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Re: Failing to see the allure of Emacs

From: address@hidden
Subject: Re: Failing to see the allure of Emacs
Date: Tue, 04 May 2010 15:43:22 -0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100227 Thunderbird/3.0.3

Dear friends, no one is immune from criticism, but I've noted with amusement how the discussion is wandering astray with misreading and misunderstanding. Did I say "that emacs lacked documentation"? No. Has "no one suggested that you read the source code"? Someone did. Are the important manuals all up to date? Obviously not. Is the documentation complete? Clearly, no. Is there lots of useful stuff there? Sure. Is it readily usable? For some people, for some purposes.

But if determined, competent, insightful people sat down to design documentation that would be complete, most usable, and most helpful over a range of users, the current emacs documentation isn't what they'd come up with. Far from it. Ask any talented documentation professional.

Maybe you're motivated to track down what I've done in free software, and what documentation I've created. But I can't do it all. I appreciate the work other determined people put in on emacs (and other free software) and documentation, but it's not immune to criticism and suggestion. Otherwise how will we improve things?

We're colleagues here, and we're all in the same bus. Let's not browbeat one another, and let's not deceive ourselves.

emacs is The One True Editor. It's a work of genius, and I've written about why that is. But I wish it had better documentation.


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