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Re: Enabling Transient Mark Mode by default

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Enabling Transient Mark Mode by default
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 10:57:51 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Jason Earl <address@hidden> writes:

> David Kastrup <address@hidden> writes:
>> Sorry, but you miss the fact that the highlighted region is _active_
>> whereas the non-highlighted region is _inactive_.  And _active_ region
>> changes the meaning of lots of commands, making them operate on the
>> region instead of their normal range.  An _inactive_ region defined
>> with mark and point does not have such an effect.  It merely sets mark
>> somewhere but assigns no special meaning to the region.  Only commands
>> explicitly working on the region between mark and point are ever
>> affected.
> Even an inactive region has meaning (C-w proves it).

What about "Only commands explicitly working on the region between mark
and point are ever affected" did you not understand?

>> So transient-mark-mode does something quite different from merely
>> highlighting the region.  It changes its meaning.
> Yes, it changes the meaning in a way that even people that don't like
> transient-mark-mode seem to like.

Let's not forget that "temporary transient mark mode" is new with Emacs
22, and that many people preferred not having an active region at all
(the default Emacs setting) than getting it forcefed by
transient-mark-mode (which pretty much knows nothing except active

> That's why commands behave differently with active regions.  Or are
> you suggesting this feature should go away?

I am suggesting that having a usable mark should not imply an active
region.  But that is more or less the premise of transient-mark-mode.

> A new user that highlights a region using transient-mark-mode and then
> does M-x query-replace to replace some text isn't going to be
> surprised that only text in the highlighted region is affected.

That implies that "highlights a region" is an explicit and voluntary
act.  Which it is when using the mouse or other means of temporary
transient-mark mode (and temporary transient-mark mode is really a life
saver: giving the possibilities of transient-mark mode without pressing
it on you when you don't explicitly want it but are merely working with
the mark).

> Or if they are surprised they are likely to be excited by the fact
> that they can search and replace in a subset of a file easily.  After
> all, you can always make the region inactive and run the command
> again.

But temporary tmm-mode buys you all that.

> The real tragedy is that, without transient-mark-mode, new users won't
> even know that they can run commands on a region of the text because
> they won't learn about making a region active unless they stumble
> accross the part of the manual that talks about The Mark and the
> Region.

Huh?  New users will mark regions with the mouse, and that triggers
temporary transient mark mode just fine.  Are you sure you even _know_
the situation with Emacs 22?  Or is your experience without a permanent
tmm-mode dating from pre-Emacs 22?

David Kastrup

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