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Re: Org mode and Emacs

From: Ihor Radchenko
Subject: Re: Org mode and Emacs
Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2022 23:08:36 +0800

Stefan Monnier <monnier@iro.umontreal.ca> writes:

>> If you have some specific cases when Org mode alters Emacs defaults in a
>> way that bites the user, please give concrete examples. Otherwise, your
>> criticism is not very constructive.
> [ Alan gave one or two concrete examples of things that bit him.  ]

Alan gave two concrete examples:

>>> I put org.org into a buffer.  I saw lots of lines ending in ..., which is
>>> fair enough.  I try C-c C-s to show a subtree, and instead get a calendar
>>> in a new window.  Brilliant!  Did I mention I hate context dependent
>>> commands?  So I have to type M-x outline-show-subtree, which works.  I
>>> read the screenful of text, then type C-S-<down> to scroll it up.
>>> Instead of my standard scrolling command, I get an error message about
>>> "Not at a clock log".  Org mode has stolen the key sequences
>>> C-S-<up>/<down>, amongst many others.  So how am I meant to scroll text?

where he
1. Complains about major mode shadowing key binding reserved for major
   modes, according to D.2 Key Binding Conventions section of the Elisp
>      • Sequences consisting of ‘C-c’ followed by a control character or a
>     digit are reserved for major modes.

2. C-S-<down>, which is a valid point. However, arrow commands is one of
   the few core concepts used in Org major mode.
   I am not sure if re-binding C-S-<down> is so much of a sin on Org
   mode side. Emacs manual 49.3 Customizing Key Bindings says:

>         Since most modes define their own key bindings, activating a mode
>      might override your custom key bindings.  A small number of keys are
>      reserved for user-defined bindings, and should not be used by modes, so
>      key bindings using those keys are safer in this regard.  The reserved
>      key sequences are those consisting of ‘C-c’ followed by a letter (either
>      upper or lower case), and function keys <F5> through <F9> without
>      modifiers (*note Modifier Keys::).

   As a compromise, Org may provide some kind of read-only mode just to
   navigate the document. The arrow bindings can be disabled then. They
   are for editing.

>>> I see many of these bindings as context dependent, with the name of the
>>> function named after the key sequence, not the functionality - e.g.
>>> org-shiftcontroldown.  That is not the way the rest of Emacs is
>>> constructed.  I hate context dependence (except when it is properly
>>> implemented, e.g. by major modes).

    Only a handful of bindings are context dependent. In particular,
    control/shift/meta-arrow keys, <TAB>, and C-c C-c. They are most
    frequently used when editing and navigating Org buffers.

    It would help if "properly implemented" were defined more precisely
    in the above statement.

> This is not a criticism, just a description of how Org is perceived from
> the side of "old-time Emacs users who aren't Org users".
> The key in what you wrote above is the "yes, many of them", which means
> that even tho those tweaks are minor they sum up to something that
> old-time users will almost inevitably bump into.
> It's not a problem for Org itself, and there are good reasons for each
> one of those tweaks, I'm sure, but it does create opposition to using
> Org "in core", such as in etc/NEWS.

I understand. However, such criticism is not helpful. Only concrete
examples can lead to actual Org improvements in this area.


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