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Re: Making Emacs more friendly to newcomers

From: Nikita Mogilevsky
Subject: Re: Making Emacs more friendly to newcomers
Date: Wed, 6 May 2020 11:14:14 -0700

Hello, folks. I'd like to throw my two cents in as a relatively new user. I've been using emacs for org-mode, coding, and irc on and off for a few years.

The display interface:
There is already a thread about emacs' square appearance, but many features of emacs would benefit from looking modernized. I agree with RMS that emacs will need some reimagined graphics library implementation to make that possible.

This feature is conceptually simple but I found it almost hostile to interact with. Between, states and unintuitive input fields. I found it hard to understand what many functions and variables were meant to do or represent. The documentation for these values showed elisp, so I quickly transitioned away from customize. I don't know what I would improve here but I think that many new users are guided to this feature and I don't recommend them to play with it from personal experiences.

How should we poll new users and their initial interactions with emacs? Would a setup wizard be helpful for common bindings like modern kill-yank equivalents? While the philosophy funnels towards abandoning mouse cursors and buttons what would be intuitive features for transitioning from that kind of behavior?

On Tue, May 5, 2020, 21:47 Richard Stallman <address@hidden> 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. ]]]

  > It is just that sometimes, in everyday speech we don't always use
  > official, full, long names for stuff

Since "free software" is only two charactes longer than "open source",
how about making the effort to acquire that habit?  It will help our
cause, and once you learn the habit, you will hardly mind those extra

  > say Linux even when we mean GNU/Linux, just as we don't always say
  > Microsoft Windows but just Windows, or Apple OSX but just OSX etc.

They are similar in being shortenings, but there is a crucial difference.

Saying just "Windows" does not lead to forgetting that it comes from Microsoft.
Saying just "OSX" does not lead to forgetting that it comes from Apple.
There is no reason to make an effort to avoid those shortenings.

But saying just "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux" misrepresents who
developed it.  That hampers what the GNU Project can achieve.  So how
about making the effort to avoid that particular shortening?

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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