[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Unuseful keybindings

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Unuseful keybindings
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2012 14:28:45 -0800

> But, I must admit I like conventions, particularly when 
> they're shared.

Hi Seb,

Let me be more clear.  There certainly is no reason for Emacs to seek to be
UNconventional.  Probably we agree on that.  Hope I did not give the opposite

My point was really that following a convention is not the ONLY good.  It should
not be the sole criterion for Emacs binding a key by default.  Perhaps we
disagree on that.

If you take as the starting point that ALL unused keys should be bound by
default as long as they are in some sense conventional somewhere, then we
definitely disagree.

My preferred starting point is that ALL unused keys remain unbound by default,
and that if someone finds that a key is conventionally bound somewhere then we
start DISCUSSING WHETHER it makes sense for Emacs to share that default binding.

Instead, what seems to be happening more and more is that someone just goes
ahead and binds a key, with little or no discussion - fait accompli.

For me, it should not be a foregone conclusion that if there is a conventional
binding for some key somewhere then we should hurry to adopt it for Emacs if the
key is not yet bound.  Other things can be more important, and one of those
things can be just leaving the key open/unused/TBD - even alone that has some

There are conventions and conventions.  And there are keys and keys.  All
conventions are not equal in importance to Emacs (should not be).  And all keys
are not equal to Emacs (see my earlier message about various use criteria).

I am in favor of concrete discussion about the pros & cons of binding a
particular key such as `f11' to a particular action, such as toggling
full-screen display.  What I disagree with is the pretension that the arguments
given so far in favor of Emacs becoming conventional in this particular case are

On the contrary, those are the weakest arguments imaginable: (a) the key is not
bound by default, and (b) the key is conventionally bound to a fullscreen toggle
outside Emacs.  

That's it?  Doesn't matter what the key is conventionally bound to, i.e., what
the key does?  Doesn't matter how that action fits with Emacs and its needs and
other key bindings?  Just (a) it's not bound and (b) others bind it?

Those arguments are not really specific to `f11' - they apply to ALL unused keys
that might be conventional outside Emacs.  If the key being discussed were `f12'
and the conventional binding for it printed "Hello Kitty" then those arguments
would be just as pertinent.  They are pretty hollow arguments, and not at all
key-specific or action-specific.

Emacs deserves better.  Aside from convention, why should `f11' be a fullscreen
toggle in Emacs?  That's the right question.

If there is no answer - no good reason, then we should probably just say no to
that particular convention.  If a user can learn that `M-x' reads a command name
then s?he can also learn that, e.g., `C-x f11' toggles fullscreen.  Not a
biggee, IMHO. 

We can agree to disagree, if we do in fact disagree.  But for the record, I am
not against standardization in general or against Emacs sharing standards

I am in favor of case-by-case evaluation, that's all.  But if we have reached a
point where it has become sufficient to remark that some key is unused and
someone else uses it, then there is no real evaluation, no judging at all.

> How many times do I press C-y in non-Emacs programs?

Me too.  I get bit by `C-y', `C-v', `C-w, `M-w', and so on.  I do not live
within Emacs - I use lots of other apps, and they generally do not share Emacs's
key "conventions".  (And that generally makes sense - they are not apps that
make heavy use of the keyboard, chords, prefix keys, repeated keys, etc.)

Not a big deal, IMO.  You can also get bit if you stay within Emacs: different
modes bind keys differently.  That's not as common, of course, since `C-y' etc.
are used very often.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]