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Re: Emacs learning curve

Subject: Re: Emacs learning curve
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2010 15:27:07 -0400

On Sat, 10 Jul 2010 10:36:46 +0000 Tom wrote:
> Eli Zaretskii <eliz <at> gnu.org> writes:
>> Doesn't the manual help discovering what Emacs can do?  Why do you
>> need to search the Internet when you have most of the stuff right
>> under your fingertips?

> Using established terminology would help here.

Which established terminology the _new_ stuff or the _old_ stuff that
the new stuff stands upon? See DLW email below.

> Is there a compelling reason to still use yank/kill, instead of 
> copy/cut/paste?

Yes, b/c it is an established standing convention for at least 30 yrs.
One that did much to establesh 'modern' GUI's Lisa/Nextstep/x11 etc.

> Why do we call the cursor the point? And so on.

See DLW email below.

> These relics of old terminology should be updated to the accepted modern
> variants to make the documentation is more accessible for emacs newbies.

I truly believe that w/re the manual, it would be exceedingly
beneficial if it did a better job indicating and celebrating the long
history of both Emacs and the various lisp dialects in general. I also
believe that where it does so already it could do better to avoid certain
outmoded political perspectives. Which is to say GNU won -- part of
being a good winner is knowing how to honor those defeated).

New and old Emacs users alike should be reminded from whence we
came. It should be a source of pride and a mark of prestige that Emacs
has endured the test of time.

Following from the file named: mit/extract/nzwei/info.zwei
as extracted from the archive at:
:SEE (URL `http://www.unlambda.com/lisp/mit.page')

It is worth noting that the comparison made below between Emacs and
Zwei is w/re to what were already circa Summer 1980 divergent
implementations of _established_ convention.

| Date: 19 JUL 1980 0411-EDT
| From: DLW at MIT-AI (Daniel L. Weinreb)
| Subject: Differences between ZWEI and EMACS
| There is a subtle difference between ZWEI and EMACS that many people
| probably don't know about: while EMACS has a "mark PDL", ZWEI has a
| "point PDL".  The EMACS mark is the same as the top of the mark PDL,
| but the ZWEI mark has nothing to do with the point PDL.  The reason for
| this was so that setting the mark for purposes of defining a region
| would not interfere with the saved buffer pointers on the PDL; that
| always bothered me in EMACS and I considered the ZWEI method an
| improvement.
| However, it is not fully compatible with EMACS.  One difference that
| may cause some users trouble is that certain commands which, in EMACS,
| set the mark, and thus push on the mark PDL, do not affect the ZWEI
| point PDL.  In particular, the "Yank" and "Insert Buffer" commands in
| ZWEI set the mark to the other end of the inserted region, but do not
| affect the point PDL.  In EMACS, you can get to the other side of
| the inserted text either by swapping point and mark (with c-X c-X)
| or by popping the mark PDL (c-Space or c-@); in ZWEI only the
| former works.
| Another difference between EMACS and ZWEI is that in ZWEI, the region
| either "exists" or "does not exist"; there is no such concept in EMACS.
| When the region exists, it is underlined; when it doesn't exist, the
| underlining goes away.  The main point of this is to keep the
| underlining from being visually distracting when the user is not
| concerned about the region.  It also keeps region-munging commands
| (such as Uppercase Region or Fill Region) from happening unexpectedly
| if your fingers slip.  Usually the region is created when you set the
| mark, and usually it goes away when you give any command that does
| something more complex than moving the point; the mouse can also create
| the region.  But even when the region does not exist, the mark is still
| there, albeit invisibly as in EMACS.  If you want to turn on the region
| without affecting the current position of mark, you can use c-X c-X,
| which is what some people usually use in EMACS to find out where the
| mark is.
| Also, in a few special cases, some commands that refer to the region
| will still work even if the region does not exist.  In particular, the
| Kill Region (c-W) command will work immediately following a yanking
| command (such as c-Y), so that you can kill what you just yanked if you
| don't like it.


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