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RE: Tentative diagnosis of TMM's problem. [Re: Enabling TransientMark Mo

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Tentative diagnosis of TMM's problem. [Re: Enabling TransientMark Mode by default]
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 17:44:41 -0800

> > Question: Is it important that the region stay active when 
> > you move point? If not, then perhaps (in t-m mode) we
> > should always have point movement deactivate the region.
> Yes, in fact it's a basic tenent of tmm usage...  People that are used
> to tmm would be _extremely_ inconvenienced if movement deactivated the
> mark.
> Remember:  tmm is not cua-selection-mode.

Oh, I know it's not cua-selection-mode, believe me. And I'm one of those
regular tmm users. And I don't think I would mind such a change. 

But see my follow-up message. Instead of deactivating the region for point
movements (I misspoke, in fact), I clarified (changed) my suggestion to
simply not let C-SPC activate the region.

The active region would still act as usual, and so would the inactive

Those who use Emacs now without tmm mode would either continue without it or
they might even like to try it. If they tried it, they could still use the
region without it being activated. (I'm assuming non-nil
`mark-even-if-inactive', by default.)

Those, like me, who use tmm mode now would, I think, not miss the automatic
region activation of C-SPC. I, at least, wouldn't mind doing C-x C-x
(possibly twice) when I really needed the region to be active.

Newbies would find something pretty familiar, even if in a slightly
different form. Mouse selection would of course be pretty familiar to them.
And they would eventually learn that they can activate (and make visible)
the existing (invisible) region, for times when they don't want to use the

Commands and contexts that need to differentiate between active and inactive
region would still apply to the same use cases. I don't think plain C-SPC
plus cursor movement today is such a case - for either camp of users. 

For those who don't use tmm, today's highlighting in that context is
annoying. And I suspect that those who do use tmm don't take advantage of
the fact that the region is active in that C-SPC-move-the-cursor context -
even if they don't mind the highlighting. And even if they do take advantage
of that, I suspect they wouldn't mind the low price of `C-x C-x' to activate
the region. (But someone will set me straight, no doubt. ;-))

IOW, with my suggestion, the active region and its highlighting would be
used only for contexts that, well, actually distinguish an active region
from an inactive one. All other uses of the region and the mark would make
use of an inactive region. When you really need the region to be active, you
would need to activate it - no big deal. I use tmm (and
delete-selection-mode), and I could live with that. 

As someone pointed out, when you need an active region you typically want to
operate on a fairly big region. It's not as if you would be needing to
activate the region each time you marked a word or a sexp, in order to
operate on that region. Most operations can act on the region whether or not
it is active. For those operations that require an active region (e.g. to
distinguish from operating on the whole buffer), one or two `C-x C-x' is a
small price to pay for getting rid of today's pervasive (and gratuitous) tmm
highlighting from C-SPC activating the region.

But, as I also said, I personally have no problem with the status quo wrt
tmm and highlighting.

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