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Re: Making Emacs more friendly to newcomers

From: Dmitry Gutov
Subject: Re: Making Emacs more friendly to newcomers
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2020 16:55:39 +0300
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.4.1

On 21.04.2020 07:42, Po Lu wrote:
Dmitry Gutov <address@hidden> writes:

Please keep in mind that if we hope to make Emacs reach, say, 30%
share among programmers, the extra 25% would be new users.

We should prioritize existing users over hypothetical users that don't
even exist yet.

And then, another 20 years pass, the current users get too old/change careers/retire/etc, and Emacs's userbase shrinks even more.

I don't want Emacs to die out, and it will if we don't do the work of attracting new users.

So for all questions about changing defaults, we should ask ourselves,
do we prioritize the existing 5% (or 3%, as SO poll says) userbase
that will naturally continue shrinking over the years, or whether we
prefer to make life easier and more productive for the users that
should come later.

One exists.  The other doesn't.
Which one would you choose?

Also note that we don't really have the ability to poll even our existing users, to find out whether they would like a given change. Even disregarding those who would change their mind later.

And it's not like existing, long-time users can't grow to like the new
defaults (even after a certain amount of grumbling). I think the Xref
example shows that.

Xref was bad enough.

Give it time.

Changing C-a to "select all" would be worse.

I didn't talk about that, but...

I think it's possible to support two sets of keybindings. That's definitely extra work, though.

Including simply designing a set of bindings that is both compatible with CUA and yet retains the current design principles to some extent (so far I have no good ideas on that front).

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