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Re: Introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: Introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 13:55:21 +0000 (UTC)

    For your next revision, it would be nice to add a short section
    on advice.

No.  When readers make worth while additions they should go into the
GNU Emacs sources.

Only great programmers can start a new thread, as you did.  Most
programmers are not great, nor are the expressions they write.

As     (elisp)Advising Functions     says

    Advising a function can cause confusion in debugging
    ... if you have the possibility ... run a hook ...

    ... a file in Emacs should not put advice on a function ...

Over the next decade or two, I expect that more and more otherwise
sighted people will want to listen to their email and the like.  They
will be using mobile telephones or driving their cars.  (Certainly,
the rest of us do not want a car driver to look at a computer screen;
we want him to keep his eyes on the road!)  

Over time, a large number of people will see themselves as
`situationally blind' and see that a solution is to listen.  Text to
speech synthesizers were developed for the permanently blind but they
work as well for the situationally blind.

It makes sense that `all core Emacs functionality ... speak
intelligently' as you wrote in `emacspeak/lisp/emacspeak-advice.el'.
After all, speech is another output format.  And while the interface
is somewhat like an Emacs for the sighted, but without a windowing
system, it is also truly different, as you say.

I wish Emacspeak were within the GNU Emacs sources.  Then sighted
developers would remember it as they do the current output formats,
the virtual consoles without different textual faces and the windowing
systems with.  Moreover, even the sighted who do not know about
Emacspeak could learn of it and find it installed.

It could be called inside Emacs as a speech mode, as an emacspeak
mode, or called outside Emacs, that is to say, started, as a program.

But I doubt it is possible to incorporate Emacspeak into GNU Emacs.
For one, GNU Emacs is not released frequently, so for most people
Emacspeak would not get updated.  My brother-in-law, for example, is
using GNU Emacs 21, which was released in 2001.  (It would make sense
to release more frequently a program named Emacspeak that has the
appropriate GNU Emacs in it ...)

Also, I fear too many functions were written with advice and won't be

In addition, you may not have kept proper legal papers for Emacspeak.
I don't know.  Without them, it would be easy for enemies of free
software to threaten obvious costs and thereby hinder distribution
among corporations in countries with strong court systems.  GNU Emacs
and RMS are sufficiently visible that this could happen.  Other
distributions are less visible, so no one cares -- a case of "security
through obscurity" succeeding with humans.  A lack of proper legal
papers might prevent re-written Emacspeak files from entering GNU
Emacs sources.

So, I suspect this is an example of the good, Emacspeak and GNU Emacs
being separate, being an enemy of the better, namely Emacspeak being
incorporated formally into GNU Emacs.

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

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