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Re: Bikeshedding go! Why is <M-f4> unbound?

From: Deniz Dogan
Subject: Re: Bikeshedding go! Why is <M-f4> unbound?
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 16:54:30 +0100

2011/1/12 Drew Adams <address@hidden>:
>> > There is no reason for Emacs to bind Alt-F4 (or M-f4) by default.
>> > It should be kept for anyone to bind to anything.  (Just
>> > one more opinion.)
>> On the other hand, it wouldn't be a big deal for Emacs to have a
>> default binding. Anyone who cares enough will be able to rebind it.
>> There's always discussion about making Emacs a more well behaved
>> application on Windows and this seems like a low-hanging fruit?
> I respectfully disagree.
> 1. There's _no special reason_ to give _this_ key a default binding.
> 2. While it is true that a default binding can be overridden, that's not a 
> good
> enough argument for making a _particular_ default binding.
> 3. Default bindings tend to become sacrosanct in the eyes of many over time.  
> A
> library (or even a user) that binds one can be thought by some to be going
> against the grain (convention).
> 4. It's not because some key is unbound that we should give it a default
> binding.  If the argument that a default binding can always be overridden were
> sufficient for creating default bindings, then we would bind _every_ key by
> default.  Even a random default binding would be bound to please someone, and
> "Anyone who cares enough will be able to rebind it."
> 5. Slippery slope.  Windows uses key XYZ for blah, so we bind it.  Then 
> someone
> says "Hey, we respect the Windows binding by default for XYZ, why not also for
> UVW and RST and ...?
> "It wouldn't be a big deal for Emacs to have a default binding" - epitaph on a
> tombstone in Boot Hill, Tombstone, Arizona.

I'm neither for nor against this proposal anymore, but I'd like it if
we keep the discussion going, so here are my thoughts.

1. But there is a point to it! I may be wrong, but isn't M-f4 what
most desktop environments, e.g. KDE and Gnome, use to close a window
by default? To a new Emacs user, which we have to consider, M-f4 *not*
closing the window on a Windows system could potentially be confusing
and maybe even irritating. The new user maybe doesn't know that she
can make new key bindings herself and even if she knows she *can* make
new bindings, maybe she doesn't know what command to bind it to.
save-buffers-kill-terminal probably isn't what first comes to mind.

4. No one is saying we should bind M-f4 because it is unused. It's
just that it could have a very useful default binding for Windows
users which just happens to be unused today.

Deniz Dogan

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