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Re: Emacs terminology (not again!?) [was: Apologia for bzr]

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Emacs terminology (not again!?) [was: Apologia for bzr]
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 2014 11:02:20 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Lennart Borgman <address@hidden> writes:

> On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM, Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> wrote:
>> > Emacs is never going to be as easy to learn as simple
>> > editors, because ease of learning is not its priority.
> There could be a setup of Emacs that is as easy as any editor to
> learn.

That's a red herring.  What people are looking for are not editors that
are easy to learn, but editors that can be used without learning
anything at all.

I encounter this situation as an accordion player: the joke in
namely somebody asking for a smaller-size accordion, is not without a
serious background: people imagine that capsizing a piano will make for
a good user interface.  It doesn't.  Back problems are frequent with
accordion players, and particularly women are often slumped in their
chairs in order to accommodate the vertical dimension of their keyboard.
I play a chromatic button accordion which has buttons rather than piano
keys, and I have 62 notes accessible where a piano accordion has at most
45, and even a small piano accordion with 37 keys has a larger height
than my instrument and its key mechanics take from the immediate
airflow/valve/button interaction facilitating good leggiero play and
bellows control.

If you take a look at nations where accordions are "mainstream" music
instruments, like Finland, France, Russia, you'll find a prevalence of
button instruments.  Internationally, it's about evenly split for
accordion soloists, and about 90% piano accordion for accordion
orchestra players (accordion orchestras are collection of accordionists
no other instrumentalists want to play with).  The ratio would be even
higher except for orchestras from those accordion nations where piano
accordions are considered outlandish altogether.

If viewed in the grand overall scheme of things, it begs the question if
we are doing Emacs a favor by giving it the piano keyboard more people
think they know how to work with.

Yes, it makes it easier to employ Emacs as a throwaway editor you
occasionally use and forget again.

> I guess that we are really discussing is if there is an advantage of
> such a setup. In the light of that there was a whole new editor
> (gedit) created I think there could have been a better route. Emacs
> could probably have provided everything that gedit gives.
> I also guess it would have been less work. And there would have been a
> larger community using and working on Emacs.

In countries where the piano accordion is prevalent, accordions are more
often associated with music styles, groups, and shows that "serious"
musicians consider a laughing stock.  That definitely impacts the influx
of new players.  And in particular, new virtuosi.

The future of Emacs depends on people with an attention span and
perseverence sufficient for extending it.  Those are the people who are
most likely to be annoyed at the inconsistency of concepts and
operations of things like the full CUA mode (the one which uses
heuristics to decide whether to use C-x and C-c in the Emacs or the CUA

We should not try to be too clever about looking simple: we will only
fool those people who don't actually count towards the well-being of
Emacs.  So any changes should be done while keeping the coherence of the
result closely in check.

David Kastrup

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