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RE: Enabling Transient Mark Mode by default

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Enabling Transient Mark Mode by default
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 11:09:36 -0800

> Whenever I use "emacs -Q" or some similar "vanilla Emacs", the first
> thing that I'm urged to do is M-x transient-mark-mode (and it was
> already N°1 back when fotn-lock-mode wasn't the default).
> Of course, I'm sure I'd be able to learn to live without it.  It seems
> like an option affect people *very* strongly, so those who want it
> *really* want it, and those who don't *really* don't.
> So, that's for my personal preference.  As to why turn it on *by
> default*, here are some reasons why I think it should be ON 
> by default:
> - Visual feedback about the mark's position and active status.
>   I and all (X)Emacs users I know personally (i.e. off-this-list) and
>   with whom I've talked about transient-mark-mode use
>   transient-mark-mode (or its XEmacs equivalent) and find it difficult
>   to use Emacs without it because of the lack of visual feedback about
>   where the mark really is.  I do not claim that this small group of
>   people is representative, but it does seem relevant.
> - Extended semantics for various commands.
>   Many commands now offer to operate on the region if the region is
>   active but only when transient-mark-mode is ON.
>   This functionality is now also available to non-tmm-users via the
>   temporary-transient-mark-mode (C-SPC C-SPC), admittedly, but while
>   C-SPC C-SPC is easy enough to use, I always find myself 
>   selecting the
>   region *before* knowing that I want to use such a command (or
>   selecting the region with something else than C-SPC, typically
>   C-M-SPC), so I end up having to use C-u C-x C-x which I find a lot
>   more inconvenient.

Well, I thought I might successfully stay out of this calorific thread ;-),
but here goes -

I agree with what Stefan has said, including the reasons he gave for turning
t-m mode on by default.

For the record: I used Emacs for many years with no problem before t-m mode
existed and before there was any mouse support. So I should be able to
understand to some extent those who say they are used to doing without such

Personally, however, I had no difficulty getting used to t-m mode. I
immediately adopted it, and I haven't looked back. Likewise, FWIW, it didn't
take me long to start using the mouse on occasion. I tend to use the mouse
now (clicking, not dragging) for selecting text and sexps in some
situations, even though much of the time I do not use it. It is a
random-access pointing device, and random access can be an advantage in some
contexts.  anti-rodent -flames > /dev/null

FWIW, I have never experienced the issues that others have cited wrt t-m
mode. I cannot recognize the behavior behind statements such as these:

> Transient-mark-mode messes with the normal work flow (and the
> active region) in a way that is not helpful.

> it makes uses of the mark ring other than marking text
> very unpleasant

> using the mark to mark interesting spots in an buffer so
> that one can easily jump between them....  In such cases the
> highlighting of text between point and the last mark is
> distracting and useless.

I don't discount others experiencing such problems. I'm unexperienced in
that way; that's all. Transient-mark mode doesn't interfere with my work
flow at all - quite the contrary, but maybe my work doesn't flow in the same
direction as yours.

So count me as one person who was quite used to the "old" way but
nevertheless changed to the "new" way. That doesn't mean the new trick is
right for other old dogs - YMMV. It just means that there are some people
used to living without t-m mode who can end up appreciating it.

My vote (we've been through this before...) is for delete-selection mode to
be on by default. Second choice: transient-mark mode on by default. In
either case, `mark-even-if-inactive' should be non-nil by default. Just one

Wrt emacs -nw: I can't speak to this, because I no longer use Emacs without
a window manager, but from Alan's report, perhaps the default should be
different for emacs -nw. He seemed to be reporting horrible dark blue
flashes or something. Maybe others can comment on whether the default should
differ in this case.

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