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RE: Unuseful keybindings

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Unuseful keybindings
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 16:27:46 -0800

> Can't you just rebind these keys? I mean, you would
> have to do that anyway, to use them for your purposes, right?

Yes, but the fact that users can do that is never a good enough reason _on its
own_ for Emacs Dev to sacrifice a particular key sequence for a default binding.

For one thing, the very fact that there exists a default key binding sometimes
dissuades libraries from binding the key sequence, because some user will holler
bloody hell that the library steps on a default key binding, even if using the
library is a voluntary act, and even if the user can override the library

No, there is nothing wrong with a user or a library doing that, but some people
overly respect what they see as the established order, even though Emacs points
out in its doc that you are free to customize etc.  Somehow, default key
bindings can tend, for some people, to take on a sacred aura.

An additional rationale was given in this case, however, I believe.  IIRC
(excuse me if I remember incorrectly), this was it: many people use it outside
Emacs for the same (or a similar) thing.

I find that particular rationale quite weak, if it stands alone.  Yes, it has
_some_ merit, but there can be much stronger, internal-consistency or
user-behavior reasons for Emacs to bind a given key sequence by default.

For one thing, a key such as `f11' is repeatable, so it is preferable not to
waste it on a command/action that is not repeatable by just holding down the
key.  Most possible key sequences (e.g. `C-x r l') are not repeatable, and we
should make best use of those that are.  Repeatable keys are a scarce resource,
to be treasured and put to wise use.

We first went down this silly path when we bound `f3' and `f4' - not too long
ago.  That was a big mistake, IMHO.  Or was `f10' prior?

Well, you could even argue that the first such abuse was binding `f1', but there
are a lot more people who know and use `f1' for help outside Emacs than there
are that use `f11'.  Plus, `f1' is precisely for getting help.  There is a much
stronger case to be made for sacrificing `f1' than `f3', `f4', `f10', or `f11',

It used to be that Emacs made an effort to stay away from binding function keys.
Alas, that boat sailed long ago.

>> You don't have to use them.
> Sure but this make the prefix f11 unavailable for more
> useful purpose...

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