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Re: A proposal for a friendlier Emacs

From: Colin Baxter
Subject: Re: A proposal for a friendlier Emacs
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2020 18:50:31 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.1 (gnu/linux)

>>>>> Jean Louis <bugs@gnu.support> writes:

    > On September 22, 2020 12:59:38 PM UTC, Ergus <spacibba@aol.com> wrote:
    >> On Mon, Sep 21, 2020 at 08:19:58PM +0300, Jean Louis wrote:
    >>> * Ergus <spacibba@aol.com> [2020-09-20 03:45]:
    >>>> There have been too many years of licences nobody reads and
    >>>> msoffice
    >> useless splash. So people now install the programs just pressing
    >> next next next accept.
    >>>> The problem is that 90% of the cases the information there is
    >>>> pretty
    >> useless (publicity, license, offers for an account) so most
    >> people assume that in our case it will be the same and usually
    >> ignores that.
    >>> I am not sure how you come to seach information, as it is very
    >>> general. I could present Emacs to various people and see if they
    >>> have read the splash screen, and then after 5 or 10 attempts, I
    >>> could have statistics, who read what, if they found that there
    >>> is Tutorial or not, or what else they remembered and if they
    >>> have read the splash page.
    >>> With 100 people in the test, such information would be valuable
    >>> statistics.
    >>> Without mass of people tested randomly, it is harder to say that
    >> splash
    >>> is useless for people because it was maybe useless for one
    >>> msoffice user.
    >>> I can speak for myself, as it is hard to speak for others, so I
    >>> know that I was reading licenses of proprietary software before
    >>> 1999, and I know that I was reading everything that Emacs had to
    >>> offer, from splash screen, Tutorials in few languages, and GNU
    >>> news and anything else, I did read it, and that is how I got
    >>> fascinated with the free software.
    >> So you are probably more the exception than the rule. As you can
    >> see nobody these days reads the licenses anymore, not even the
    >> tutorials

    > I am only asking you to be specific, like from where exactly do
    > you draw that information they majority of nobody reads licenses?

    > Is there a survey result whereby at least 1000 people have been
    > asked if they have read the license or tutorial and in which
    > specific area for which specific group of people?

    > I know that in Germany we, and I mean my free friends, have been
    > reading license as we were concerned what we can do with
    > proprietary software, if we can make copy for ourselves and if we
    > were allowed to share our install on multiple computers, and later
    > me and my close friends discovered GNU derived distributions and
    > became happy that license now allowed us. I can speak for few
    > close people that I know. And in organization that I worked, the
    > licensing was very much controlled, as we did not want to shift
    > anyone's rights.

    > As teenager I was clicking through licenses and used warez and
    > whatever I could without paying any license and reading such.

    > I do not know you, I am 47, what is your age?

    > I don't know if by saying that nobody reads licenses you refer to
    > nobody teenager interested to play games, or you refer to
    > Tanzanian student who will not care of any license because there
    > will be no enforcement, or you refer to average German trader who
    > needs software professionally.

    > I know how to make a survey and how to evaluate a survey results,
    > and if none was made, even if it was made, days shall be based on
    > such survey.

    >> I just say that nobody knows what is written in the license or
    >> the splash screen. Consider also that most of the people in the
    >> world are nor English speakers > either.

    > I know you write that but I don't see fusion of such a
    > statement. Did you count number of people not reading licenses and
    > how that was measured, what group of people and in which
    > geographic locations?

    > Without proper survey result, I don't share your opinion, just
    > contrary, I know that today there is more free software then ever,
    > and speaking from German and of good knowledge of Western European
    > part of the world, I know that those people introduced to free
    > software were especially interested in licensing terms.

    > As a speaker on seminars about GNU/Linux systems, attendees in
    > Stuttgart Mediothek, were interested in licensing terms and felt
    > liberated, and I can say they probably read licenses, but I have
    > not controlled them, as a speaker, from their questions I know
    > they were interested.

As I understand things, the "E" in emacs is for extensible. If something
is extensible then I suggest there exists an initial zero-extension
state. I further suggest that that state is characterised by the absent
of a .emacs file (or equivalent). Therefore emacs needs no .emacs to
work. I very much agree with what Jean Louis has written about this.

I know very little about emacs having only used it for 20+ years. (That
is a serious observation, not a joke.) For the first five years I knew
nothing about a .emacs file and used emacs happily to edit tex and
fortran files. I did read the licenses and became intrigued by something
called free software.

My point is emacs is a journey for many of us and I think my journey
would have begun on the wrong foot if I had been told what to do by a
"wizard". If you really want to sell emacs to new users, tell them about
this journey and tell them they will have adventures - but let them find
the adventures themselves.

Best wishes,

Colin Baxter
URL: http://www.Colin-Baxter.com
GnuPG fingerprint: 68A8 799C 0230 16E7 BF68  2A27 BBFA 2492 91F5 41C8
Since mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not
understand it myself. A. Einstein

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