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Re: What does 'run' do in cperl-mode?

From: Xah Lee
Subject: Re: What does 'run' do in cperl-mode?
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 10:42:41 -0700 (PDT)
User-agent: G2/1.0

Xah wrote:
«There is basically no cost to users. Any new user will immediately
understand “Alt+‹key›” and perhaps feel this is a great improvement.»

Lennart Borgman wrote:
«How do you know there is no cost to users? Why do you think they
immediately understand "Alt+<key>"?»

“if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it
isn't, it ain't. That's logic.” — Tweedledee in Alice In Wonderland.


But seriously, because the user can look at the keyboard, see the a
key with “Alt” printed on it.

See my expanded, more coherent argument on this here:
 “Emacs's M-‹key› Notation vs Alt+‹key› Notation”

> In the setup I recommend on w32 that will mean that they should type
> "Windows-key + <key>".
> I think I told you this before.

You are the author of the emacs distro for windows known as EmacsW32

gosh, the few times i tried to find out its author, it's rather not
straight forward. I rather hope you would just put your name on the
front page. These days, perhaps due to OpenSource and wiki-this-that's
thought invasion, people don't put their names up front anymore.
Anytime i tried to find out the author of a blog, or some emacs
package or software, it's often not straight forward. Perhaps 50%
caused by wanting to remain anonymous and security, 50% caused by
absurd OpenSource movement induced moral ethic of refraining from
taking proper credit, and 50% by fear of actually taking
responsibility. (this is in contrast to my life style, where i: ★ Not
afraid to say things. (haha, maybe too loud) ★ Take proper credit. ★
Take responsibility.)

anyway, although i have met you online maybe since a year ago (recall
once you initiated a email exchange) and have linked to your site
(see ), but only this week i
thought to myself in these threads: “hey, aint't that the emacsw32”

kk, sorry for rambling. Back to topic...

well, actually i'm surprised that you disagree with some of my points.
Although i haven't used your emacsw32 (cause i don't have Windows
now), but i've read that you were frustrated by emacs's usibility and
that's why you made emacsw32.

For example, i believe the following from
is written by you:

«I may be the only person on this planet who thinks that it is too
difficult to begin using Emacs on MS Windows. However I did find some
things unnecessarily difficult.»

So, i was surprised you disagree with some of my emacs modernization

Ok, more specifically, in our topic here, you want the Alt key to
behave like other Windows apps. Namely, it invokes menu when pressed
by itself, and invoke command when pressed together with another key.
In other words, conforming to Window's UI guidelines.

As you know, on Apple's OSX, it follows a slightly different GUI
guideline. In particular, in OSX there's no such key like Window's Alt
that invokes a menu by itself... (traditinoally, Windows UI is
designed such that users can operate the computer by keyboard alone
without a mouse; but traditionlly Apple doesn't do this unless you
count turning keypad into a pointing device... but since about ~2004
in OSX Apple started to have a bunch of keys (usually Ctrl+Fn) to
navigate GUI elements... In short, how user uses keyboard to operate
the computer follows quite a different model than on Windows)

Anyway, i'm getting quite long winded on this since the Apple and
Windows model of keyboard navigation on UI is different and has
different history.

But the point i want to make is that, when we consider modernization
of emacs, w can create one Windows Emacs that follows Window's way,
one Apple Emacs distro that follows Apple's way. Or, we can modernize
emacs based on emacs own unique way.

Am i getting confused?      =(^_^)=

if i think correctly, you always stands by the Windows way. So, in
your opinion, my suggestion for using the notation “Alt+‹key›” for
emacs's “M-‹key›” is not good because that's incompatible with the
Window's way of pressing Alt by itself to invoke graphical menu.

Yes i can see that'd be a problem. But your Windows way is a nutcase,
and is not compatible with emacs tradition anyway. LOLz! I hope emacs
developers here will flame you to death first.

Of course, we are getting onto a philosophical issue of whether to
have one's own interface or follow one of the major OS. The Java
platform tried to force its own interface (e.g. widgets looks and
feel), but basically failed. When a java program runs on Windows,
people want it to look and feel like Windows. When it runs on Mac,
people want it to look and feel like Mac. Basically, the crucial
factor is just market share. People are habituated with whatever they
are. They dont want to change. Java tried to squeeze its UI look and
feel starting with 0% market share into the meaty Windows UI or Mac
UI; sure it fails.

However, with emacs, i think emacs has a chance to stand on its own.
Because, as you know, emacs precedes Windows or Mac.

So, in the end, i just think your Alt=“menu invoke” philosophy on the
whole must be sacrifised.

But no worries, even we adapt the notation “Alt+‹key›” for “M-‹key›”
in emacs manual, your emacsW32 really wouldn't suffer a hitch.
Because, in either case, you are modifier emacs's default behavier
anyway. Right now, you customized emacs in your distro so that Meta is
no longer default to Alt, but default to the WindowKey, while the Alt
invoke menu. But if we adopt the shortcut notation change as i
suggested, you don't need to change a single line in your emacsW32
customization, just the philosophy of what has been customized.

OK, sorry i punched my keyboad too fast for too long.
Most of these i wrote before actually.

Here's a excerpt from


Also, Aquamacs changes emacs to conform to Apple's user interface
guidelines as much as possible. For example, besides changing the many
shortcuts, Aquamacs open each file in a new window (i.e. what emacs
calls frame). So, dired is opened in its own window. “shell-command”
is opened in a new window. Emacs info files (C-h i) is opened in a new
window. Using the graphical menu “Help:Aquamacs Help” launches Apple's
help application. Aquamacs makes emacs palpable for Mac users, but in
many ways, Aquamacs imposes a major change of operation for people
already familiar with emacs. Its modernization of emacs, has priority
with Mac application's system of operation over emacs system of

Aquamacs is only a Mac application. Its user interface changes, is not
wholly compatible with Microsoft Windows's user interface guidelines
in minor details. (in particular, shortcut modifiers are different
(Ctrl vs Cmd), and some shortcut keys differ) 90% of computer users
world wide are familiar with Window's user interface and are using PC
keyboards. If we consider improving emacs's user interface, then it is
important to consider the familarity of vast majority of computer

In summary, when we consider modernization, we could create a version
for Mac, a version for Windows, each follows as much as possible of
each operating system's user interface guidelines. Alternatively, we
can consider modernization based on emacs's unique ways of operation
(as opposed changing emacs to comform to a particular company's UI
standard that are currently most popular).


for some detailed analysis of the difference of modifier keys usage
and history between Win and Mac, see:

Difference Between Apple and PC keyboards


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