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Re: RFC: enable ^Z by default?

From: Seb
Subject: Re: RFC: enable ^Z by default?
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2021 09:43:02 +0100 (CET)
User-agent: Alpine 2.21 (DEB 202 2017-01-01)


In the archives of the mailing list I cannot find any reasoning for disabling the ^Z keystroke by default and requiring an option (-z) or a toggle (M-Z) to enable it. I can imagine two reasons: 1) the inexperienced user might think that ^Z is Undo, and to prevent these users from being "thrown out" of nano... 2) users might sometimes hit ^Z when they mean to type ^X, and since both keystrokes kind of stop nano, to prevent any confusion...

But in editors like vim, emacs, lpe and ne, ^Z simply works, no enabling is required, so why not in nano? And if the effect of the ^Z keystroke bothers the user, they can (since version 2.1.0 from 2008) unbind the key in their nanorc. And since version 5.0 they can then still suspend nano with ^T^Z, no need for a re-enabling keystroke.

I suggest not underestimating the powerlessness and cluelessness of newbies. Most are afraid of the command line; few have heard of ^Z; even fewer would know 'fg'. It's not funny when you spend a lot of time typing a file and you find yourself locked out of it because you mistyped something and don't even know quite what you did.

Nano is the default editor for many Linux distros because it is (light, fast, but also) easier on the newbie than other editors. It is currently receiving power-user features, but these are wisely kept out of sight of newbies.

"Newbies can unbind ^Z in the conf file" sounds like a non-starter.

I wonder why Ubuntu would "set suspend" in /etc/nanorc; perhaps simply because it is set in Debian, and Ubuntu can be used without ever configuring anything through the command line.

I suggest keeping Nano easy to use and discover for new users, with more features for interested users, and unsetting ^Z seems to be along these lines.


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