you end up wasting a lot of time
relearning what you already knew. Talk about irritating!

nb
Jun 27 '07 #235
In article <11**********************@o61g2000hsh.googlegroups .com>,
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrote:
...
>In the other corner, we have just about every Unix application ever
developed. When a user needs help, they may do such things as manually
explore the directories where the application was installed
(equivalent to rooting around in C:\Program Files\Appname for .hlp
files, because F1 didn't work and there was no "help" menu,
I just pressed F1 in a running session of a Emacs under Ubuntu Linux... it
brought up online help.
>if such a thing ever happened on Windoze).
Such things happen _all the time_ on Windows, particularly if you count
help menus that lead solely to useless About boxes.

This might be a moot point anyway, given the high number of people I've
met that don't even bother reading online help in the first place.

-Mike
--
http://www.mschaef.com
Jun 27 '07 #236
["Kjetil S. Matheussen" <k.************@notam02.no>]
|
| Did you expect something specific before starting to read that book?
| Thats a failure. SICP is a book you should read just for pure
| pleasure.

I was told by a lot of people I consider to be intelligent that this
book would change how I think about writing software. it didn't. I
didn't really know what to expect, but after reading it I did feel
that its importance was greatly exaggerated.

| these people seemed to be
| completely disconnected from reality.
|
| Please don't write things like that without backing it up with some
| reason.

well, for one, Scheme lacked proper libraries for doing everyday
things, so when I tried to use it I found myself writing a lot of
library code that I shouldn't have had to deal with. but it is quite
long ago, so things might have changed since then.

-Bjrn
Jun 27 '07 #237
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| Some people might say the same thing about emacs. A lot of unix tools
| even. "Stubbornly insisting on being odd" appears to be a particularly
| prevalent character flaw among the geeknoscenti.

I think you are missing the point. you may find Emacs (and UNIX) to
be odd, and you consistently parade this around as a reason not to
even make an honest attempt at understanding how to use it (them). if
the oddness still eclipses usefulness once you've made a proper
attempt at understanding a tool, then the oddness is a problem. Emacs
(and UNIX) don't exhibit these characteristics for a great number of
people.

-Bjrn
Jun 27 '07 #238


On Wed, 27 Jun 2007, Bjorn Borud wrote:
| these people seemed to be
| completely disconnected from reality.
|
| Please don't write things like that without backing it up with some
| reason.

well, for one, Scheme lacked proper libraries for doing everyday
things, so when I tried to use it I found myself writing a lot of
library code that I shouldn't have had to deal with. but it is quite
long ago, so things might have changed since then.
Things have probably changed a little, but the stuff in SISC isn't
specific for scheme, although a schemish language is used in the book.

Jun 27 '07 #239
On Wed, 27 Jun 2007 00:07:04 -0000, Twisted <tw********@gmail.comtried to
confuse everyone with this message:
>"Stubbornly insisting on being odd" appears to be a particularly
prevalent character flaw among the geeknoscenti.
Oh the irony.

--
|Don't believe this - you're not worthless ,gr---------.ru
|It's us against millions and we can't take them all... | ue il |
|But we can take them on! | @ma |
| (A Wilhelm Scream - The Rip) |______________|
Jun 27 '07 #240
>>>>Long count = 12.19.14.7.16; tzolkin = 2 Cib; haab = 4 Tzec.
>>>>I get words from the Allmighty Great Gnus that
"T" == Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
TOn Jun 27, 4:18 am, Gian Uberto Lauri <s...@spammer.impiccati.it>
Twrote:
T[A very long, rambling, semi-coherent post]
>Strange. I am *NOT* a native english speaker and I think my
Q.I. tends toward average from below...
TThat much is obvious.

So, did they never tell you "never argue with a fool, people could
misjudge who the fool is" ? And you stille replied to my post ?

--
/\ ___
/___/\_|_|\_|__|___Gian Uberto Lauri_____
//--\| | \| | Integralista GNUslamico
\/ e coltivatore diretto di Software

A Cesare avrei detto di scrivermi a fn***@rat.vg
Jun 27 '07 #241
On Wed, 27 Jun 2007 11:04:39 -0000, Twisted <tw********@gmail.comtried to
confuse everyone with this message:
>
>With a PS file you can do just one thing, execute it. It's a program,
did you know ?

For which you need an interpreter. Such as Ghostscript. Which is a
pain to install and a bigger one to configure, even on Windoze.
Lie. Ghostscript works out of the box on Windows.

--
|Don't believe this - you're not worthless ,gr---------.ru
|It's us against millions and we can't take them all... | ue il |
|But we can take them on! | @ma |
| (A Wilhelm Scream - The Rip) |______________|
Jun 27 '07 #242
["Kjetil S. Matheussen" <k.************@notam02.no>]
|
| Things have probably changed a little, but the stuff in SISC isn't
| specific for scheme, although a schemish language is used in the book.

well, those are really two separate discussions: Scheme and whether
SICP is an important book or not.

-Bjrn
Jun 27 '07 #243
On Jun 27, 8:26 am, g...@mail.ru (Timofei Shatrov) wrote:
For which you need an interpreter. Such as Ghostscript. Which is a
pain to install and a bigger one to configure, even on Windoze.

Lie. Ghostscript works out of the box on Windows.
You're joking. First of all I am not a liar, and secondly, Ghostscript
and Ghostview are tricky to set up correctly. I know -- I've done it a
time or three. There's an arcane GUI configurator that isn't
exceptionally well designed, and once it's working it still wonks out
on maybe 1 in 10 .ps and .eps files you come across ... which is still
better than being able to view none of them, mind you. Nonetheless
there's a world of difference between the GS tools and say Adobe
Acrobat Reader in terms of setup and use; the latter you just run an
installer and then find a pdf to double-click; no other steps
necessary and it works every time. Of course, Adobe stuff is
proprietary, and acrord supports some types of evil DRM...

Jun 27 '07 #244
Bjorn Borud wrote:
I was told by a lot of people I consider to be intelligent that this
book would change how I think about writing software. it didn't. I
didn't really know what to expect, but after reading it I did feel
that its importance was greatly exaggerated.
I think it's basically a course book, for some CS courses at MIT that it
was originally used with, and that's it. It's not superb but ok, as far
as "lecture notes" go, a bit pretentious and a bit idiosyncratic,
probably due to being targeted mainly at students visiting a particular
course of lectures. I don't think it's supposed to be a general "how to
learn good programming"-style book although I don't think you've wasted
time reading it.

F'up-to: c.l.lisp.
Jun 27 '07 #245
In article <11**********************@n2g2000hse.googlegroups. com>,
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrote:
On Jun 25, 5:32 pm, blm...@myrealbox.com <blm...@myrealbox.comwrote:
To me it's similar to "memorizing" a phone number by dialing
it enough times that it makes its way into memory without
conscious effort. I suspect that not everyone's brain works
this way, and some people have to look it up every time.
For those people, I can understand why something without a
GUI could be a painful experience. "YMMV", maybe.

You'll be happy to know then that my opinion is that the phone system
is archaic too.
Happy? Not especially. Amused? Yes. One more, um, "eccentric"?
opinion, from someone with many of them.

[ snip ]

--
B. L. Massingill
ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.
Jun 27 '07 #246
Hi Twisted,
>>>>"Twisted" == Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
TwistedLet me get this straight.

TwistedIn this corner, we have just about every Windows application ever
Twisteddeveloped. When a user needs help, a click on the "help" menu or tap
Twistedof the F1 key is all it takes to obtain some. Sometimes the help is
Twistednot of the greatest quality, but that is another issue we won't
Twistedconcern ourselves with here.

Almost always when I really needed help in Windows, all it said
was: go ask your system administrator. Really helpful :-(

TwistedIn the other corner, we have just about every Unix application ever
Twisteddeveloped. When a user needs help, they may do such things as manually
Twistedexplore the directories where the application was installed
Twisted(equivalent to rooting around in C:\Program Files\Appname for .hlp
Twistedfiles, because F1 didn't work and there was no "help" menu, if such a
Twistedthing ever happened on Windoze).

Ever heard of man pages? and info?

'Andreas
--
Wherever I lay my .emacs, there's my $HOME.
Jun 28 '07 #247
On 6/28/07, Andreas Eder <an**********@gmx.netwrote:
TwistedIn the other corner, we have just about every Unix application ever
Twisteddeveloped. When a user needs help, they may do such things as manually
Twistedexplore the directories where the application was installed
Twisted(equivalent to rooting around in C:\Program Files\Appname for .hlp
Twistedfiles, because F1 didn't work and there was no "help" menu, if such a
Twistedthing ever happened on Windoze).

Ever heard of man pages? and info?
Hi Andreas:

Yeah thats the problem.... there's the 40 year old man and the 20 year
old info and then yelp and random stuff in /usr/doc and of course then
theres google and... and...

So its not that theres too little info but too much and unnecessarily
similar and inconsistent.

Twisted may not know what he's talking about but Ive used Unix (xenix)
starting 1986 and emacs from '93 so I can say that the state of linux
is not all that great.

Apart from the help-itis mentioned above there are:
-- distro-itis -- its almost as difficult to move from debian/ubuntu
to redhat I as moving to windows
-- script-itis -- why must we have perl and python and ruby (and tcl
and lua and...)
-- emacs-itis -- Ive mostly only used gnu-emacs but at least once I
had to use xemacs for running APL.

Sorry... I dont want to start another flame-war but my main point is
that we geeks think that the issues are technical when the real issues
are unfruitful political divisions.

Sure you can fire me for my views but before you do just reflect:
How different were dos and unix 20 years back and today how different
is a gnome-topped linux from a win-XP and then say whether ths issues
are essentially technical or political.

Hi Twisted:
I could give real (not made up) horror stories of my use of windows as
much as you give of your use of emacs/linux -- but I dont translate my
ignorance into condemnation.

Rustom
Jun 28 '07 #248
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrote:
>
On Jun 27, 8:26 am, g...@mail.ru (Timofei Shatrov) wrote:
>>
Lie. Ghostscript works out of the box on Windows.

You're joking. First of all I am not a liar, and secondly, Ghostscript
and Ghostview are tricky to set up correctly. I know -- I've done it a
time or three. There's an arcane GUI configurator that isn't
exceptionally well designed, and once it's working it still wonks out
on maybe 1 in 10 .ps and .eps files you come across ...
You must have installed Ghostscript last in 1998. The current installer is
as painless as most open source installers are.
--
Tim Roberts, ti**@probo.com
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
Jun 29 '07 #249
bl****@myrealbox.com <bl****@myrealbox.comwrote on Monday 25 June 2007
15:43 in comp.emacs <5e*************@mid.individual.net>:
>
Eclipse has something that generates "import" statements with
a few keystrokes, and for me that's almost in the "killer app
[feature]" class.
This is a sign of a weak programming language, in my eyes: If you need
keystroke macros to enter boilerplate, you REALLY need a language that
allows you to package commonly-used idioms into macros. (See Common Lisp,
Scheme, Emacs Lisp, and, indeed, even Dylan. Python and Ruby almost solve
the same problem by providing a richer set of primitives, but they aren't
extensible.)
(Why do I strongly suspect that with the
right plug-ins emacs can do this too? :-) That would send
me searching for the Web site where vim macros are collected.)
Inserting literal text in Emacs using keystroke macros is trivial. Inserting
more changeable boilerplate is a job for Emacs Lisp.

--
My address happens to be com (dot) gmail (at) usenet (plus) chbarts,
wardsback and translated.
It's in my header if you need a spoiler.

Jul 3 '07 #250

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