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Re: Emacs learning curve

From: joakim
Subject: Re: Emacs learning curve
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 19:45:38 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Lennart Borgman <address@hidden> writes:

> On Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 6:54 PM, Alfred M. Szmidt <address@hidden> wrote:
>>   > What words you use won't hinder that.  You will always encounter
>>   > new definitions for words, if one goes about renaming everything
>>   > to what is currently popular it will only cause mass confusion.
>>   The words matter since it raises complexity to use unfamiliar words.
>> Recently I've started using Eclipse as part of my job, and it uses
>> several words whos definition I'm not familiar with; for example view,
>> perspective and workspace.  I've used Eclipse daily now for four
>> months, and the terminology still doesn't stick for me.  Does this
>> make Eclipse harder to use? Not at all.  Does it make it more complex?
>> Not really.  They are just words, with some meaning.
> You say it does not make it more complex to you. That is ok of course.
> It is how you experience it.
> But consider a person who have used Eclipse, is familiar with the
> words "view", "perspective" and "workspace". It that person want to
> try Emacs instead he might try a quick look at the documentation and
> there he searches for these words, since those happens to be important
> to him/her.
> Woldn't that be a bit harder if different words where used in Emacs
> for the same things?

You are arguing in general terms. I think arguing specifics might be
more fruitful.

For instance, lets assume Emacs will use the terms cut and paste instead
of killing/yanking, what will be the consequences?

- some new users might maybe start using Emacs
- all the emacs documentation would need to be changed
- the Emacs lisp api needs to be changed
- old code will break
- 3rd party code will break

As opposed to status quo:
- Some new users will wonder why cutting and pasting wont work like they
are used to. They might then RTFM and find out that Emacs does things
differently, but they can use CUA mode if they want to.

So, IMHO, this specific case will be a lot of pain for little gain.

OTOH, when we introduce a new concept in Emacs that is already well
known in other environments, like "tabs" we should call them tabs and
not pseudo-frames, or somesuch. 

BTW as an anecdote, I had no trouble learning my daughter to do a
specific task in Emacs. She uses the computer a lot, but only the mouse
for copy/paste, so using the Emacs bindings for the task in question was
in fact easier than she was used to.

Joakim Verona

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