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Re: Emacs learning curve

From: christian.lynbech
Subject: Re: Emacs learning curve
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 09:56:04 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.110011 (No Gnus v0.11) Emacs/23.2.50 (gnu/linux)

I disagree that Emacs is actively trying to work against certain classes
of users, as you seem to suggest.

Obviously, Emacs has varying degrees of support for different
programming languages. Somebody has to provide such support, it does not
materialise out of the blue, and as with most free software support
follows the interest of the developers.

If C# is poorly supported, it simply means that very few dedicated emacs
hackers has had the need/motivation/time to provide it. In contrast,
Emacs offers some of the best Common Lisp support anywhere, complete
with cross-referencing, documentation access, completion and minibuffer
argument hints.

And also when it comes to backwards compability, Emacs is no different
than so many other tools. As the story goes, the inventors of `make'
quickly realised that using a whitespace character as command indicator
was a poor choice but they dared not change it as the tool already had
something like 10 users! 

Of course seasoned users will protest if features ingrained in Emacs
past decades are suggested altered, such is the nature of any user of
any tool. Just listen to the debates over the ribbon in Microsoft Office
or when Facebook redesigns its interface. 

It is then up to the current maintainers to decide whether or not to
listen, and as allways there will be a bias to cater to an existing
audience rather than sway to whatever illusive potential attraction this
or that change will provide.

Like almost any other kind of software, Emacs has not got infinite
amount of resources and thus must pick its battles carefully and there
will always be people who will find their particular needs ill-served.
Even if such a group may be really big in a global perspective (like C#
users) they still represent a dwindling population among those that have
the means to move Emacs in that direction.

Christian Lynbech       | christian #\@ defun #\. dk
Hit the philistines three times over the head with the Elisp reference manual.
                                        - address@hidden (Michael A. Petonic)

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