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Re: Info tutorial is out of date

From: Brad Collins
Subject: Re: Info tutorial is out of date
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 09:23:42 +0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.110002 (No Gnus v0.2) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden> writes:

> Yes, but surely not all.  Might it still be that in poorer countries
> there are newbies with PCs of insufficient power to support X?  

These comments are a bit off topic -- but I would like to address the
myth that third world countries are full of ancient computers which
can only run CLI environments.

Having lived for the last 20 years, mostly in the some of the most
remote regions of China, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia I can say that if
people have computers today, they are at least running Win95 on a
Pentium II boxes.

Most people are running XP on at least low to mid-range Pentium III's.
No one actually pays for software and in most places there is nowhere
to buy it even if you wanted to buy legit copies.  This makes adoption
of gnu/linux a tough sell here because Windows is the same price as

These are places with little or no electricity, no running water, and
in many cases no land based telephone lines.  If you want Internet
access you can go into any medium sized town and find inexpensive
Internet cafe's which always seem to be packed with people.

There are cell networks everywhere.  There are about 100 houses within
a 1km radius of my house, and only 2 land lines installed. But I'd
estimate that there are at least 200 or more people will cell phones
living in this same area.

In much of the rural parts of the Far East, I can safely say that the
oft repeated myth that people in third-world countries only have
access to old technology, ancient hardware and software is just not

A PC in the third-world needs to operate in places with no air
conditioning, ungrounded electrical connections, dust during the dry
season, high humidity in the rainy season and are assaulted by vast
numbers of crawling and flying insects in all seasons.  Computers
don't last long in those conditions, so you don't see any old hardware
and the only new hardware anyone makes today is designed to run MS

I think it's safe to say that the vast number of people even in poor
countries will learn how to use a mouse before they learn emacs or

That said -- I learned emacs over a telnet connection, and when I
train people to use emacs (most of our inhouse development tools are
emacs applications) I encourage them to spend the first month learning
emacs by running it -nw in a shell window.  It's a bit severe, but it
helps force people to learn to use the keyboard and not avoid the
learning curve.  After a month, most people are comfortable enough
with the keyboard that they don't feel the need to use the mouse much
when they switch over to x.

I also don't like the term shortcut, it carries with it the idea that
it is not the recommended way to use the application and has only been
tacked on as an afterthought to appease "power users".


Brad Collins <address@hidden>, Bankwao, Thailand

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