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Re: Emacs learning curve

From: Leo
Subject: Re: Emacs learning curve
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2010 09:55:40 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.2 (Mac OS X 10.6.4)

On 2010-07-23 20:12 +0100, Tom wrote:
> Óscar Fuentes <ofv <at> wanadoo.es> writes:
>> Of course it is very hard to show statistics for newbies. 
> I tried to collect some real world data on the reasons why
> newbies don't like Emacs, but the Stack Overflow admins closed
> the question quickly, because they were afraid of a flame war. :)
> (Though I didn't ask which tool was better.)
> Anyway, here it is, some answers had made through before the 
> question was closed:
> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3321392/for-what-reasons-you-dont-use-emacs

Long discussion in emacs-devel has a pattern of stupidity. The longer
the discussion, the more likely inaction is the best action.

The data on SO shows the major barrier is functionality, reliably
working and superior features are what make people come to Emacs and
sadly Emacs just has so many to catch up. To borrow what Carsten said in
his google tech talk:

  "Org-mode does not offer a finished and closed solution; instead,
  org-mode facilitates a learning and development process."

That kind of thinking will be beneficial to Emacs development. Don't
limit but facilitate what users can do with Emacs i.e. if they want to
implement a "firefox" (hinting the failure of w3) for Emacs in elisp,
make it possible. Then, you will have many more people developing cool
apps for Emacs.

The recent proposal to use CUA and the like keys is just absurd. It
treats everybody like idiots, newbies and current Emacs users. There is
absolutely no evidence that all newbies want or are bothered by the 2 or
3 keys i.e. no evidence to go as far as to make it the default,
including fiddling about those [C-insert] keys.

I think a better way to address this issue of learning curve and
friendliness is to look at the tentative plan¹ for Emacs 24 and see
whether we can help with one thing or two so that the key developers can
focus on major features planned. Another area is to write some good
documents, tutorials (we need more and everywhere) and manuals for elisp


¹  http://repo.or.cz/w/emacs.git/blob/HEAD:/etc/TODO
Any Emacs contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow
implementation of half of Common Lisp. -- Leo

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