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Re: Emacs starter kit - disabled menus

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: Emacs starter kit - disabled menus
Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 20:01:36 -0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Stefan Monnier <address@hidden> writes:

>> I am not sure if this is the most efficient way to do it, but if you comment
>> out (one or two semicolons ;; ) the first three lines of Lisp code in the
>> init.el file, this will restore the menus, buttons and scrollbars.
> A simpler way might be to start with an empty .emacs file (no starter
> kit or any such thing), check the Options menu since it contains the
> most frequently asked configuration variables, and post questions in
> this newsgroup when you don't know how to do something.
+1 for this suggestion. 

The problem with the various "starter kits" is that you are at the mercy of 
elses vision of what emacs should be. This in itself is not necessarily
bad, except this other vision is likely to be less documented, have less
users familiar with it who can provide help and may change the
environment sufficiently to make the existing emacs documentation less
useful. Its not always obvious how well maintained this other vision
is or to what extent it is specific to a platform etc. 

Another disadvantage of using a canned configuration is that these
setups often go to a lot of trouble to make emacs just like other
editors people are familiar with. While I can understand why some like
this, it is likely to be misleading. If you have decided to try out
emacs, you likely want to see how it differs from other editing
environments. Initially configuring it to ge as generic as possible is
likely to defeat this objective. There are also a number of things emacs
does very differently to most other editors out there. These differences
can seem very weird or unintuitive initially because of what we have
become accustomed to. However, my experience has been that many of them
are actually improvements. Using a canned starter configuration often
modifies these things to be more familiar, so you don't get to
experience the alternative and will miss out on this different perspectie.

There is a learning curve with emacs and the best thing to do is learn
it early. Try to stick with the default configuration initially and only
customize those aspects you find the most difficult to live with. Then,
over time, start to tweak/customize your setup little by little. In
addition to allowing you to experience the way emacs does things, this
will also allow you to learn how to customize it in smaller steps. This
means you will understand how your customizations work and what they do.
When you run into errors, you will be in a better position to fix them.
Don't hesitate to come back to this forum when you run into difficulty.

Many people think emacs is the best editor out there, some have a
love/hate relationship with it and some just think it sucks. It doesn't
matter which group your in. However, it is better to assess emacs and
not be side tracked into assessing someone elses vision of what it could
be. At the end of the day, you can then make a call as to which group
you fall into and to what extent you want to continue using it.


tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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