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Re: ASCII-only startup message?

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: ASCII-only startup message?
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 09:30:50 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.4.0

John Wiegley wrote:

in *Help* documentation, it actually
emphasizes to me that a symbol name is being indicated, rather than a normal
word that's being single-quoted.

In practice that is not an advantage, since Emacs uses American English with the convention that single-quoted words are code, so it is easy to distinguish single-quoted symbol names from American-style double-quoted normal words, regardless of whether quotes are straight or curved. This is a common convention in other GNU programs and in GNU documentation.

   a. How much work is left until this feature is truly "complete"? One
      indicator that it's not yet is how many times it's been thought to be so.

Emacs has never been “complete”. That being said, the current implementation seems to be at a reasonable sweet spot.

   b. How much work would it be to revert the whole thing and go back to using
      `foo' for symbol quoting?

It would take quite a bit of work to do that.

(set text-quoting-style 'grave) in your .emacs will give you much of the behavior you want, and I recommend it for users who prefer quoting the old-fashioned way. This does not suffice to alter *info* buffers, though, as they are generated by Texinfo. In general, this issue is bigger than just Emacs, the rest of the GNU world has mostly moved on, and Emacs has been lagging behind.

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