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Re: user has no business toggling overwrite-mode in read-only buffers

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: user has no business toggling overwrite-mode in read-only buffers
Date: 20 Apr 2003 18:57:41 +0200
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2003 10:50:50 +0000
User-agent: tin/1.4.5-20010409 ("One More Nightmare") (UNIX) (Linux/2.0.35 (i686))

Dan Jacobson <jidanni@dman.ddts.net> wrote on Sun, 20 Apr 2003 03:47:01 +0800:
> In a new crackdown on excessive freedoms, prime minister Moi
> recommends toggling overwrite-mode be outlawed in read-only buffers.

> In an interview, he was quoted as saying "It just doesn't make sense.
> Why should we allow kids to toggle it back and fourth if they can't
> possibly use it?  They might get the wrong impression, that they can
> write stuff!  Only later will they find out the real deal."

Oh, come on, fascist Dan!  There are lots of good reasons (well, at least
two plausible ones) for wanting to change a ROB:

1. You have a source-file which is RO due to some version control system,
but you want to make a private (changed) copy on your own hard disk.  You
C-x C-q it, make the changes, then store it where you want with C-x C-w.

2. Something (something like dired, perhaps?), makes a listing of files
in a buffer, but leaves the buffer RO because "the user has no reason to
edit it".  Problem is, all the filenames start off like this:


at which point they disappear of the right hand edge of the window.
[Don't laugh.  My contract working on such a project has just expired.
It wasn't fun.]  Few things make me more angry than having continually to
scroll the screen sideways.  When such a directory listing is inflicted
upon me, I first do a little sweet effing and blinding, then make the
buffer writeable.  Then I edit each line, replacing the above prolix
garbage with "...", or whatever.  Then I can read this buffer.  Please
don't make my life any harder.

-- Alan Mackenzie (Munich, Germany)
Email: aacm@muuc.dee; to decode, wherever there is a repeated letter
(like "aa"), remove half of them (leaving, say, "a").

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