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Re: What improvements would be truly useful?

From: Daniele Nicolodi
Subject: Re: What improvements would be truly useful?
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2018 11:51:09 -0700
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On 3/5/18 6:11 AM, Richard Stallman wrote:
> [[[ 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. ]]]
> An improvement in GC wouldn't be a bad thing, but it may not be worth
> the effort.  It is likely to lead to many bugs that would be hard to
> fix.  Once working, it would not make much difference to users.
> It would only permit some operations on larger problems than now.
> When I was working at the AI Lab, one of the older programmers told me
> that hackers are often eager to make improvements of this sort: which
> make the program better in an abstract sense, but not better for
> users.  I took that advice to heart.  Now I pass it on.
> Changing Emacs to handle indentation and alignment with
> variable-width fonts would be an important and useful change.
> Certain kinds of use would make sense, which currently don't.
> It would be a big step towards making Emacs do the job of
> a word processor, which is what I would like to see some day.
> Imagine if you could edit nicely formatted documents directly
> with Emacs, instead of using LibreOffice?  LibreOffice is
> fine to use, it is free software, but it isn't Emacs.


with all the due respect for your role in starting the Emacs project and
the Free software movement, I don't think that dismissing contributions
to Emacs on the base of their relative usefulness to implementing new
features that you think are important, does any good to Emacs.

Hackers work on Emacs because they like it, and scratch their own itch.
I don't think that anyone is in the position to suggest how they should
be spending their time. Even more so if (as far as I know) there is no
agreed upon roadmap for the project.

I think that what will help to keep Emacs relevant in the long run is
modernizing its structure and code base, moving away from the baroque
architecture that developed as a result of its very long history (and
some less than optimally future proof design decisions).

Personally, I find that better support for display with variable width
fonts will not improve my use of Emacs. What would improve my user
experience would be improvements to the display engine that will allow a
better document viewing capabilities in something like pdf-tools (like
continuous scrolling).

The only effective (and not detrimental to the project) way to steer
hacker attentions to features you find important is to pay them for
their work. With your popularity it should not be impossible to rise
enough money to do so.


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