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Re: Customizing the mode line

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: Customizing the mode line
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 20:13:52 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.50 (gnu/linux)

> The major and minor mode indicators are important.  For instance, there
> must be a visible indicator of whether overwrite mode is on, because if
> you toggle it frequently, you may forget whether it's currently on.

Agreed, which is also why I'd rather shorten them down to maybe even
a single char rather than eliminate them altogether.

> The gnus and rmail mode line formats definitely need to be improved, I
> agree.

Don't know about Rmail, but at least Gnus mode-lines haven't been
problematic for me.  The worst seems to be for message-mode, where the
buffer name tends to be long and the mode part says "(Message SC MML Fly
Abbrev Fill Narrow)": of those, "MML" should simply be removed because
it's not a major mode one should even be able to turn off (i.e. although
it's been implemented as a separate module, to the user, it's just an
integral part of message-mode), and Narrow should be eliminated by not
using narrowing (the narrowing is only used to hide a few headers,
namely (in my experience) "X-Draft-From:" and "References:").

> By the way, since we're complaining about the mode-line: I find the
> sequence of "----" characters at the end of the mode-line hideous.  I
> wouldn't object to removing them for graphical displays (they're
> probably necessary for terminal displays).

They are clearly needed for text terminals that don't support inverse
video, and may be occasionally vaguely useful even for text terminals
that do support inverse video, but for GUI terminals, they're just
a nuisance.


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