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

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: Putting blink-cursor-mode in Options menu.
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2005 13:32:58 +0000 (UTC)

Jason Rumney <address@hidden> wrote

    I don't see how a video capture program could be considered a
    model for how a text editor should work. 

Emacs is much more than a text editor.  It is an integrated
environment, one of four kinds of user interface that are in common

It is wrong to measure a subset of Emacs against the full expression
of a smaller program.  (My use of a video capture program was to stand
in as an example of a program in another kind of user interface but
not an xterm, which is well known.  In none of my X interfaces, either
as this user or as another, looking at twelve screens, does the cursor

I know Emacs' history, how it evolved out of TECO, and that RMS
metaphorically extended the meaning of `edit' to mean `copy files' or
`delete files'.  RMS views everything informational as bits to be

But Emacs' history and Richard's expansion of the language are
misleading to many of us.  Like Raman's audio interface, a command
line interface, or a graphic user interface, Emacs provides an
integrating service.

Put another way, a shell is an integrator.  You can run programs, such
as ls or grep, that can be piped.

Similarly, Emacs is an integrator.  It pulls pulls together many
libraries, including an editor.  

It is true that many people who use the shell do not see it as an
integrator with programs being `filters'.  Indeed, you can see this in
the expansion of VI over the last couple of decades.  VI has come to
take on more and more of the shell integrating capabilities.

The same has happened with Emacs, but rather than run away from the
notion of filters in a command line, humans have run towards the
notion of editing in an environment that encourages all kinds of
changes.  They have come closer to the view that all information
consists of bits that may be changed.

For example, rather than view changing file ownership as different
from changing a word in a line of text, the Emacs' notion is that a
file's ownership is a feature to be edited.  From the point of view of
some programmers, the acts are technically different.  But in Emacs
they have been integrated under one human notion.

    Robert J. Chassell                         
    address@hidden                         GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8
    http://www.rattlesnake.com                  http://www.teak.cc

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