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Re: Some developement questions

From: hw
Subject: Re: Some developement questions
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2018 13:59:48 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.1 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

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>   > I'm fine with encouraging people to learn these movement keys, but how
>   > do the available movement keys give beginners good reasons to use Emacs,
>   > and how do they make using it better for them?
> For the second question, they make cursor motion faster.

They don't do that.

Besides, it has finally occurred to me that I /like/ moving my hands.
My thinking and my typing would freeze up as well if I had to have them
like frozen to the home row all the time.

> The fact that it can be faster is a reason to use Emacs
> but I won't claim that reason is visible to people thinking
> about using Emacs.

Using Emacs can be faster and more efficient than using other editors
for many reasons.  It's movement keys can help some users and get into
the way of others, and they are by far not the most important feature
and not the only one giving reason to use Emacs.

Making visible to potential users how using Emacs can be advantageous to
them should not be blocked by over 300 lines of tutorial that go on
about the movement keys in the wrong place.  These 300 lines might be
better used to point out what Emacs can do, and to lead users to
specific documentation about the particular features.  Not every user is
interested in the same things.

>   > Tutorials which take this into account more strongly might be more
>   > encouraging to use Emacs in the first place, and then beginners might
>   > want to learn the special movement keys.
> That approach might be good, but what can we do to encourage them to
> learn the cursor-motion commands later on?

Let users experience that Emacs is the best editor ever, and they aren't
going to need much encouragement to learn more about it all the time
because they will want to do that anyway.  For those who still would not
want to learn the key bindings for cursor motion, encouragement would
need to be turned into enforcement, and that's not exactly feasible.

So if you can dedicate a whole tutorial to learning the movement keys
and offer users to do it when ever they feel ready, you have vastly
better chances of success and of another happy user than you have when
you push and shove all these movement keys right into the face of a user
who is already struggling hands up with navigating a way through an
entirely new, heavy piece of software which can be very difficult to
learn when you take the wrong way.

>   > BTW, I still don't see how anyone could move around efficiently when it
>   > requires to press ESC.  Does it require a special keyboard?
> Nowadays, essentially all keyboards have an Alt key, so one never needs
> to use ESC for cursor motion.

Well, yes, only the Alt key never worked.  It didn't work on the Atari
ST (where Emacs crashed an awful lot), didn't work later with Linux, not
with different keyboards, not for the last 25 years or so.  I can't tell
exactly when it started working because some time I gave up trying.  It
works for me since less than a week.

Key bindings with M-C?  Emacs always says 'C-<escape> is undefined'.

So how are Emacs` key bindings for cursor movement more efficient than
the cursor keys, given that the Alt key does not work?  I've read the
tutorial on my Atari ST and decided against using these key bindings
back then.  I thought they might be for computers that have severe
limitations and/or keyboards without cursor keys, as a workaround to get
the cursor moving at all.

Eli pointed out that window managers like to use the Alt key for
themselves so that it never arrives at Emacs.  That is something I would
definitely put into the (keyboard) tutorial where it explains the Meta

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