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Re: Rectangular regions

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Rectangular regions
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 16:22:33 -0400

        [ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider
        [ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,
        [ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example.

    I've installed earlier today a patch which adds basic support for
    rectangular regions.  The entry point currently is `M-x rectangle-mark'.
    Besides making commands aware of rectangular regions (currently only
    things like C-w, M-w, C-y, and M-y pay attention to the shape of the

This is an interesting feature.  To make it really bloom,
we need to have a way to operate on a rectangular region
that works for all the functions that take a pair of buffer

The idea that occurs to me is to pass a start and end of the form
(rectangle . POS), to tell these functions to operate on a rectangle
with two specified corners.

One issue thaht will require attention: when we properly handle
formatting with variable with fonts, a rectangle will be defined
by two horizontal positions, and each line will need a computation
to determine which characters are between those positions.
As we implement support for rectangular region in primitives,
we should do it in a way that will handle this in the future.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
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