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Re: Efforts to attract more users?

From: joakim
Subject: Re: Efforts to attract more users?
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2010 09:44:34 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Ken Hori <address@hidden> writes:

> I'm not sure if Emacs is attracting new users the way it used to be.
> Certainly search volume has been going downhill for more than several years
> (http://www.google.com/trends?q=emacs), and yet I don't hear this issue being
> addressed here strongly enough.  I hate to ask pedestrian sort of a question
> like this, but are there any efforts specifically to attract more users?
> Thanks.

I dont know of any organized effort.

I do try to attract people to Emacs and free software myself.

I mostly work with developers that use a windoze desktop, Eclipse, and
some secondary simpler editor. In recent years getting people interested
in Emacs has been difficult, I can only recall about one or two people I
helped getting started with Emacs the last 3 years.

I also try to help improve technical things developers used to an IDE
find lacking in Emacs. CEDET being included in Emacs was a step in the
right direction.

I think Emacs has a lot of potential to attract new users, especially if
we put more effort into polishing some user interface aspects.

For instance I have observed the following usage pattern with developers
using Eclipse:

"Hmm, I want to diff a file in my project. I don't want to read a boring
manual. Lets fiddle around in the menus until I find a suitable Wizard
that does it for me"

Emacs could quite possibly do the same thing better than Eclipse, but
the same developer trying the same approach in Emacs would probably get

I would like to emphasize that I don't think Emacs should do things the
same way Eclipse does them, we need to find Emacsy ways. Perhaps by
improving the Emacs documentation so it is a more obvious entry point
rather than clicking about in menus. Perhaps the info documentation
could be enhanced so it works more like the web, with improved search
facilities, support for Wizards in the info documentation, etc.

Joakim Verona

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