A very, very newbie question :)

Jonadab the Unsightly One jonadab at bright.net
Fri Sep 8 10:46:29 CEST 2000


aahz at panix.com (Aahz Maruch) wrote:

> > Emacs is a lifestyle choice.
> 
> That last sentence is more true than you think, I think.  

I fully realise.  It's to the point now where it bugs me when
I have to hit Alt-Tab instead of Ctrl-b (which I have bound
to cycle-buffer-permissive).  I'm perpetually trying to
cycle-buffer back to my newsreader.  (Going to learn Gnus;
just haven't done it yet.  Needs lots of configuration to
make it work the way I want...)

> The problem
> with Emacs from my POV is that I can't stand the basic editing commands,

The commands are okay.  I can't stand the default keystrokes.

I have seriously contemplated starting a wholistic rebinding
project that would end with everything rebound except M-x.
In every mode I use.  I mean rebinding Ctrl-c and Ctrl-x and
ESC and everything (except M-x).  I'd call it PC Emacs, and
the intention would be that people who aren't familiar with
Emacs could use it out of the box with very little initial
learning curve.  If I had several lifetimes to spare I'd do it.

> and would therefore be perpetually dependent on carting around a huge
> init file.  

I can't function in Emacs without my site-lisp.  Not even
counting installed modules from third parties (without which 
stuff breaks), my customisations come to something like 170K.
If you count third-party modules, my site-lisp tree comes to
about 17MB.  I could do without some of that (psgml...) in 
a pinch, but if I were to use Emacs regularly on any system
I'd want it all.

Which is one reason I don't install Emacs at work.  The
other reason is that I use some dozen different computers
there (half of which are Macs), not one of which is just
mine to use.  (Being the "computer guy", I get to work
with all of them, but none exclusively.)  So on the PCs
I install PFE and leave it at that.  (Actually, I've also
been putting ws_ftp LE on all of them (yes, it's legal;
we're strictly non-commercial).)

> That's why I stick with vi, which is *always* available 

Clearly you work on mainly Unix systems.  Vi would only 
be available on *any* computer I use if I installed it 
there.  (Granted, on my Linux partition it's there,
because I went ahead and installed it when I installed
everything else; but I've never used it.)

I've thought about learning vim.  I probably will at
some point.  But just at the moment I'm learning Python
and Perl/Tk (I already know Perl; just adding Tk), and
C is also on my learn-soon list, as well as Gnus...
It seems every time I check an item OFF my to-learn
list, two more items appear.  Heh.

> only requires four or five lines of .exrc to customize it to my
> preferences.  A bit less power, in the end, but the price is worth it.

I keep UED around for emergencies when Emacs is not, for one
reason or another, available.  Not a lot of power, but way
WAY better than Notepad, and the keystrokes are sensible,
and it's only 38704 bytes, and it runs out of plain old DOS.  
All my boot floppies have it.  I also use UED when I need
to shunt around a lot of rectangular blocks, because Emacs
can do it, but it's a pain, and I could make it less of a
pain by writing another lisp module, but it's easier to
spawn off UED on the occasion that I need that functionality.
If I ever migrate to Linux I'll have to write the lisp 
module to make Emacs do it, I suppose.  Unless I want to 
mess with dosemu every time.

Also, "four or five lines of .exrc" would not suffice
to customise vim to my preferences.  For one thing,
I want the cursor keys to work in a normal fashion
(So, home goes to beginning of line, Ctrl-home goes
to beginning of document, et cetera, like 99% of all
applications I've ever used; this stuff is hardwired
into my brain (nay, into my fingers).)  There will
NOT be any nonsense about using Ctrl-f (Emacs) or 
h (or whatever it was in vim) to move the cursor 
right.  That's what the right arrow is for.  And
until all that works as expected the editor isn't 
usable even for editing its own configuration file;
I'd be more comfortable using the COPY command.

So, anyway, back to learning Python...  the sooner
I scratch that off my list the sooner I can add
a couple more things to the bottom.  Perchance
mayhap vim will be one of them.  I think I'd
rather learn vim than Java...

- jonadab



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