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default setting of next-line-add-newlines


From: Charles Sebold
Subject: default setting of next-line-add-newlines
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 15:16:37 -0600

This bug report will be sent to the Free Software Foundation,
 not to your local site managers!!
Please write in English, because the Emacs maintainers do not have
translators to read other languages for them.

In GNU Emacs 20.7.1 (i686-pc-linux-gnu, X toolkit)
 of Thu Jun 15 2000 on sebold
configured using `configure  --prefix=/usr'

Please describe exactly what actions triggered the bug
and the precise symptoms of the bug:

This follows a discussion in comp.emacs.  I searched as far back as I
could regarding the history of the default setting of
next-line-add-newlines to t, but I couldn't find the rationale, only the
proud statement by many an XEmacs user that their default of nil was
better.

Of course, "XEmacs is doing it" is no reason to change.  But I
personally suspect that most of us would rather consciously make the
choice to add newlines to the end of a file, by hitting RET at the end
of the file, rather than causing (next-line) to do it.  While I always
use (end-of-buffer) bound to M-> to traverse to the end of the buffer if
I am a long way away from the end (say more than a screenful), when I am
close, it is easier for me to just hold down the down arrow, or C-n, for
a second or two.  And it is annoying and not helpful that this, under
the default conditions, produces new lines at the bottom of the file; my
desk is often messy but my files are almost invariably neat, and the
file ends when the content ends if my username shows up next to it.

Every time I introduce a new person to Emacs (and lately I have
introduced quite a few, not that that gives my argument any more merit),
I have had to show them how to frob next-line-add-newlines within
minutes of the first buffer they open.  If the point of this default is
to force people to get into the internals quickly, then it succeeds, and
perhaps it should stand.  If it is meant to annoy people who don't have
the patience or fortitude to customize Emacs at all, then it succeeds
there as well.  I think that the default expectations of users have
changed since the early days of Emacs and defaults should change with
them (and some clearly have, so perhaps this one just keeps getting
overlooked?).

If this default cannot be changed, I would be interested in hearing the
reason why not.  I have gradually grown to understand nearly every
default I have found in Emacs, but this one continually eludes me.
Sorry for such a long post but I thought I should explain myself fully
when questioning such a long-standing default setting.

Respectfully yours,
Charles Sebold
address@hidden

Recent input:
backspace backspace backspace backspace backspace . 
C-l return return ( M e ? SPC SPC H a v e SPC a SPC 
l o w SPC o p n backspace i n i o n SPC o f SPC u s 
e r s ? ) f9 C-c C-c return q g up up down down down 
down down return q l up up up up up up up up down up 
return return M-x b u g tab backspace backspace backspace 
e m tab a c s - b tab M-x r e p o tab r tab return

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