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Re: Terminology in multi-tty primitives

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Terminology in multi-tty primitives
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2008 14:31:54 +0900

Richard M Stallman writes:

 >     I used to agree with you, but The Kids These Days (ie, those who have
 >     grown up with WIMPy interfaces) think of a window as a (foreground)
 >     process.  If the window goes away, the process stops.
 > But that is generally false.  For instance, if you iconify a
 > terminal, the processes running in it do not stop.

Sure.  But that's machine-centric thinking.  Here, we're discussing
the user interface.  From the user's point of view, the *user
interaction process* stops, and that is generally all the user cares
about when suspending a process: "Get out of my face so I can do
something else I want to do!!!"  If the process wants to do some
background work, how often would the user object?

I don't care what the interface is called.  But my feeling is that the
primary UI operation here is "withdrawing a frame", and that whether
the process gets STOPed or not is an implementation detail.  For
example, in a terminal-based emacs you could (in theory) do

M-x long-running-process RET
bg %emacs
# do other work
fg %emacs

to the same effect as iconifying a GUI window.  In fact, a little
magic with keyboard macros and timers or subprocesses could presumably
allow us to write `execute-key-sequence-and-background-emacs', which
GUI-habituated users might prefer to bind to C-z for use in a
terminal-based environment.  (Don't take that entirely seriously, I
haven't thought it through.)

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