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Re: German tutorial fix

From: Francesco Potorti`
Subject: Re: German tutorial fix
Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 13:59:04 +0200

   > I think that using C-f instead of the arrow key is very advanced usage.
   > It is only useful for very fast typists or people that routinely use all
   > sort of keyboards and setups, so they cannot rely on arrows.
   That's silly.  C-f &c are much better for _anyone_ who can touch-type,
   because the (usually very long) reach for the arrow keys causes a lot of

I teached computer usage more than once to complete beginners and once
to intermediate users.  People understand quickly how to use the cursor
keys.  The mouse is very intuitive, but it needs precision of movement,
so some beginners prefer not to use it.  Any other key combination is
simply out of question.

Those were courses about Windows systems, so I tried to insist on using
at least the copy, cut, paste and undo commands (which on Windows
systems are conveniently bound to C-c, C-x, C-v and C-z, same as on the
Macintosh, where C stands for Command rather than Control).  Those four
commands are easy to remember and very useful.  Yet, users typically
prefer alternative ways for invoking them, using standard or contextual
menus, because they have difficulty memorizing the key bindings.

Even people at the intermediate course did not use key combinations very
much.  Key combinations, in the world outside of Emacs, are typically
seen as hard to remember, hacker-style things.

All the students that I happen to help with Emacs never ever think about
using anything other than the keys to move around.  Why should they
bother, when it is obvious what the arrow keys do?  All they usually
memorize is maybe ten different keybindings, they use the mouse and the
menus for the rest, like they do for almost any other program in the
world.  If this is the memory effort they are willing to concede to
Emacs, it makes no sense to memorize key bindings for a basic feature
that they know how to perform with the arrows or the mouse.

I know and use daily around one hundred different key bindings for
Emacs, I never use the menus and very rarely the mouse.  Obviously,
among all people I know personally (many of them programmers), I am the
Emacs wizard.  Yet, I never use the Ctrl keys for moving the cursor,
unless I am in a situation where the arrow keys do not work well
(terminal emulators and similar things).

I am really convinced that spending words in the tutorial about how one
can move the cursor is a bad idea.  The C-f, C-b, C-n, C-p key bindings
should not even be mentioned.  The normal way of scrolling up and down
should be using the PagUp and PagDn keys.  However, since too often
keyboards are only halfway set up, the C-v and M-v commands should be

By the way, I seldom use C-v and M-v, I prefer the PagUp and PagDn keys.
Same as for the arrows, the reason is simple.  While I spend most of my
time in Emacs, I use a lot of other programs.  All of them deal with
arrows and scrolling keys in the same way.  I do not want to pollute my
inconscious finger intelligence with other key combination, I want my
fingers to move by themselves, just bringing the cursor where I want,
and doing the same for every program I use.

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