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Re: Will default key bindings spell the death of Emacs?

From: Lars Hansen
Subject: Re: Will default key bindings spell the death of Emacs?
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 22:57:06 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win 9x 4.90; en-US; rv:1.3) Gecko/20030312

I think this is a very important discussion.
I believe that Emacs key bindings are effectively preventing 99% or more
of Windows programmers and other younger programmers from ever using

I think you greatly exaggerate the difficulty of adapting to Emacs
key bindings.
Users should not adopt to Emacs. Emacs should adopt to users!

Emacs is said to be customizable, and
key bindings is the first thing users
want to customize. But key bindings are much to hard to change! When I started
using Emacs some years ago, I spend several weeks trying to figure out how to
bind the most basic operations to the keys I wanted. In particular I wanted
ESC to do keyboard-escape-quit and C-z, C-x, C-c, C-v to do what they do on
MS Windows. That ought not to be difficult at all, it should be a piece of
cake, especially to new users! So we do indeed have a problem!
I propose a toggle that sets emacs and all its IDEs into "Windows

While this might be a good idea, I think we need to change only a
small set of bindings frequently used by Windows users.  Otherwise,
almost all of Emacs bindings will need to be changed, and most of the
user manual will instantly become invalid where it describes key
Yes, it is a large task to implement a possibility to completely change
keymappings of Emacs, but never the less, IMHO
it is the right thing to do.
And it could be done in small steps if we lay out a strategy.
Do any of you share these views?  Why, or why not.  Who else cares about
this issue and what can we do to bring about this important change?

AFAIK, many (most?) Emacs users (certainly its developers) want Emacs
to work the same on all supported platforms.  
I work on MS Windows as well as on two Unix-like systems, and I am very
pleased with the uniformity in user interface I get from protable applications
like Emacs. But to me it is not enough that the interface is the same. It should
also be one that suits me. And the default Emacs key bindings do not. They
seem to be selected from the idea that all operations should have their own key
binding simultainously! The result are long and complicated keystrokes.

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