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Using several frames on TTYs, switching them, terminology: [Is also: Tab

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Using several frames on TTYs, switching them, terminology: [Is also: Tabbed buffers]
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 19:55:38 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

'Evening, Richard and Stefan!

On Sat, Jan 26, 2008 at 07:45:31PM -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:

>     For what it's worth, I think that if we introduce this notion of
>     tab, we should change ttys to use tabs rather than frames since
>     tty frames behave much more like tabs.  Of course multiple ttys
>     would each get its own frame.

Er, what does a C-i look like on a TTY?  Why are we using this word
"tab" to denote something other than the <tab> key or ASCII 0x09?
Haven't we got enough confusion already with "windows" (emacs) and
"windows" (X) aka "frames"?

I'm not that familiar with the concept of "tabs", but I guess the word
came by analogy from the ~1 inch wide bit of card protruding from the
top of a cardboard index card.  Such would not be displayed on a TTY (or
would it?), so the term "tab" would be doubly unfortunate.

Again, why the word "tab"?  The display stratagem seems redundant -
we've already got frames and windows - so, would it not be a better idea
to have @def{frame sets}, a collection of frames displayed in the same
place, any one of which can be selected by its tab?  Perhaps we could
call this a "glazing" instead, analogous to "double glazing" and "triple
glazing".  This more appropriate word would fit TTYs better.  :-)

Seriously, though, aren't GUI screens cluttered enough already, without
introducing yet another space-taker-upper, even if it could be switched
off?  (Don't forget the ruckus that the unswitchoffable fringe caused
when Emacs 21 was released in 2001.)

> Tabs should be supported on ttys, but we should not get rid of the
> current frame support on ttys.  The main reason we have frames on ttys
> is to reduce the difference between handling of ttys and handling of
> graphics displays.  People normally don't use multiple frames on ttys,

Says who?  I very rarely have fewer than 4 or 5 frames open in my TTY

Actually, you may be right.  The mechanism for switching frames (C-x 5
o, repeated ad nauseam till you finally reach the frame you're looking
for) is so broken as to be unusable, at least for me.  So most TTY users
probably don't bother.  I've solved the problem by making the function
key <F1> switch to frame F1, and so on, not being that bothered about
2-column, and so on.  Maybe the so-far unused bindings C-x <F1>, etc.,
could be used for these in a standard Emacs.

> and that is ok, people can continue not to use them.  But getting rid
> of them would just mean trouble.

Too damn right it would!  I'd start screaming!

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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