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*scratch* considered harmful

From: Per Starback
Subject: *scratch* considered harmful
Date: 15 Nov 2001 04:33:28 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.1.50

Many times I've seen beginners start typing their text in *scratch*
instead of visiting a file.  Eventually they will save it, and then
give a file name.  That the scratch buffer says "If you want to create
a file, ..." is somehow not enough.  Sometimes they don't realize that
the initial text in *scratch* is part of the buffer, so it will be
left in the file they are writing.

Having a scratch buffer for lisp evaluation is sometimes useful for
an expert, but not for a beginner.

The initial splash screens on the other hand contain stuff that *is*
useful for the beginner. Unfortunately the information there
disappears immediately when the beginner types something.

So my radical suggestion is this: If inhibit-startup-message is nil,
then create a special readonly startup buffer containing whatever you
wish to show the user and make that buffer the initial buffer.
(Preferrably it would tell you to visit a file instead of just beeping
"Buffer is read-only" if you try to type characters.) Do no special
splash stuff.

Create the *scratch* buffer too, but don't make it the initial buffer.

If inhibit-startup-message is true, then I suggest no change from the
current behaviour.

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