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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
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
Besides, ANY interface that involves fumbling around in the dark
trying to find a light switch is clunky. You should be able to see
what the hell you're doing and navigate easily. Applications that not
only eschew normal methods of navigation of the interface, but force
you to fumble your way between the help and the task you're trying to
do, are definitely clunky. An analogy to a genuine emacs experience:
you enter a workshop with some raw materials and tools. Unfortunately
there's no big ceiling lights so you can just flip the switch by the
door and then always be able to see where everything is. Instead
there's little lights here and there by various specific tools and
storage areas, and in one area a map of the place with switches to
control the lights.
So -- what magical computer app illuminates the entire room and shows
you how to use everything at the flip of a switch? This brilliant
discovery would put Sam's, O'Reilly, the for-Dummies series, and
virtually every other computer book publisher out of business in weeks.
Naturally, this would include the publishers of books on "easy-to-use"
Microsoft products.

--
Edward Dodge
Jul 7 '07 #251
On Jul 7, 4:26 pm, Edward Dodge <edward.do...@gmail.comwrote:
So -- what magical computer app illuminates the entire room and shows
you how to use everything at the flip of a switch? This brilliant
discovery would put Sam's, O'Reilly, the for-Dummies series, and
virtually every other computer book publisher out of business in weeks.
Naturally, this would include the publishers of books on "easy-to-use"
Microsoft products.
I don't know, but it sure as hell isn't emacs.

Jul 7 '07 #252
Lew
Twisted wrote:
Edward Dodge wrote:
>So -- what magical computer app illuminates the entire room and shows
you how to use everything at the flip of a switch? This brilliant
discovery would put Sam's, O'Reilly, the for-Dummies series, and
virtually every other computer book publisher out of business in weeks.
Naturally, this would include the publishers of books on "easy-to-use"
Microsoft products.

I don't know, but it sure as hell isn't emacs.
The reason you don't know, and Edward Dodge's point, is that there is no such
app, whether emacs or not.

--
Lew
Jul 7 '07 #253
On Jul 7, 6:12 pm, Lew <l...@lewscanon.nospamwrote:
Twisted wrote:
Edward Dodge wrote:
So -- what magical computer app illuminates the entire room and shows
you how to use everything at the flip of a switch? This brilliant
discovery would put Sam's, O'Reilly, the for-Dummies series, and
virtually every other computer book publisher out of business in weeks.
Naturally, this would include the publishers of books on "easy-to-use"
Microsoft products.
I don't know, but it sure as hell isn't emacs.

The reason you don't know, and Edward Dodge's point, is that there is no such
app, whether emacs or not.
Translation: since perfection is unattainable, we shouldn't even try,
and just foist upon our poor users whatever awkward and hard-to-learn
interface pops into our heads first?
Jul 8 '07 #254
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
On Jul 7, 6:12 pm, Lew <l...@lewscanon.nospamwrote:
>Twisted wrote:
Edward Dodge wrote:
>So -- what magical computer app illuminates the entire room and shows
you how to use everything at the flip of a switch? This brilliant
discovery would put Sam's, O'Reilly, the for-Dummies series, and
virtually every other computer book publisher out of business in weeks.
Naturally, this would include the publishers of books on "easy-to-use"
Microsoft products.
I don't know, but it sure as hell isn't emacs.

The reason you don't know, and Edward Dodge's point, is that there is no such
app, whether emacs or not.

Translation: since perfection is unattainable, we shouldn't even try,
and just foist upon our poor users whatever awkward and hard-to-learn
interface pops into our heads first?
I recommend you just shut up _until_ you have checked out a recent
version of Emacs. You just have no clue what you are talking about
and are still stuck in the eighties.

Emacs has an obvious "Help" toolbar button in the standard place, it
has a "Help" menu in the standard place, it reacts to presses of F1 by
delivering help, it has tooltips all over the mode line and for pretty
much every menu entry (and the menus are plenty and well-sorted for
doing the most-frequent tasks).

In addition, the quality of those help items is far above average.
But you would not know since you prefer babbling about some passing
decade-old experience. If you had invested half of the time using
Emacs you have invested for complaining about it, you'd at least have
a chance not to look like the totally pompous clueless idiot you do
now.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Jul 8 '07 #255
Twisted wrote:
[...]
BASTA. Basta, cazzo (unprintable, Italian). Stop it. It wasn't funny
10 messages into your subthread, and it's even less fun now. It's
obvious you're trolling, but nevertheless, in the undescribably
improbable case you _are_ being serious:

a) Notepad is over there: --->*
b) If you do want to keep an antediluvian copy of emacs -probably
versioned in the negative numbers, for all you've said- please do. Do
be so kind as to send a copy, since it might be quite valuable as an
antique.
c) Powerful programming editors assume some willingness to learn their
interface. Deal.
d) Your capacity of denial is remarkable. Please do send us your
contact info, so that we may avoid dealing with you on a professional
basis.
--
killfile-ly yours,
Adriano

Jul 8 '07 #256
Lew
Twisted wrote:
On Jul 7, 6:12 pm, Lew <l...@lewscanon.nospamwrote:
>Twisted wrote:
Edward Dodge wrote:
>>>So -- what magical computer app illuminates the entire room and shows
you how to use everything at the flip of a switch? This brilliant
discovery would put Sam's, O'Reilly, the for-Dummies series, and
virtually every other computer book publisher out of business in weeks.
Naturally, this would include the publishers of books on "easy-to-use"
Microsoft products.
I don't know, but it sure as hell isn't emacs.
The reason you don't know, and Edward Dodge's point, is that there is no such
app, whether emacs or not.

Translation: since perfection is unattainable, we shouldn't even try,
and just foist upon our poor users whatever awkward and hard-to-learn
interface pops into our heads first?
Nice rhetoric but completely twisted the point. Blaaaat!

--
Lew
Jul 8 '07 #257
[Twisted <tw********@gmail.com>]
|
| Translation: since perfection is unattainable, we shouldn't even try,
| and just foist upon our poor users whatever awkward and hard-to-learn
| interface pops into our heads first?

uh, I think the point here is that some think it might be an idea to
force *their* idea of the ideal interface upon others, refusing to
understand that people might have their own preferences.

-Bjrn
Jul 8 '07 #258
On Jul 8, 4:28 am, Adriano Varoli Piazza <mora...@gmail.comwrote:
b) If you do want to keep an antediluvian copy of emacs -probably
versioned in the negative numbers, for all you've said- please do. Do
be so kind as to send a copy, since it might be quite valuable as an
antique.
Judging by the existence of the newsgroup comp.emacs, emacs is indeed
considered by some to be a quite valuable antique. Otherwise why on
earth would it have an apparently fairly active newsgroup a full seven
years into the 21st century?

Jul 8 '07 #259
On Jul 8, 12:18 pm, Bjorn Borud <borud-n...@borud.nowrote:
uh, I think the point here is that some think it might be an idea to
force *their* idea of the ideal interface upon others, refusing to
understand that people might have their own preferences.
I, for one, have a strong preference for interfaces that let me see
what the hell I'm doing and make it easy to find commands, navigate
the interface, navigate the help, and so forth, while making me resort
to reaching for that help as infrequently as reasonably achievable.

But that's just me.

Jul 8 '07 #260
Twisted wrote:
I, for one, have a strong preference for interfaces that let me see
what the hell I'm doing and make it easy to find commands, navigate
the interface, navigate the help, and so forth, while making me resort
to reaching for that help as infrequently as reasonably achievable.
These are, of course, not unreasonable wishes. I assume you're
programming that software already, given that you're crossposting to
various programming-language newsgroups. Very well. We'll eagerly judge
you by what you'll come up with.
F'up-to: comp.emacs.
Jul 8 '07 #261
David Kastrup wrote:
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
>Judging by the existence of the newsgroup comp.emacs, emacs is
indeed considered by some to be a quite valuable antique. Otherwise
why on earth would it have an apparently fairly active newsgroup a
full seven years into the 21st century?

As opposed to your brain, Emacs has not undergone fossilization 10
years ago.
Will you people let it go already? Didn't we agree that guy was
trolling. Just let the man rant. What harm does he do? At least he's not
bombing busses in Jerusalem or Bagdad, not spreading AIDS in Africa, not
selling kids lives to companies. He just pookes fun at everyone. Why do
you people care? Its a text editor, dammit. Let go.

/W
Jul 8 '07 #262
Twisted <tw********@gmail.comwrites:
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.
Er, why don't you just answer his question (what version)? He's asking
for actual information, which will help us understand what you are
(trying) to to say.

If you continue to just make vague and unsupported (and rather hostile)
assertions, without examples, version numbers, or other concrete
information, do you expect anybody will continue listening to you?

-miles
--
The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
--Albert Einstein
Jul 12 '07 #263
Xah Lee:

I agree with what you say now and most of what you wrote a month back
-- I even learnt something useful from there -- longlines mode.

Emacs is important to me and (I guess) to many of the subscribers here.

But how does posting an emacs related question help on a python mailing list??
Jul 18 '07 #264
Rustom Mody wrote:
But how does posting an emacs related question help on a python mailing list??
One Word: Ego.
Don't reply.

/W
Jul 18 '07 #265
Eh? Me? you?? Who???
Did I say something offensive? Sorry if I did... but I dont understand...

I must say that I found the earlier post useful to me as an old-time
emacs user who's not quite upto all the latest stuff. However it was
quite off topic for a python list.
The flame war that followed was quite a waste of time and bandwidth:
-- one person who seems to know little blowing his trumpet
-- others who know a great deal (of emacs) not acknowledging the room
for improvement

All off topic for a python list

Sorry once again if I said something offensive.

On 7/18/07, Wildemar Wildenburger <wi******@freakmail.dewrote:
Rustom Mody wrote:
But how does posting an emacs related question help on a python mailing list??
One Word: Ego.
Don't reply.

/W
--
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
Jul 18 '07 #266
Sorry, I don't understand why this is still on the python mailing list.

:wq
Jul 18 '07 #267
Rustom Mody wrote:
Eh? Me? you?? Who???
Did I say something offensive? Sorry if I did... but I dont understand...

No no, it's cool. Maybe I was a little too terse. Xah Lee likes to
crosspost his pseudo-philosophical tech-musings to several discussion
groups at regular intervalls. He's not too dumb about it either, he
usually manages to pick topics that you can easily argue about for ages
and not get anywhere (He sort of picked too easy a target with emacs
this time.).
I don't know why he does it, but my personal belief is that he just
likes to start endless discussions to feel better about himself because
that proves to him his smarts or something (hence my
one-word-explanation: Ego). Maybe he has other reasons. I couldn't care
less. What I do care about is that people just go on and on in these
threads. It's tedious and I wish people would just ignore the guy (Or
reply to him directly --- now wouldn't that be fun, people?).

I must say that I found the earlier post useful to me as an old-time
emacs user who's not quite upto all the latest stuff. However it was
quite off topic for a python list.
I fail to see how anything useful came up in this thread (except for
antropologists/sociologists maybe), but if it did for you: fine.
Whatever floats your boat :).

The flame war that followed was quite a waste of time and bandwidth:
-- one person who seems to know little blowing his trumpet
-- others who know a great deal (of emacs) not acknowledging the room
for improvement

All off topic for a python list

Very nice summary.

Sorry once again if I said something offensive.
Once again: You didn't.

/W
Jul 18 '07 #268
On Wed, 18 Jul 2007 06:17:00 -0700, Xah Lee wrote:
About a month ago, i posted a message about modernization of emacs. I
enlisted several items that i think emacs should adapt.
And you are posting this to compl.lang.perl because.....??????

F'up set.

M4
Jul 23 '07 #269
Why Emacs's Keyboard Shortcuts Are Painful

Xah Lee, 2007-07

A important aspect in designing keyboard shortcuts is to have keyboard
shortcuts for those most frequently used commands, and, the most
frequently used commands should have most easily-pressed keystrokes.
For example, they should be on the home row.

Emacs's keyboard shortcut set is very inefficient, largely because,
Emacs's keyboard shortcuts are designed with a keyboard that
practically has the Ctrl and Alt key positions swapped.

[image: Space Cadet keyboard]

above: The Space-cadet keyboard (Source↗, 2007-07) .

The common keyboard used around emacs era in the 1980s are those
keyboards from Lisp Machines↗. (see Space-cadet keyboard↗) The
keyboard on lisp machines have the Control key right besides the space
bar (similar to the position of Alt keys on PC keyboards), and Meta to
the left of Control. So, the Control key is right under the thumb, and
the Meta is secondary to Control. This is why, the shortcuts for the
most used commands in emacs involve the Control key instead of the
Meta key. (e.g. The cursor movements: C-p, C-n, C-f, C-b, C-a, C-e,
the cut/paste/undo C-w, C-y, C-/, the kill-line C-k, the mark C-SPC,
the search C-s.) Lisp Machine's keyboards fell out of use alone with
Lisp Machines. Since the 1990s, the IBM PC keyboard↗ (and its
decedents) becomes the most popular and is used by more than 99% of
personal computers today. The PC keyboard does not have Meta key but
have Alt instead, which is practically used as Meta for Emacs. The
Ctrl and Alt key's position are essentially swapped from the Control
and Meta on the Lisp Machine's keyboards. Emacs however, did not
change its keyboard shortcut set by switching the commands that are
mapped to the Control and Meta keys. This makes emacs keyboard
shortcuts very painful, and the frequent need to press the far-away
Control key makes the Emacs Pinky syndrome. (Many emacs-using
programer celebrities have injured their hands with emacs. (e.g.
Richard Stallman↗, Jamie Zawinski↗), and emacs's Ctrl and Meta
combinations are most cited as the major turn-off to potential users
among programers)

----------
This post is archived and updated at
http://xahlee.org/emacs/emacs_kb_shortcuts_pain.html

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

Jul 24 '07 #270
The following is a FAQ from emacs modernization
http://xahlee.org/emacs/modernization.html

Q: Emacs's undo is superior, because the prevalent Undo/Redo system
actually loss info.

A: Emac's undo is very confusing and does not have a Redo command. To
redo after a undo, people are told to type something then do a undo.
Long time emacs user argue that it is technically superior because it
lets user to revert to any possible state of the past.

A practical problem with the way of emacs undo is that it repeats the
states in the action record. In the prevalent undo model, the action
record is linear, and each entry is unique. A user can easily arrive
at a desired previous state using undo and redo. In emacs's model, it
traverses the queue back and forth (or add existing states to the
stack). It is hard for a user to know when to do undo or do "some
random typing followed by undo" to get to the state he wants. In
particular, once a person did more than once of "some random typing
followed by undo", the undo record becomes too convoluted for a person
to keep in mind and often the undo action becomes useless at that
point.

If you take a survey among programers who use emacs for at least 1
year, perhaps more than 90% are confused by emacs's undo model and do
not find it useful. If you take a survey of software users other than
emacs, i do not think anyone will report their software's undo lacks
something to be desired.

It is reasonable to argue, that people work better with a simple undo/
redo model. Undo is practically used to erase a mistake or doing a
simple one-time revision. Once a user did a sequence of undos and
redos, we can assume that he arrived at a satisfactory point and
intends to start fresh from that point. If he needs extra revision
control, a more proper mechanism, one that people actually use, is to
revert to the saved version.

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

Aug 11 '07 #271
Giorgos Keramidas wrote:
On Fri, 22 Jun 2007 23:08:02 -0000, ne********@gmail.com wrote:
>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'.
If you were referring to the "free" in "free Mumia Abu Jamal", I would
agree with you. I don't think anyone would imagine that this phrase
meant that someone was going to get Mumia Abu Jamal gratis. Like it or
not, "free software" referring to "free as in beer" is probably the most
common interpretation of the phrase for a native English speaker.
Admittedly, I do not have a "scientific" survey handy. However, I just
asked my wife--who has absolutely no interest in anything related to
programming, has never heard of the FSF, Eric Raymond, nor the
disagreement between those two camps, nor probably will she ever have an
interest--what she thinks I mean when I say "free software". After
getting over the "why are you asking such a stupid question" phase, the
first thing that jumped to her mind was "free as in beer". You can
stamp, growl, swagger, spit, curse, and bluster all you want on this
point, but millions of English speakers are going to ignore you anyway.
Lucky for most of them, they do not have to suffer the lectures of
sociopolitically motivated language mavens trying to "correct" them from
the error of mistaking the meaning of a phrase to be the normal meaning
of that phrase.
Sep 29 '07 #272


Damien Kick wrote:
Giorgos Keramidas wrote:
>On Fri, 22 Jun 2007 23:08:02 -0000, ne********@gmail.com wrote:
>>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'.
Sure, but where does the infection thing come in? Suppose RMS publishes
a new library call add-42, whose api is add-42, inputs n, outputs n+42,
source left as an exercise, and Kenny decides he can use it, it is
great. Now if Kenny uses it in his commercial software, add-42 does not
somehow become less free to ride 'neath the starry skies above, don't
fence me in. But RMS wants Kenny's hide. Nothing Kenny wrote derived
from add-42, but RMS wants it all. Kenny happened to solve the traveling
salesman problem and protein-folding and passed the fricking Turing test
by using add-42 wherever he needed 42 added to a number, and RMS wants
credit and ownership and control of it all. He and his license shall
now dictate access and use of all that code. The handcuffs are on, and
they are inscribed "free".

No wonder the GPL has gone nowhere. Freely. RMS reasonably wanted that
add-42 not get co-opted, but that in no way necessitated the land grab
that is GPL. The GPL is a gratuitous reach only fancifully justified by
wanting to ensure that open source remain open. So this has nothing to
do with freedom in /any/ sense of the word, it has to do with a
political agenda opposed to the idea of private property.

kzo

--
http://www.theoryyalgebra.com/

"We are what we pretend to be." -Kurt Vonnegut
Sep 29 '07 #273
On 2007-09-29 01:27:04 +0200, Damien Kick <dk***@earthlink.netsaid:
Giorgos Keramidas wrote:
>On Fri, 22 Jun 2007 23:08:02 -0000, ne********@gmail.com wrote:
>>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'.

If you were referring to the "free" in "free Mumia Abu Jamal", I would
agree with you. I don't think anyone would imagine that this phrase
meant that someone was going to get Mumia Abu Jamal gratis. Like it or
not, "free software" referring to "free as in beer" is probably the
most common interpretation of the phrase for a native English speaker.
Admittedly, I do not have a "scientific" survey handy. However, I just
asked my wife--who has absolutely no interest in anything related to
programming, has never heard of the FSF, Eric Raymond, nor the
disagreement between those two camps, nor probably will she ever have
an interest--what she thinks I mean when I say "free software". After
getting over the "why are you asking such a stupid question" phase, the
first thing that jumped to her mind was "free as in beer". You can
stamp, growl, swagger, spit, curse, and bluster all you want on this
point, but millions of English speakers are going to ignore you anyway.
Lucky for most of them, they do not have to suffer the lectures of
sociopolitically motivated language mavens trying to "correct" them
from the error of mistaking the meaning of a phrase to be the normal
meaning of that phrase.
Fully true for non-native English speakers as well. Just did the "wife
test" also - she is a pure software user - and yes, free is "no money,
do what you want" and that's it.

I *never* use the term "free" if I don't want to imply "free beer"
(which is a Good Thing and as such highly valuated - ask any Bavarian).
Using "free" as by FSF or any other lawyer-style 6 pixel font printed
phrasing is pure perfidiousness.

Frank

--
Frank Goenninger

frgo(at)goenninger(dot)net

"Don't ask me! I haven't been reading comp.lang.lisp long enough to
really know ..."

Sep 29 '07 #274
Ken Tilton wrote:

No wonder the GPL has gone nowhere.
Bwaahahahaha. Keep smokin' that crack, there.
Freely. RMS reasonably wanted that
add-42 not get co-opted, but that in no way necessitated the land grab
that is GPL.
You (and probably KMP) are presuming the validity of copyright monopoly
law think. Others do not do that. Whenever you claim a copyright
monopoly, and enforce that monopoly, you're abridging others freedom.
It might currently be legal to do so, but "legal" and "right" are
different things.

So your beef is not _really_ with the GPL - it derives all its power
from copyright law. The GPL is really only valid while copyright law
is: If copyright law is reduced in power and reach, the GPL is too. So
if you don't like the GPL, push for weakened copyright law. Heh.
Supporters of copyright monopoly law *really* don't like this
double-bind of the GPL, of course, but that's by design.

Of course, the FSF are a bunch of moderates, these days you can support
your local Pirate Party, more information at
http://www.pp-international.net/
Sep 29 '07 #275
Ken Tilton <ke*********@optonline.netwrites:
>
Sure, but where does the infection thing come in? Suppose RMS
publishes a new library call add-42, whose api is add-42, inputs n,
outputs n+42, source left as an exercise, and Kenny decides he can use
it, it is great. Now if Kenny uses it in his commercial software,
commercial software can be free as well, such as the GNU Ada compiler.
add-42 does not somehow become less free to ride 'neath the starry
skies above, don't fence me in. But RMS wants Kenny's hide. Nothing
Kenny wrote derived from add-42, but RMS wants it all.
that's because it's immoral not to give it all

Kenny happened
to solve the traveling salesman problem and protein-folding and passed
the fricking Turing test by using add-42 wherever he needed 42 added
to a number, and RMS wants credit and ownership and control of it
all. He and his license shall now dictate access and use of all that
code. The handcuffs are on, and they are inscribed "free".
of course they are free
>
No wonder the GPL has gone nowhere. Freely. RMS reasonably wanted that
add-42 not get co-opted, but that in no way necessitated the land grab
that is GPL. The GPL is a gratuitous reach only fancifully justified
by wanting to ensure that open source remain open.
which is necessary in a moral culture.
Only an immoral culture may accept non-disclosure
So this has nothing
to do with freedom in /any/ sense of the word, it has to do with a
political agenda opposed to the idea of private property.
private property is unethical

Klaus Schilling
Sep 30 '07 #276
On Sun, 30 Sep 2007 08:43:39 +0200, Klaus Schilling <sc*************@web.de>
tried to confuse everyone with this message:
>
that's because it's immoral not to give it all

which is necessary in a moral culture.
Only an immoral culture may accept non-disclosure

private property is unethical
I see the light! You really won me over with your preaching.

--
|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) |______________|
Sep 30 '07 #277
So this has nothing to
do with freedom in /any/ sense of the word, it has to do with a
political agenda opposed to the idea of private property.
Freedom is inherently political, you know. You're condemning the FSF
for being political, although the FSF's stated purpose is a political
one. How does that make any sense?

~ Matthias

Sep 30 '07 #278


Matthias Benkard wrote:
>>So this has nothing to
do with freedom in /any/ sense of the word, it has to do with a
political agenda opposed to the idea of private property.


Freedom is inherently political, you know. You're condemning the FSF
for being political, although the FSF's stated purpose is a political
one.
Oh, I missed that. I just saw something about software should be shared
and programmers should be content with an hourly wage, not sales.

kt

--
http://www.theoryyalgebra.com/

"We are what we pretend to be." -Kurt Vonnegut
Oct 1 '07 #279
Ken Tilton <ke*********@optonline.netwrites:
>
Oh, I missed that. I just saw something about software should be
shared
of course it should, as otherwise it would be immoral,
and programmers should be content with an hourly wage, not
sales.
only greedy creeps wouldn't be content

Klaus Schilling
Oct 1 '07 #280
Ken Tilton a crit :
>

Matthias Benkard wrote:
>>So this has nothing to
do with freedom in /any/ sense of the word, it has to do with a
political agenda opposed to the idea of private property.

Freedom is inherently political, you know. You're condemning the FSF
for being political, although the FSF's stated purpose is a political
one.

Oh, I missed that. I just saw something about software should be shared
and programmers should be content with an hourly wage, not sales.
Nothing forces you to use GPL code, isn't it ? If that code was under a
proprietary licence, you would not use it without paying the price,
because then you'd be *stealing* code ? And since you have a deep
respect for intellectual property, copyright laws etc, you would not, by
any mean, *steal* code by not respecting the licence terms ? Do we agree
on this ? Yes ? Fine. Then how dare you complain about the fact that the
GPL don't let you steal code ? Don't you feel something like a
contradiction here ? Too bad that you can't have your cake and eat it too...

Oct 1 '07 #281
Frank Goenninger wrote:
On 2007-09-29 01:27:04 +0200, Damien Kick <dk***@earthlink.netsaid:
>If you were referring to the "free" in "free Mumia Abu Jamal", I would
agree with you. I don't think anyone would imagine that this phrase
meant that someone was going to get Mumia Abu Jamal gratis. Like it
or not, "free software" referring to "free as in beer" is probably the
most common interpretation of the phrase for a native English speaker.
Admittedly, I do not have a "scientific" survey handy. However, I
just asked my wife--who has absolutely no interest in anything related
to programming, has never heard of the FSF, Eric Raymond, nor the
disagreement between those two camps, nor probably will she ever have
an interest--what she thinks I mean when I say "free software". After
getting over the "why are you asking such a stupid question" phase,
the first thing that jumped to her mind was "free as in beer". You
can stamp, growl, swagger, spit, curse, and bluster all you want on
this point, but millions of English speakers are going to ignore you
anyway. Lucky for most of them, they do not have to suffer the
lectures of sociopolitically motivated language mavens trying to
"correct" them from the error of mistaking the meaning of a phrase to
be the normal meaning of that phrase.

Fully true for non-native English speakers as well. Just did the "wife
test" also - she is a pure software user - and yes, free is "no money,
do what you want" and that's it.

I *never* use the term "free" if I don't want to imply "free beer"
(which is a Good Thing and as such highly valuated - ask any Bavarian).
Using "free" as by FSF or any other lawyer-style 6 pixel font printed
phrasing is pure perfidiousness.
I appearantly missed a lot of that conversation, but what is your point?
While I agree that the word "free" implies "free of monetary cost" to
many people societies, that is by no means set in stone (talk to native
americans, blacks, jews, palestinians, etc. about the word free, see
what they have to say).

But that aside: The word free with respect to the FSF and GPL have a
perfectly well defined meaning. People may misunderstand that from not
knowing the definition but that doesnt make it any less well defined.

Again, why this discussion?
/W
Oct 1 '07 #282
On Fri, 28 Sep 2007 18:27:04 -0500, Damien Kick <dk***@earthlink.net>
wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :
>"free as in beer".
but does not "free beer" nearly always come with a catch or implied
obligation?
--
Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products
The Java Glossary
http://mindprod.com
Oct 2 '07 #283
On Tue, 02 Oct 2007 03:38:08 GMT, Roedy Green
<se*********@mindprod.com.invalidwrote:
>On Fri, 28 Sep 2007 18:27:04 -0500, Damien Kick <dk***@earthlink.net>
wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :
>>"free as in beer".

but does not "free beer" nearly always come with a catch or implied
obligation?
It means you have to bring the chips.

George
--
for email reply remove "/" from address
Oct 2 '07 #284
On Sun, Sep 30 2007, Klaus Schilling wrote:
...
private property is unethical
How I craved to read that!

Viva la revolution!

- ,
- !

The End justify the means!

Long live communism!

--

Oct 2 '07 #285
On 2007-10-01 23:37:28 +0200, Wildemar Wildenburger
<la*********@klapptsowieso.netsaid:
Frank Goenninger wrote:
>On 2007-09-29 01:27:04 +0200, Damien Kick <dk***@earthlink.netsaid:
>>If you were referring to the "free" in "free Mumia Abu Jamal", I would
agree with you. I don't think anyone would imagine that this phrase
meant that someone was going to get Mumia Abu Jamal gratis. Like it or
not, "free software" referring to "free as in beer" is probably the
most common interpretation of the phrase for a native English speaker.
Admittedly, I do not have a "scientific" survey handy. However, I just
asked my wife--who has absolutely no interest in anything related to
programming, has never heard of the FSF, Eric Raymond, nor the
disagreement between those two camps, nor probably will she ever have
an interest--what she thinks I mean when I say "free software". After
getting over the "why are you asking such a stupid question" phase, the
first thing that jumped to her mind was "free as in beer". You can
stamp, growl, swagger, spit, curse, and bluster all you want on this
point, but millions of English speakers are going to ignore you anyway.
Lucky for most of them, they do not have to suffer the lectures of
sociopolitically motivated language mavens trying to "correct" them
from the error of mistaking the meaning of a phrase to be the normal
meaning of that phrase.

Fully true for non-native English speakers as well. Just did the "wife
test" also - she is a pure software user - and yes, free is "no money,
do what you want" and that's it.

I *never* use the term "free" if I don't want to imply "free beer"
(which is a Good Thing and as such highly valuated - ask any Bavarian).
Using "free" as by FSF or any other lawyer-style 6 pixel font printed
phrasing is pure perfidiousness.
I appearantly missed a lot of that conversation, but what is your
point? While I agree that the word "free" implies "free of monetary
cost" to many people societies, that is by no means set in stone (talk
to native americans, blacks, jews, palestinians, etc. about the word
free, see what they have to say).

But that aside: The word free with respect to the FSF and GPL have a
perfectly well defined meaning. People may misunderstand that from not
knowing the definition but that doesnt make it any less well defined.

Again, why this discussion?
/W
Well, I didn't start the discussion. So you should ask the OP about the
why. I jumped in when I came across the so often mentioned "hey, it's
all well defined" statement was brought in. I simply said that if that
"well-definedness" is against "common understanding" then I don't give
a damn about that clever definitions. Because I have to know that there
are such definitions - always also knowing that free is not really
free. It is such a good subject to discuss over and over and over
without ever reaching any conclusion or resolution because neither FSF
nor GNU nor the FREE as in FREE BEER defenders will change their mind.
So, wasting bandwith is the only real effect ... And hey, it's Usenet,
so wasting time and bandwith is part of the game.

Again, why this discussion - ah - I don't really know...

;-)

--
Frank Goenninger

frgo(at)goenninger(dot)net

"Don't ask me! I haven't been reading comp.lang.lisp long enough to
really know ..."

Oct 2 '07 #286
Kamen TOMOV wrote:
On Sun, Sep 30 2007, Klaus Schilling wrote:
>...
private property is unethical

How I craved to read that!

Viva la revolution!

- ,
- !

The End justify the means!

Long live communism!
ENDUT! HOCH HECH!
- , . q

/W
Oct 2 '07 #287
In message <uk***********@cybuild.com>, Kamen TOMOV wrote:
On Sun, Sep 30 2007, Klaus Schilling wrote:
>private property is unethical

How I craved to read that!

Viva la revolution!
Ewige Blumenkraft!

French-Canadian bean soup!
Oct 3 '07 #288
In article <fd*************@news.t-online.com>,
Frank Goenninger <fr**@goenninger.netwrote:
>
Well, I didn't start the discussion. So you should ask the OP about the
why. I jumped in when I came across the so often mentioned "hey, it's
all well defined" statement was brought in. I simply said that if that
"well-definedness" is against "common understanding" then I don't give
a damn about that clever definitions. Because I have to know that there
are such definitions - always also knowing that free is not really
free.
"Liberated" is a valid meaning of the word "free". The main problem is
that there aren't really any other words in the English language that
have the same meaning as the word "free" when it is wearing its
"liberated" hat. It is unfortunate that the word is overloaded with
multiple other meanings, one of which is so central in our modern
market oriented society that it tends to come to the forefront of
people's minds when the word is used. But that's just the way it is.
You work with the language you've got.
It is such a good subject to discuss over and over and over
without ever reaching any conclusion or resolution because neither FSF
nor GNU nor the FREE as in FREE BEER defenders will change their mind.
I am quite sure they would be overjoyed if someone were to come up
with a decent replacement for the word "free" so as to disambiguate
the term. A number of people have tried pretty hard, however, and
failed. If you fancy yourself an accomplished wordsmith, any
suggestions are sure to be welcome.

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bc*@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Oct 3 '07 #289
bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:
In article <fd*************@news.t-online.com>,
Frank Goenninger <fr**@goenninger.netwrote:
>>
Well, I didn't start the discussion. So you should ask the OP about the
why. I jumped in when I came across the so often mentioned "hey, it's
all well defined" statement was brought in. I simply said that if that
"well-definedness" is against "common understanding" then I don't give
a damn about that clever definitions. Because I have to know that there
are such definitions - always also knowing that free is not really
free.

"Liberated" is a valid meaning of the word "free".
No. It is a valid meaning of the word "freed".

Xpost+Fup2 gnu.misc.discuss: this is not really relevant for most of
the touched Usenet groups.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Oct 3 '07 #290
In article <85************@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:
>In article <fd*************@news.t-online.com>,
Frank Goenninger <fr**@goenninger.netwrote:
>>>
Well, I didn't start the discussion. So you should ask the OP about the
why. I jumped in when I came across the so often mentioned "hey, it's
all well defined" statement was brought in. I simply said that if that
"well-definedness" is against "common understanding" then I don't give
a damn about that clever definitions. Because I have to know that there
are such definitions - always also knowing that free is not really
free.

"Liberated" is a valid meaning of the word "free".

No. It is a valid meaning of the word "freed".
Only if you're being exceedingly pedantic and probably not even
then. Webster 1913 lists, among other meanings,

Free
(...)
"Liberated, by arriving at a certain age, from the control
of parents, guardian, or master."

The point presumably being that having been "liberated", you are now
"free".
As I do not read gnu.misc.discuss, I reinstated the previous bunch.
Apologies to those who may be annoyed at this.

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bc*@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Oct 3 '07 #291
In article <l0********************************@4ax.com>,
George Neuner <gneuner2/@comcast.netwrote:
>On Wed, 3 Oct 2007 09:36:40 +0000 (UTC), bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C
Dalager) wrote:
>>
Only if you're being exceedingly pedantic and probably not even
then. Webster 1913 lists, among other meanings,

Free
(...)
"Liberated, by arriving at a certain age, from the control
of parents, guardian, or master."

The point presumably being that having been "liberated", you are now
"free".

(...)

The English language has degenerated significantly in the last 30
years.
(...)

Dictionaries used to be the arbiters of the language - any word or
meaning of a word not found in the dictionary was considered a
colloquial (slang) use. Since the 1980's, an entry in the dictionary
has become little more than evidence of popularity as the major
dictionaries (OED, Webster, Cambridge, etc.) will now consider any
word they can find used in print.
Apparantly, you missed the part where I referred to the 1913 edition
of Webster. I have kept it in the quoted text above for your
convenience. I can assure you that 1913 is both more than 30 years ago
/and/ it is before 1980, in case that was in doubt.

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bc*@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Oct 3 '07 #292
bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:
In article <l0********************************@4ax.com>,
George Neuner <gneuner2/@comcast.netwrote:
>>On Wed, 3 Oct 2007 09:36:40 +0000 (UTC), bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C
Dalager) wrote:
>>>
Only if you're being exceedingly pedantic and probably not even
then. Webster 1913 lists, among other meanings,

Free
(...)
"Liberated, by arriving at a certain age, from the control
of parents, guardian, or master."

The point presumably being that having been "liberated", you are now
"free".
Not as much "been" liberated, but "turned" liberated.
>>Dictionaries used to be the arbiters of the language - any word or
meaning of a word not found in the dictionary was considered a
colloquial (slang) use. Since the 1980's, an entry in the
dictionary has become little more than evidence of popularity as the
major dictionaries (OED, Webster, Cambridge, etc.) will now consider
any word they can find used in print.

Apparantly, you missed the part where I referred to the 1913 edition
of Webster. I have kept it in the quoted text above for your
convenience. I can assure you that 1913 is both more than 30 years
ago /and/ it is before 1980, in case that was in doubt.
But picking just a single word from a whole explanation of _one_
naming and declaring it as equivalent is not really being careful with
language at all.

And even when using a Thesaurus, it should be clear that the offered
alternatives are not supposed to or capable of capturing all nuances
of the keyword.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Oct 3 '07 #293
In article <85************@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:

Not as much "been" liberated, but "turned" liberated.
I expect that either way you split this hair, using "free" in the
sense of "possessing liberty" is still going to be quite reasonable.
>But picking just a single word from a whole explanation of _one_
naming and declaring it as equivalent is not really being careful with
language at all.
I have never claimed equivalence. What I have made claims about are
the properties of one of the meanings of a word. Specifically, my
claim is that "free" is a reasonable description of some one or some
thing that has been "liberated".

As an example, when a slave becomes a free man, this is not commonly
understood to mean that he now has a low or zero monetary cost.
>And even when using a Thesaurus, it should be clear that the offered
alternatives are not supposed to or capable of capturing all nuances
of the keyword.
I have never claimed to be providing a full definition of the word.
Indeed, I quite clearly conceded very early on that "free" is commonly
associated with what might otherwise be called "gratis" - that is
"free of charge".

My effort has been to point out that the word also has other meanings.

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bc*@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Oct 3 '07 #294
bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:
In article <85************@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>>bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:

Not as much "been" liberated, but "turned" liberated.

I expect that either way you split this hair, using "free" in the
sense of "possessing liberty" is still going to be quite reasonable.
>>But picking just a single word from a whole explanation of _one_
naming and declaring it as equivalent is not really being careful with
language at all.

I have never claimed equivalence. What I have made claims about are
the properties of one of the meanings of a word. Specifically, my
claim is that "free" is a reasonable description of some one or some
thing that has been "liberated".
But it suggests that the natural state would be the unfree state.

--
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Oct 3 '07 #295
In article <85************@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:
>I have never claimed equivalence. What I have made claims about are
the properties of one of the meanings of a word. Specifically, my
claim is that "free" is a reasonable description of some one or some
thing that has been "liberated".

But it suggests that the natural state would be the unfree state.
Would this be a good thing? Would it be a bad thing? What is your
point?

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bc*@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Oct 3 '07 #296
David Kastrup wrote:
bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:
>In article <85************@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>>bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:

Not as much "been" liberated, but "turned" liberated.
I expect that either way you split this hair, using "free" in the
sense of "possessing liberty" is still going to be quite reasonable.
>>But picking just a single word from a whole explanation of _one_
naming and declaring it as equivalent is not really being careful with
language at all.
I have never claimed equivalence. What I have made claims about are
the properties of one of the meanings of a word. Specifically, my
claim is that "free" is a reasonable description of some one or some
thing that has been "liberated".

But it suggests that the natural state would be the unfree state.
Which for Africans in colonial America it was. They arrived unfree and
many of them liver their entire lives in slavery. After liberation they
were. nevertheless, often referred to as "freed", because someone (thier
owner) had freed them. As freed men they were, of course, /free/ to do
what they chose (as long as someone "white" didn't object).

Please stop splitting hairs and get down to some useful discussion. This
is boring (and has nothing to do with either Python or the subject line
except in the most inconsequential way).

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +1 571 484 6266 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC/Ltd http://www.holdenweb.com
Skype: holdenweb http://del.icio.us/steve.holden

Sorry, the dog ate my .sigline

Oct 3 '07 #297
Webster? WEBSTER. . . ?

Whatever happened to the Oxford English Dictionary ?
Seems to me the English have always spoken the definitive
English. . . that's why they call it ENGLISH.
Oct 3 '07 #298
Lew
Bent C Dalager wrote:
In article <85************@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <da*@gnu.orgwrote:
>bc*@pvv.ntnu.no (Bent C Dalager) writes:
>>I have never claimed equivalence. What I have made claims about are
the properties of one of the meanings of a word. Specifically, my
claim is that "free" is a reasonable description of some one or some
thing that has been "liberated".
But it suggests that the natural state would be the unfree state.

Would this be a good thing? Would it be a bad thing? What is your
point?
"There's no easy way to be free."

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Freedom is not natural. It must be defended.

--
Lew
Oct 3 '07 #299
In article <Vq******************************@insightbb.com> ,
rjack <rjack@comwrote:
>Webster? WEBSTER. . . ?

Whatever happened to the Oxford English Dictionary ?
It suffers from not being in my "dict" installation I suppose.
>Seems to me the English have always spoken the definitive
English. . . that's why they call it ENGLISH.
Unfortunately, these days English almost always means American English
and if you want British English you have to specify that explicitly.

But I don't actually think that the difference is significant to the
current controversy surrounding the interpretation of the word "free".

Cheers
Bent D
--
Bent Dalager - bc*@pvv.org - http://www.pvv.org/~bcd
powered by emacs
Oct 3 '07 #300

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