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Re: delete-selection-mode (was: Put scroll-bar on right by default on UN

From: Lennart Borgman
Subject: Re: delete-selection-mode (was: Put scroll-bar on right by default on UNIX.)
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 20:30:47 +0100

Hi Alan,

On Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 3:35 PM, Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden> wrote:
>> I agree with Richard that the primary concern is doing what is useful
>> for newcomers.
> You have misconstrued Richard's post.  He went on to say that what is
> useful for newcomers isn't necessarily what they expect or "want".
> There's thus no indication there that he would support the rest of your
> argument.

Juri can of course be correct too when he interpret this basic part of
RMS message. You can also be that. However I see no reason why Juri
can't argue that way.

> The answer is to ask them why they want this.

Have not that been done many, many times - in the context of Emacs and
in research on user-computer interaction. As far as I understand the
answer is that new users most often want it to behave as they are used
to from other applications. They want that exactly because it saves
them time and avoids confusion (which also costs them time).

I for one agree with that argument.

> C-w is easy to type, as is <delete>.

It is of course not about "easy to type".

> delete-select-mode is such an irritating distraction that it
> should only be enabled for those who really, truly want it.

I am glad you care. Of course for those who thinks it is disturbing it
should be turned off. But those are not the newcomers as far as I can

> Emacs is
> rare amongst editing software in that it imposes very few irritations on
> users in its default mode of operation.

You might have forgotten a negation somewhere. Emacs is well known for
beeing difficult for most beginners. And one reason is that it does
not follow usual defaults where it could have done so.

You may think this is a small problem, but I do not. Adding a lot of
small differences makes each one of them much harder for the beginner.

> No.  We do not want to send Emacs down the slippery slope towards lowest
> common denominator editors.  We want to encourage Emacs users to use
> Emacs efficiently, taking advantage of its many features.  What you are
> proposing would have the opposite effect.

We all care about efficiency. Where we differ is what we think is efficient.

> We've had this discussion often enough in the past.  Do we really have to
> go through these motions yet again?

As long as Emacs does not disappear and attracts some new users it
will pop up. I can see no way to avoid that.

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