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Re: small Eshell docfix

From: Oliver Scholz
Subject: Re: small Eshell docfix
Date: Wed, 01 Sep 2004 07:45:45 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) Emacs/21.3.50 (windows-nt)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

>     > In that case, why isn't \ the default for this variable?
>     Because this would conflict with Windows, where "\vi" means to run the
>     vi.exe that exists in the root directory.
> The idea that an Emacs feature should be designed to avoid "conflict
> with Windows" gives Windows more importance than it deserves.
> GNU Emacs is a part of the GNU system and its main purpose is to make
> the GNU system better.  It is ok for GNU packages to support non-free
> systems as well, as long as they don't get in the way of the main
> purpose.

I'd like to point out that in my view Emacs' relation to Free Software
is deeper than that it is designed to make the GNU system better.

For me at least it was Emacs that let me understand the values of Free
Software as opposed to merely "open source". When I started to use
GNU/Linux it was just because the open-source hype and because I
wanted to get away from MS Windows 98. That in theory I could review
the sources of packages that I used and that I was entitled to change
them had no meaning to me at that time: I wasn't able to program.
Sure, even at that time I could say to myself: well, if it were
necessary, then I /could/ learn how to program and change the sources
... but why should I? Until you actually /experience/ the benefits of
having the sources available, such possibilities do not mean much to

But when I gained a better understanding of Emacs, this point of view
changed. The Emacs community habitually publishes Emacs Lisp snippets
both in Emacs related newsgroups and mailing lists and on the web.
"You have a problem, you want a feature? I took a glance at the
sources -- here are a few lines of code that solve it." Even if you
are not a programmer, this is a way to actually experience what Free
Software means: not just a claim to technical superiority ("open
source"), but the freedom to look at and change. And this was what
made me learn Emacs Lisp.

So I say: Emacs is the best advertising medium, the best promotion of
the idea of Free Software.  So, in my point of view there is value in
itself if it runs smoothly on non-free operating systems like MS
Windows or MacOS. It is, so to speak, a foot in the door.

Oliver Scholz               16 Fructidor an 212 de la Révolution
Ostendstr. 61               Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!
60314 Frankfurt a. M.       

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