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Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Making Emacs more newbie friendly
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 20:27:19 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Shawn Betts <address@hidden> writes:

> Emacs is self consistent. Good Emacs programs follow The Emacs
> Way. Changing some common keybindings might help newbs to stick with
> it a bit longer, but pretty soon they'll hit the next layer. These
> newbs still haven't learned how everything works together nor have
> they become fimiliar with Emacs key bindings. So do you keep
> disfiguring Emacs to hide from them the AWFUL truth? When does it
> end?  Eventually they'll HAVE learn how to use Emacs the way it was
> intended. And I sure hope so! Emacs keybindings are WAY better.

Actually, they are scattered all over the keyboard regardless of the
layout, particularly for basic cursor movement.  They are intended to
be somewhat mnemonic, but they are not easy on the wrist.  RSI is a
recurring theme with major Emacs hackers.  vi bindings, at least on a
standard American keyboard, make more ergonomic sense, apart from
being shifted one position off home row for 10 finger typists.

But whether they are better or not, they are a complex and consistent
scheme, and changing them is not something you can do in a minute.

> Its not Emacs that has to change. Its their minds. Your time is
> better spent erecting billboards telling ppl how insanely great
> Emacs is than convincing Emacs hackers they should smash holes in
> their Perfect System for fools.

Oh, Emacs has changed all the time over years to accommodate more
users and in particular beginners.  Don't fall for the propagandists
that tell you otherwise simply because not everybody jumps with glee
at their proposals.

It takes time getting used to Emacs, but this is getting much more
tolerable than it was at one time.  Emacs has survived a slew of
operating systems and keybinding trends over the years, and there are
more to come.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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