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

From: Phillip Lord
Subject: Re: Emacs terminology (not again!?) [was: Apologia for bzr]
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:22:45 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Lennart Borgman <address@hidden> writes:
>> > 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. It
> is the advanced features that will take time to learn.

For what it is worth, I think Emacs could do with some considerable
improvement on the "self-documenting" front. A student of mine recently
asked about tutorials for Emacs. Of course, I said, it's got one
built-in, to which the response was that it was rubbish.

So I went and looked at it for the first time in many years. I think he
has a point. As the warning notice that you get if you change things says:

"The main purpose of the Emacs tutorial is to teach you
the most important standard Emacs commands (key bindings)."

Are key bindings the main thing we want to teach new users?

Worse the first 200 lines are all about how to move the cursor; I mean,
most new users are just going to use the cursor keys, or a mouse. It's
what I do, even after years of using Emacs with a few exceptions
(Ctrl-A, E and M-<,> if you are interested).

It isn't till line 199 that you get something powerful (repeat commands)
rather than painful. Then, we move onto Ctrl-G (line 236) which is what
happens when it breaks. And line 274 get us to Windows. And line 470
before we find out how to open a file.

There are also 4 "If you are on a windowing system" statements: lets be
honest, any new user is going to be on a windowing system. People
starting to use computers today are likely to be unaware that it is
possible to not be on a windowing system.

Other things that seem to be missing, are links to the rest of the
world. Why no links to web pages, or videos? Or indeed, in-line images.

Perhaps, users would be less confused by "windows", "buffers" and so on,
if they hadn't got bored long before the point where these are

If there is interest in incorporating it, I'd be willing to rewrite it.


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