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Re: "Why is emacs so square?"

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: "Why is emacs so square?"
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2020 23:20:53 -0400

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  > > If the cursor keys work out of the box then the tutorial should
  > > begin with features which can be used without learning new cursor keys,
  > > demonstrating something which emacs does well or better than other
  > > tools.

I used to think it was important to teach Emacs cursor motion
character because they are needed to edit efficiently.  But if that
is a big discouragement to using the tutorial, let's try it another way.

  > Org mode, magit, helm comes to my mind.

"Org mode", as currently conceptualized (a single thing), is not
suitable to teach to beginners.  If we reconceptualize it as several
task-specific features, some of them may be useful to teach to

Magit is not part of Emacs.  I would like to include it in Emacs.  A
year ago, its developer agreed to cooperate with getting the copyright
assignments; but last January, after I found a volunteer to do the
work of arranging this with contributors, the developer did not

Has anyone been in touch with him since then?  It would be very good
to get this moving.

I don't know what Helm's situation is (or what it does), but whether
describing it in Emacs is an option to consider depends on that

As a general matter, it is a lot more work to describe something with
a learn-by-doing tutorial than to describe it in a manual.  The number
of topics we can teach in the tutorial is thus limited.  The existing
tutorial does not talk about _any_ special purpose subsystems, not
even Dired, and I think it how it should be.

I think that people who reach the stage of starting using Dired
already know enough that they don't need a learn-by-doing tutorial to
learn it, and they might on the contrary find it annoyingly slow as a
way to learn.  That must go double for Magit.  The best way to tell
people how to use features like that is with ordinary manuals.

Dr Richard Stallman
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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