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bug#8492: 23.3; Time to use a different binding for completion?

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: bug#8492: 23.3; Time to use a different binding for completion?
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 12:54:56 +0100

On 19 April 2011 11:52, Andrew W. Nosenko <address@hidden> wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 20:26, Reuben Thomas <address@hidden> wrote:
>> Emacs binds various completion functions to M-Tab, which is already used
>> by many window managers, including Compiz and Metacity, i.e. the WMs one
>> is likely to use on a modern GNU system, for switching between open
>> windows.
> Unable to say anything about Compiz, but Metacity binds nothing to
> M-Tab (moreover, it binds nothing to Meta-combinations at all).  For
> switching between windows it uses Alt-Tab.

I'm sorry, I was imprecise.

> Another problem is that in many Linux distros Meta and Alt bound the
> same physical key by default.  But they may be easy splited using
> keyboard preferences.

This is the problem: unusable defaults. I'm asking if we can have a
usable default setting.

One could argue that it should be X's defaults that are fixed, but
that seems rather less likely to happen. So it seems there are three

0. Do nothing, arguing that users can always configure things so they
work. That would be a pity, as for every user who has the knowledge
and patience (remember also advanced users who want to use Emacs on a
new account on a new machine), there will be several who just give up,
so that either they don't use Emacs, or they find it less powerful
than it is.

1. Convince X packagers to bind Meta and Alt to different keys. That's
a hard sell, though the purist in me does agree that window-manager
operations should not use a key that is commonly used for application
shortcuts. (In the past I've made my WM use the Windows key for its
bindings, which seems rather more logical, but that's a change which
is not going to stick as a default.)

2. Add a default binding for completion that works with Meta & Alt on
the same key. (No need to remove the existing binding.) The problems
with simply using Tab have already been expounded, though that's a
nice option to have (especially if you're not a Python programmer!).


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