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Re: Poll about proposed change in DEL (aka Backspace) and Delete

From: Joel James Adamson
Subject: Re: Poll about proposed change in DEL (aka Backspace) and Delete
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 11:17:06 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.110018 (No Gnus v0.18) Emacs/23.2 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <> writes:

> Here are the questions we hope you will answer:
> * Are you in favor of this change?


> * Are you opposed to this change?


> * How strongly do you feel about the matter?

I feel that maintaining the editor-unique nature of the Emacs delete
key, rather than adopting the behavior of word processors is crucial to
maintaining the uniqueness of Emacs.  It's one of the reasons I use
Emacs: the Emacs way makes sense in a way that I strongly prefer.  I
never liked the behavior of deleting whole selected regions and I prefer
the Emacs way.

> We don't want to just "count votes" -- we want to understand
> how this affects users.  So if you care about the issue,
> please tell us how the change affects your editing.
> * What are the cases where you find it helps?

I don't really know of any.

> * What are the cases where you find it hurts?

If I want to delete a large block of text, I want to either drag the
mouse and use mouse-3, or use C-w.  I don't see how it helps to replace
this behavior with something that emphasizes the region only as
something to be deleted.  

> * What is your level of Emacs experience?

I've been using Emacs daily for six years, and Unix editors before that
for over twelve years.  I do all my major computer interaction from
within Emacs, with the exception of web browsing.

> A further change in the same area has been suggested: when there is an
> active region, a self-inserting character would delete the region
> before the character is inserted by default.
> * What would you think of this further change?

I don't like this idea.  My hand could slip and a whole region would
disappear.  I might have been planning to do something else with it.

Feel free to contact me for further discussion.  Basically my opinion
boils down to feeling that the way of text editors should be kept in
line with its historical roots.  If there is some known advantage to
adopting CUA behavior, then I don't know it myself.  Another huge
advantage of Emacs for me was that from years of experience with Unix
editors, I already knew many of the Emacs commands, and the behavior
you're proposing to change was one of them.



Joel J. Adamson
Servedio Lab -- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
FSF Member #8164 --

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