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Re: Putting blink-cursor-mode in Options menu.

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Putting blink-cursor-mode in Options menu.
Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2005 20:27:57 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Luc Teirlinck <address@hidden> writes:

> David Kastrup wrote:
>    Because it is a visual feature that you want to see or not.
> So are "Syntax Highlighting", "Active Region Highlighting" and
> "Paren Match Highlighting".

But they are affecting your manner of working, not your comfort level.

>    Then perhaps we should rename the menu.  It definitely does not
>    "hide" things, since a scrollbar or toolbar or speedbar or
>    similar does not get hidden, but removed or switched off.
> After you remove them, you can not see them anymore, which people may
> think of as "hidden", even though this is technically speaking not the
> way things are implemented.  On the other hand, you definitely can
> still see the cursor, whether it blinks or not.
> Nitpickingly correct would be:
> Show/ Do Not Show,

I already proposed "Appearance".

> but "Hidden" is the name most other applications seem to use, even
> though they too just "remove" stuff instead of "hiding" it.
>    Personally, if settings render Emacs unusable (like you claim)
>    for some audience, then these settings must be changeable from
>    the command line with the man page saying so.
> Having to study a man page before even being able to casually and
> comfortably try out an application does usually not encourage people
> to try out that application.

People that go into connuptions over a blinking cursor can't casually
try out anything.

>    That is the only safe way people will have a chance to arrive at
>    a working Emacs without suffering a heart attack or epilepsy or
>    blindness or whatever beforehand.
> I said that it produced discomfort.  I did not claim that it was a
> health hazard.
>    This is not something that can easily be "solved", we can at best
>    make a poll.  A poll among users would be most relevant, and if
>    we don't have that, a poll on developers.
> This is unbelievable.  We are talking about adding an option to a
> menu, not about changing a default.

We are talking about making Emacs a good recommendation.  And part of
that is making the menus a useful well-organized place to visit.

If you say that a blinking cursor of the Emacs size gives you
discomfort, then I can report that we had a similar problem with
preview-latex in Emacs-21.x when it blinked on images.  Having
something the size of your screen flash on you is not funny.

I think that the basic visibility would also be ensured if the cursor
was a hollow box cursor.  It is still more conspicuous than the
"usual" blinking line cursor that is common with other editors, and I
think I could work with it as a default.

"Hide/Show" is something more appropriate for things like outline
mode, I'd say.  "Appearance" would be a reasonably good name, and the
cursor type belongs in there.  If a blinking box is intolerable to a
nontrivial number of users (and I have seen no evidence for it up to
now) I'd be fine with using a blinking hollow box instead _as_
_default_.  People who don't like the default will then be able to
survive long enough to use the "Appearance" menu for changing it.

So I'd ask people (including Luc) to try out
(setq cursor-type 'hollow)
and check whether they could get friendly with that.  It is a pity
that this is not a customizable option, you need setq-default for it.
Probably it would be easier to do this by Xdefaults, but I am too lazy
to look it up.

That would make the cursor consistent with what we currently use for
images, as well.

I definitely think that customizing the cursor belongs in a submenu
together with scrollbars and similar folderol (and probably inverse
video, too).  And if the only way to put it there without endangering
accessibility is to change the default to a less brutal cursor, then I
think it much more reasonable to reconsider the default rather than
make it a rather unmotivated top-level option.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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