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Re: [Emacs-diffs] master 9ce1d38: Use curved quotes in core elisp diagno

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: [Emacs-diffs] master 9ce1d38: Use curved quotes in core elisp diagnostics
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:35:51 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Hello, Paul.

On Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 09:53:37AM -0700, Paul Eggert wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:

> > The main change here is that from now on, particularly if so-called
> > Electric Quote mode [*] is used, we're going to end up with a chaotic
> > mix of ascii quotes and curly quotes in our source code.

> Although I also would prefer a simpler approach (one that consistently uses 
> curved quotes), you've objected to that, necessitating a "chaotic" compromise.

> > The fact that one "needs" such flaccid workarounds like EQM and the
> > folding of quote characters with quote characters in (some of) the
> > searching code should be taken as a hint just to stop and think
> > hard.

> For years Emacs has had significant problems in editing and searching and 
> generating non-ASCII text.

Just to be entirely clear, I've got nothing against "non-ASCII" text.
I've been typing and editing text with characters like £, ä, ß, Ü for
decades, and would not use a program which prevented me from doing so.

What I object to is _non-working_ characters - characters which appear
on nobody's keyboard (see Bastien's question about typing curly quotes)
and are problematic to display (See Eli's recent post, for example).  I
would object equally if you were, say, to insist that all symbol names
had to be written in Greek characters, and you converted all our source
files overnight to this convention.  With all due respect to our friends
who grok Greek.

> Making Emacs better in this area will inevitably have teething
> problems, and we'll inevitably come up with worse solutions before
> coming up with better ones.

Imposing non-working characters on Emacs hackers has no connection with
problems users may have with non-ascii (working-)characters.  They're
two distinct themes.

> But we shouldn't just do nothing: these are real problems that need to
> be addressed.

The two problems are separate.  I'm not aware of the problems with
non-ascii working-characters, probably because I use only Latin based
scripts.  If there are problems there, let them be solved!

But I dispute that using ` and ' as quoting marks, in contexts used by
hackers, is a problem.  If it is, it is less of a problem than those
caused by having non-working chracters throughout our sources.

> Insisting that Emacs developers live and work in an ASCII ghetto has 
> contributed 
> to these problems, as it has led us to discount the importance of non-ASCII 
> editing in the real world.  (I've been guilty of this as the next guy, by the 
> way -- I'm not trying to cast aspersions on anybody in particular.)

Again, nobody's insisting this - the topic is working characters vs.
non-working characters, not ascii vs. the rest.

> It'll be helpful to break out of these old mindsets, and if regularly
> using a few non-ASCII characters in Emacs source will help us do that,
> then that'll be a good thing.

Again, nobody objects to the non-ascii characters - it's the non-working
characters which are the problem.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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