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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: Tue, 30 Sep 2008 21:37:46 -0400
User-agent: slrn/0.9.8.0 (Linux)

Richard Riley wrote:
> stan <address@hidden> writes:
>
>> Richard Riley wrote:
>>> stan <address@hidden> writes:
>>>
>>>> Xah wrote:
>>>>> Kevin Rodgers wrote:
>>>>>
<snip>
>> 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
>> clams. 
>
> Only if one thinks in B&W. I think it was fairly obvious that Xah was
> not suggesting for one minute that 100% of people were confused.

I think you missed the point here. It's not B&W it's also the grey. The
NUMBER doesn't matter. It could be all, none, or something in between.

>> 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.
>
> I'm not sure I noticed that issue but of course you are right.
>
>> The difference between the users and needs is large and confusion
>> doesn't help.
>
> I'm not sure of the relevance. We are talking about the "generally
> perceived" or noticed reaction to emacs by people who try it. My own
> experience is that most people go "yuck" - until they dig further and
> find what it can really do with a bit of work. Often it takes some hand
> holding. I know I had to gird my loins once or twice and dive back in
> when I had got frustrated with it.

Which is my point. Generalizing is impossible and unhelpful here.

>>> 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
>
> vi would be there too as something not particularly suited to new
> "general" users. But we were discussing emacs.

The point was about intuitiveness of emacs. I'm pointing out that the
emacs isn't unique or even different; the playing filed is basically
level. Powerful or simple for newbies; pick one.

>> 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 agree. But as an editor some of the defaults are quite a hurdle to new
> users. There are not many seasoned users who would disagree with that I
> would think. The task is to convince new users that the effort and
> learning curve is worth it.

This sounds like more confusion about the users. Many if not most users
of text editors are programmers, agreed? You can't include word
processor users who want WYSIWYG stuff, we're talking pure text here. Of
the programming users, most will try an IDE and stick with it until they
find a need for something more powerful. At that point it is
unreasonable to expect high power and no learning. 

>>> 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. 
>
> So you are arguing from a point of view with little practical experience
> of new users? 

I don't know any recent programmers who have jumped ship from their
favorite IDE's. On windows it's almost painful to not use Visual Studio.
In other worlds, Java has their own pretty popular stuff. The people I
know using standalone editors are experienced enough to not have real
problems. I know several who can't make up their minds about which
editor to use and in a sense they are new users. They simply don't
respond like you describe. 

>>> 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
>
> It does to me. The more people who use it the better it will be
> maintained and the more utilities will be developed to a point of
> usefulness.

On what do you base that claim. How many emacs hackers do you know?

>> will continue to maintain. Why does the number of users matter? Like
>> my
>
> I like to advocate good OSS apps. Emacs is one such. I am surprised that
> you are not interested in furthering its use. Yet at the same time you
> have strong views on how it should or should not be tweaked to ease the
> learning curve for new users.

I'm interested in emacs, I'm not interested in evangelism. 

As for tweaking, I'm opposed to changes that will prevent users from
taking advantage of the large body of existing knowledge. There's a lot
of help available for the standard configuration, but there's relatively
little for people using the cua stuff, for example. To me it's simply
easier to get your feet wet and then figure out what you want to change
and how to make the changes. 

>> 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. 

> But it is rather naive to think that more users does not safeguard and
> enhance an application especially one which so much relies on users
> contributions and maintenance.

For commercial software you are probably correct. For much open or free
stuff I really don't think it makes all that much difference. The number
of maintainers isn't likely to change much if the number of users
increases by a factor of 10. It's pretty likely that a decrease of the
same magnitude probably wouldn't make much difference either. Most of
the maintainers are actually using emacs and maintain it for that
reason. Of course some features and "enhancements" might take longer or
never happen. 

>> 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.
>
> Don't be silly. We are talking NEW users. New users do not pile in and
> write elisp :-;

How come it's not new users complaining? It's existing users who think
it will help make emacs cool.

>> 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.
>
> You seem almost as if you would not care if emacs lost users. This
> surprises me. I would like it to attract more and more. 

I would sleep just fine whether emacs was the most popular app on the
planet or if I was the last user. I have many more important things in
my life to worry about.

>>> 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
>
> It took a long time....
>
>> 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.
>
> I dont think anyone is suggesting any thing other than that. 
>
> Anyway, thats my tuppence worth. I do not offer a perfect solution only
> the reflection that anything that can be done to make Emacs easier for
> the new adopter which does not contribute it for the emacs power user
> can only be a good thing.

Keep in mind that these "improvements" will show up on every user who
updates, even the experienced users. Making available a special .emacs
to accommodate new people might be an acceptable option. That way the
people you seem to think exist will have fewer problems and the existing
user base will never have to waste time working around "improvements".

> Emacs is a wonderfully customisable work horse and well worth the effort
> needed to familiarise oneself with it.

Agreed.


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