The Modernization of Emacs: terminology buffer and keybinding

Gian Uberto Lauri saint at
Wed Jun 27 10:18:14 CEST 2007

>>>>> Long count =; tzolkin = 2 Cib; haab = 4 Tzec.
>>>>> I get words from the Allmighty Great Gnus that
>>>>> "T" == Twisted  <twisted0n3 at> writes:

T> On Jun 26, 6:06 am, Gian Uberto Lauri <s... at>
T> wrote:
>> >> What's your problem ?
>> >> Ofcourse a mere program-consumer would not look what was being
>> >> installed on his/her system in the first place ...  So after
>> some >> trivial perusing what was installed and where : WOW Look,
>> MA !  >> .... it's all there!
>> >> lpr /usr/local/share/emacs/21.3/etc/ or your >>
>> install-dir........^ ^ or your >>
>> version.............................^
n> So now we're expected to go on a filesystem fishing expedition
n> instead of just hit F1? One small step (backwards) for a man; one
n> giant leap (backwards) for mankind. :P

T> [snipping some thinly-veiled insults and irrelevancies throughout]

>> There's a program called find, not this intuitive but worth
>> learning
>> It could solve the problem from the root with something like
>> find / -name -exec lpr {} \; 2> /dev/null

T> Let me get this straight.

T> In this corner, we have just about every Windows application ever
T> developed. When a user needs help, a click on the "help" menu or
T> tap of the F1 key is all it takes to obtain some. Sometimes the
T> help is not of the greatest quality, but that is another issue we
T> won't concern ourselves with here.

Hmmm. I just activated the help  hitting F1... WOHA, it says that if I
press k after F1 I get the description of what that key does...

T> In the other corner, we have just about every Unix application ever
T> developed. When a user needs help, they may do such things as
T> manually explore the directories where the application was
T> installed

Ever heard about the man command ? Is the first thing you learn to

T> Or alternatively
T> it can just magically come to them as a divinely inspired insight,

If they are Windows user, I pity them, their brain could have been
damaged beyond repair.

They'll never  be blessed by  the idea that  programs can do  work for
them, and will bash restlessy their keyboard in antiquate sequences of
pre-automatic-controls  tasks (as  a  reference, take  a  look to  the
Metropolis movie)

T> or in a dream or a burning bush or stone tablets from heaven or
T> something, that something useful might happen if the unlikely
T> combination of symbols "find / -name -exec lpr {} \; 2>
T> /dev/null"

Nothing this divine. Just someone a bit more experienced than you are.

On the other  hand I never seen such thing like  a refcard, that's not
in the  standard documentation  system for such  a modern  toxic waste
like Word.

T> obviously never occur to them. Even if they knew the find tool and
T> its syntax, it would still have to somehow occur to them that
T> "" might be a useful search target.

Strange. I am *NOT* a native english speaker and I think my Q.I. tends
toward average from below, but refcard sound very useful to me, maybe
is short for "reference card" ?

T> came to shove, clicking Start->Search and putting in ".hlp" and
T> "C:\Program Files\Appname" would quickly find any help files.

I admit. find is less intuitive. But the stuff Windows comes with does
just that  and nothing more. It  will never suggest you  that the long
boring  task expecting  you can  be solved  in a  completely automatic
way with a little creative job.

T> most usually the help files would be named to end with
T> .hlp.

All, or  that impaired of  a O.S. could  not understand they  are help

T> Moreover, once found, a quick double click and they're in a
T> hypertext browser viewing the help.

Emacs  help was  hypertextual  when Dr.  Watson  plagued Windowd  3.11

T> Unless I miss my guess,
T> would require mucking about installing and configuring
T> Ghostscript and GSView,

Splash, large miss. 

You usually fire it to the local printer.

Uh, I  understand. A Windows user  could never have  shared its HP720c
printer... Windows printer driver aren't known to be smart.

Not an Emacs flaw.

T> enough. Trying to read anything serious and navigate in GSView is
T> no picnic either.

A refcard, my dear, is something that goes on an A4/Letter sheet and
NEEDS NOT to be hypertextual.

T> Reader *might* be able to do more with a .ps file

With a PS file you can do  just one thing, execute it. It's a program,
did you know ?

Ah, I never use Acroread. Xpdf does all the things really needed. 

Uh, I forget. For  Windows users getting a PDF out of  a PS or HTML or
ASCII is  not this easy unless  they get some  extra software (someone
ported CUPS to Windows ?). Again, not an Emacs fault.

T> On a Unix box, if you don't know exactly how to get
T> some app viewing a .ps file and how to navigate in it I'm guessing
T> you're SOL.

Stop guessing or all will know that all you know about Unix is that
is a 4 letter word, the first a capital U, the last an x.

On a  Unix system either YOU are  the sysadmin and know  about all the
stuff  you need to  view, concot,  print and  bit-recycle PS  files or
there's a sysadmin that did this for you. All with free (as in freedom)

Most Unix users thinks that Word is a typewriter on steroids not worth
using due  its poor  output on  paper, and are  used to  a typesetting
system that  deals effortlessy with PS,  PDF and so on.  Uh, oh, Emacs
hypertextual manuals can  be turned into a PS or PDF  ready for a fine
professional printer...

T> The original suggestion with "lpr" implies printing it
T> rather than viewing it online, which a) costs money and b) requires
T> configuring a printer and a Postscript interpreter, given that
T> unless the printer cost more than the computer's CPU it surely
T> won't natively grok Postscript.

I will call you if I need some advice about cars. Maybe.

But not at all for computers. is  something you print and  keep on a side  when you start
using Emacs,  as a  REFERENCE for  the key sequence,  in the  case you
forget some of them. 

All the  computer screen is devoted  to your work,  the sheet provides
some extra  "real estate" for the  help information, a  sort of double
heading  display. All  you  need to  do  is turn  your  eyes from  the
monitor, maybe  your eyes and  read the informations. It  coudl happen
that you need to  flip the sheet. But you can keep  both your work and
the help text  "ready at your fingertips", and  this is useful indeed:
you read the  command keybinding, turn your eyes, type  it and see the
result and/or continue your work.

Online viewing. Great deal.

Flip windows  until you  reach refcard. Read  the command.  Flip again
windows until  you reach  Emacs. Use the  command (but you  could have
forgot the key sequence - redo from start.

About money.  Indeed ink/toner and  paper costs. Electricity  grows on
the spark tree so aboundant in our forests...

Configuring a printer.  Yes you  need to configure a printer. You need
it  with Windows  too. But  if your  Windows printer  driver  does not
handle PostScript (or if it does not let you share your printer) *now*
you are  SOL. PostScript  printing on a  Windows system that  does not
support PS is a pain in the ass.

But PostScript printing on my  '80 Epson printwriter or my HP720c with
a Unix  system with CUP is as  easy as opening a  browser, telling the
system I have a HP720c plugged to the parallel port and voilà.

And I can even share my HP720c.

P> We're back to configuring
T> Ghostscript, only this time on the Unix box where I have no doubt
T> it's even more painful than it is on a Windoze box, as well as
T> configuring a printer on a Unix box, itself a recurring nightmare
T> of mine for years now since one night in the nineties when I got
T> caught in the crossfire between someone's Epson inkjet and their
T> Mandrake 7.somethingorother Linux.

O poor boy. It was a job for someone else indeed.

In the  same time I got  an HP720c and  it come with no  other drivers
than Mac and  Windows ones. I feared  I was SOL when I  readed of some
guy that  wrote a small  program that was  able to convert  certain gs
output to byte sequences good to pilot the HP720c.

It was  *easy* to  put this  program in the  pipeline in  the "printer
driver" script.

And was *easy* insert a2ps to shoot plain text directly to the printer.

Before,  I used an  Epson pinwriter  (24 pin  head). Again,  never had
problems  (unless  it was  dead  slow).  On  the other  hand  printing
directly some plain text under Windwos...

T> Reexamining that "find" line it looks like it tries to
T> automatically "lpr" the file(s) found.

Looks like ???? Hey, it doesn't look like, it's wat it's mean to do!

T> That is cause for concern,
T> since I can easily see something like this going into Sorceror's
T> Apprentice mode and costing you a fortune in ink and paper if
T> there's either a misspelling or other mistake (easy enough to make
T> in a complex arcane command line like that one) or more
T> "" matches than you expected there'd be in the target
T> directory and its descendants.

You are not one good for the computers, I see.

The good  thing in  bash is  that I can  use the  history to  recall a
command line. So you can first see what find finds, and then rerun the
program (search results get cached,  so there's an incredible boost of

Second. When you learn how useful *is* find used that way, you *don't*
do the mispelling  or other mistakes (as a smart  person, you first do
the dryrun). 

Ah, you'll start  thinking that those who find  find syntax arcane are
jackass... You  need a little to realize  it was not this  easy in the
beginning. The dark side of power.

 /\           ___
/___/\_|_|\_|__|___Gian Uberto Lauri_____
  //--\| | \|  |   Integralista GNUslamico
\/                 e coltivatore diretto di Software

A Cesare avrei detto di scrivermi a fnvag at

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