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Re: How to get rid of *GNU Emacs* buffer on start-up?

From: stan
Subject: Re: How to get rid of *GNU Emacs* buffer on start-up?
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2008 22:34:44 -0400
User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)

Richard Riley wrote:
> stan <address@hidden> writes:
>> Xah wrote:
>>> Kevin Rodgers wrote:
>>>> > «
>>>> >     * There is no easy, intuitive way to create multiple scratch
>>>> > buffers. (it is done by using the switch-to-buffer command (C-x b) and
>>>> > give name that is not one of existing buffers.)
>>>> We'll have to disagree: I think that is both easy and intuitive.
>>> What seems to you intuitive is not intuitive to the general text
>>> editing audience. The text editing audience is broad, including all IT
>>> professionals, those in academics.
>> You don't have authority to speak for the general text editing audience.
>> You certainly never got my permission. 
> Well, thats not really fair. Emacs is certainly not intuitive to the
> general text editing audience since its pretty much a minority editor. I
> dont know anyone who didnt have trouble adapting to Emacs personally
> (including myself) - but its only after a while you realise the genius
> behind a lot of the UI. Things you do not see or appreciate when you
> first tackle it. 

The point wasn't really about intuitiveness, that of course in the eye
of the beholder. I certainly didn't wake up one day thinking in terms of
emacs chords; I had to learn them. I don't really think emacs is worse
than vim, wordstar, ed, edlin, or any of a dozen proprietary things I've
been forced to endure. I expect to have some learning, and I don't
expect it to match windows.

My point was that generalizing about editor users is at best difficult
and most often impossible. Arguments like "people are confused" are
silly and not persuasive. Some are confused and others are happy as

I also meant to take issue with the idea that many if not most people
confuse the number of editor users with the number of word processor
users. "Editor users" is a relatively small subset of people who write.
The difference between the users and needs is large and confusion
doesn't help.

> Can the general text editing population adapt and use it? Of course. But
> initial feedback is usually "what the hell!" :-)

Again, this sounds like comparing emacs to word processors or windows
programs. What do you imagine the initial response is for people
foolish enough to open vi on a whim? For that matter Wordperfect wasn't
exactly a model of intuitiveness and it did really well and continues as
a significant part of the legal world. I realize I just mixed word
processors with editors but my point was about the need to learn any
powerful tool.

> I mean, have you seen peoples faces when they read the manual and realise
> they have to control/meta key sequences to move the cursor left and
> right, up and down?

Actually no, I don't know any young people who use emacs and most older
folks were more interested in getting their hands dirty so to speak. 

> Please dont take these comments as support for what Xah is saying but
> there does tend to be a certain reluctance to make "common things" the
> standard in emacs which might, just might, promote adoption.

I understand. I do wonder where this idea that emacs needs to be
competitive in the market comes from. I don't see that it really matters
much to current users. People who use it will continue and developers
will continue to maintain. Why does the number of users matter? Like my
grandmother was fond of asking "If every one else sets themselves on
fire are you going too follow them"? I don't really care if everyone
move to editor X. Emacs works for me and I think it's a useful tool.
Other who want to use it are free to choose. 

I'd also add that much of this seems like a much ado about nothing.
Anyone who wants to change emacs or even fork the code is free to do so.
This seems like an attempt to convince current programmers that there is
a need to "fix" emacs or market share will shrink.  Even if that's true,
why does it matter? It's not like some company will get tired of
maintaining it and stop work.
> Things are getting better - e.g I think using the x clipboard finally
> became the default in 22. Stuff like that.

Clipboards are a good example of something that maintainers decided was a
useful change. I haven't seen anything that convinces me there is a
burning need to rearrange the default keyboard. For those who do feel
the need why not just distribute a .emacs file for dummies? The whole
thing seems to miss the point that emacs is nothing if not configurable.

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