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Re: line-move-visual

From: Scot Becker
Subject: Re: line-move-visual
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 09:43:37 +0100

Good defaults are important.  They are not the answer.

Discoverability is key.  This could be done through a customize
interface, as Stephen suggests or simply through a piece of startup
documentation called "Things you might want to tweak."   This would
contain not just the  "wacky new variables that dazzle old-timers,"
but also the flip side, the so-called "crufty unixy defaults which
trip up newbies".  As well as the "defaults more for writers of
natural languages" and "defaults more for coders," and so on.

The Emacs developers take obvious care in making thoughtful defaults,
and this list takes impassioned (!) care to help them do it.  But the
real issue for a variable like this is that the user knows that it's
there and can set it to get what s/he wants with a minimum amount of

There exist beginner customization helps (e.g. on the EmacsWiki or in
the many init files on the web), but I think it would be worth it to
identify a set of 10-30 variables and tweaks which are most
significant in helping new users (or new users of a given release) get
Emacs to broadly behave in ways that are congenial to them.  These can
be put into a customize buffer or a new Quick-Start-Tweaks doc (or
best: in both).  This should be taken in to the official Emacs
distribution, and linked to on the open Splash screen.

The set should include not recently-introduced, but also things of
broad impact on the user experience which broad sections of our target
audience may reasonably need one way or the other.


Vim user from 1997-2008.  Emacs user since the introduction of visual-line-mode.

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