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Re: emacs modernization, 2012

From: Xah Lee
Subject: Re: emacs modernization, 2012
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:34:00 -0000
User-agent: G2/1.0

Richard Kettlewell address@hidden wrote:
 «Current Emacs on OSX supports ⌘C, ⌘V, etc anyway.»

yes. But it's not standard in GNU Emacs.

it doesn't solve the problem.

This has been addressed in FAQ. Thank you for your input though.

〈The Modernization of Emacs (Simple Changes Emacs Should Adopt)〉


Q: Aquamacs already has the modernization you speak of.

Aquamacs is a emacs variant based on GNU Emacs, for Apple's Macintosh
computers, created in about 2004 by David Reitter. Aquamacs modifies
emacs so that its user interface follows modern (Mac OS X)
conventions. For example, copy/cut/paste shortcuts are 【⌘ Cmd+c/x/v】
Open file is 【⌘ Cmd+o】, saving is 【⌘ Cmd+s】, save-as is 【⌘ Cmd+Shift
+s】. Close window is 【⌘ Cmd+w】. Undo is 【⌘ Cmd+z】, and there is a redo
command by default, with shortcut 【⌘ Cmd+Shift+z】. It opens each file/
buffer in a new window. By following a modern user interface, almost
all points mentioned in this article are fixed in Aquamacs. For more
info, see: Wikipedia Aquamacs and Aquamac's home page at:

As a emacs variant, it does help in spreading the idea that emacs user
interface should be modernized. However, a third-party variant
software does not change the fact that GNU emacs itself needs to be

For example, suppose Microsoft Word remained with its DOS era
interface, for example, file is opened with Esc (to open the menus), t
(for Transfer), l (for Load). Suppose Microsoft hired a third party to
release a variant called MS AquaWord. This would not help Microsoft
Word the software itself or its image perceived by the populace, and
is likely to complicate the issue around Microsoft Word.

Also, Aquamacs changes emacs to conform to Apple's user interface
guidelines as much as possible. For example, besides changing the many
shortcuts, Aquamacs open each file in a new window (i.e. what emacs
calls frame). So, dired is opened in its own window. “shell-command”
is opened in a new window. Emacs info files 【Ctrl+h i】 is opened in a
new window. Using the menu 〖Help▸Aquamacs Help〗 launches Apple's help

Aquamacs makes emacs palpable for Mac users, but in many ways,
Aquamacs imposes a major change of operation for people already
familiar with emacs. Its modernization of emacs, has priority with
Mac's way of operation than emacs way.

Aquamacs is only a Mac application. Its user interface changes, is not
wholly compatible with Microsoft Windows's user interface guidelines
in minor details. (For exmaple, shortcut modifiers are different (Ctrl
vs ⌘ Cmd), some shortcut keys differ, the ways to invoke menus
differ.) Some 90% of computer users world wide are familiar with
Window's user interface and are using PC keyboards. If we consider
improving emacs's user interface, then it is important to consider the
familarity of computer users by majority.

In summary, when we consider modernization, we could create a version
for Mac, a version for Windows, each follows as much as possible of
each operating system's user interface guidelines. Alternatively, we
can consider modernization based on emacs's unique ways of operation
(as opposed changing emacs to comform to a particular company's UI
standard that are currently most popular).


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