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Re: Options menu

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Options menu
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 17:26:02 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

> I don't want to rethink the Emacs menu bar now.
> It would be a big argument.  Let's not have the argument.
> People, when someone starts a discussion about a substantial change
> in Emacs, please don't argue about the details.  If you disagree
> with the idea, please just say that this is the wrong time to
> consider such a change.

Oh, but it isn't really a substantial change.  It is getting the
details right that we are quibbling about.  And in the course of that
several things have come to light.  Basically, we have the following:

a) The layout of menu bar and Options menu has _not_ significantly
changed since 21.1, so any restructuring that is not a significant
improvement will tend to make people notice/complain/whatever.

b) one of the few additions we have is the "Hide/Show" menu.  It
appears that similar functionality is available in other applications
as a top-level menu "View".  There has pretty much consent on the list
that this does not seem to be a good option for Emacs (and it
certainly would be a large change).

It has been proposed to rather name this menu "Appearance" since
Hide/Show in an editor is more or less connotated with folding.
Naming it "View" to match the top-level name of other applications for
this item does not seem to be a good idea: since it is a submenu, it
would be unlike to other applications, anyway, and the name "View"
seems to be chosen more for its brevity than its accuracy.

c) The option blink-cursor-mode has been put into the top level of the
Options menu at the wish of people that say that it is too painful for
them to dig through the menus to turn this off.  But in the mean-time,
we have gained an appropriate command line option (mentioned in the
manual page), so this should not be an issue.  Logically, it would
appear to fit with what currently is in "Hide/Show", though it fits
the wording of the menu even less.  At its current place in the
Options menu, it appears rather out of context.

So as the "minimal" solution as compared to the last release, I would
a) naming the current "Hide/Show" (which has not yet been released
under this name) into "Appearance".
b) move the blink-cursor-mode option there, even in case that people
would not want to have "Appearance" rather than "Hide/Show".

That's pretty much the minimal version of rearrangement with regard to
the current state that has, I think, more or less met approval.  It
does not concern _anything_ that has already been released in 21.4.

If nobody objects in the next day or so, I volunteer to install these
two changes including checking the documentation for accuracy.  I
think we have said more or less all that needs to be said.  If I am
wrong in assuming that nobody would object, we can still hold a vote
instead of further discussion.

Ok, I hope I am not wrong in my estimate that we can settle this in
this manner at the current point of time, without causing too much
anguish or bad feelings.

And now for something completely different.  Please don't consider the
following a part of the above proposal: I would not want to ram it
down people's throats without having had a chance to think about it:

Since I have stared now at the current menus for 21.4 and 22.x for
longer than probably ever previously, I would like to mention one
other thing that has struck me as standing out negatively, and this
_would_ be a change with regard to 21.4: I'd swap the order of the
"Save Options" and "Customize Emacs" menu entries to make "Save
Options" be the last entry in the menu: that's where people look for

I am also not happy about the "Customize Emacs" menu name: it implies
that selecting options in the Options menu would be different from
customizing Emacs.  I'd prefer to have this menu called "All Options"
or so, saving the "Customize" moniker for the tooltip.  This would be
in line with already made changes to things like
"global-font-lock-mode" which we now present as "Syntax Highlighting".

Please don't spend much time arguing these two points.  The first
point only warrants an "Agree" "Don't agree", and then we can just go
by majority, and the situation for the second one basically is the
same.  Since both of these suggestions would be a change with regard
to 21.4, if there is any contention about them (except maybe for
better proposals for the "All Options" menu), we should rather drop
them instead of wasting time discussing them, if the advantages are
not seen as clearcut as I imagine.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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