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Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-dat

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: The minibuffer vs. Dialog Boxes (Re: Making XEmacs be more up-to-date)
Date: 22 Apr 2002 12:49:20 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) XEmacs/21.4 (Common Lisp)

>>>>> "Terje" == Terje Bless <address@hidden> writes:

    Terje> Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> wrote:

    >> If you refuse to learn,

Many of the XEmacs developers who sympathize far more with you than he
does (or, to be honest, me) are being silent for various reasons.  So
don't take Eli's position as completely representative.  (And Eli isn't
an XEmacs developer, but I can't say how representative he is of the
emacs-devel crowd---note the cross-post.)

Note that in many cases at XEmacs all it takes is one supporter in the
core to get ideas implemented, too.  Even if Hrvoje and I publically
oppose suggestions, if Andy or Ben picks one up and decides to run
with it (== write code), it very likely gets in.

    Terje> I'm just suggesting that one way to achieve your stated
    Terje> goal of bringing XEmacs to a wider audience is by lowering
    Terje> the price of admission.

Right; I don't think anybody has missed that point.  But one of the
problems is that without more concrete suggestions it's hard to see
how this could be done.  It won't come for free; at the very minimum,
some of the doc writers and editors will have to change perspective, a
perspective which has historically been useful to the community.

And it may be that other compromises need to be made.  So please be
patient with us, too:  while we (as a group) may be far more expert
than you on internals and advanced usage, few of us have thought very
carefully about the kind of issues the changes you propose would

Examples help.

    Terje> Ok. I'll try to come up with some specific suggestions and
    Terje> post them to xemacs-beta.

Please post them here, to xemacs-design, if they are intended as
examples of general fixes that should be made "in similar places where
appropriate".  If they are really bug reports, where a local fix would
be fine, then post to xemacs-beta.  At GNU Emacs, I guess the
appropriate channel is emacs-devel, check with Eli.

    Terje> I've deliberately avoided getting into specifics because
    Terje> quite frankly I'm not _qualified_ to speak to them.

But for the reasons mentioned above, nobody else is any more

For example, consider Brady Montz's suggestion about adding xrefs to
sort-* to the sort-lines docstring.  While I oppose that particular
suggestion, it did lead to the constructive alternative of suggesting
the use of the idioms C-h a and C-h C-f in this context.  (And I could
change my mind, that was just my first take.)  Note how that focuses
the discussion far better than his original comment where he said
"there are too few cross-references" and I misinterpreted that as
"Brady rarely sees cross-references".

Nothing wrong with what he wrote in the first case, either.  Nor was
my interpretation implausible.  These issues are inherently hard to
tease out.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
              Don't ask how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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