The Modernization of Emacs

Harry George at
Tue Jun 19 07:14:38 CEST 2007

Galen Boyer <galen_boyer at> writes:

> On Mon, 18 Jun 2007, jadamson at wrote:
> > The problem with this line of thinking is that it aims to make Emacs
> > appeal to people -- I think it is rather the other way around.
> > Certain people appeal to Emacs:  certain kinds of people like Emacs
> > and the way it is set up, and they change it to suit their needs.
> Emacs will always be for people who like to be able to constantly fiddle
> with their environments which continues to increase the efficiency with
> which they perform their tasks, increasing the # of tasks they can
> perform and therefore increasing the # of peers it would take to equal
> the amount of work they alone perform.  Most other environments will be
> for those just trying to perform their tasks and staying even with the
> average proficiency chart.
> -- 
> Galen Boyer

"constantly fiddle"

I've used emacs since the 1980's.  I've used it for text, xml, html
markups, programming in many languages, and natural languages.  In a
few cases I've "fiddled" with the environment.  I've even written a
"mode".  But it has never been "constantly".  One does the setup, and
then uses it day after day, year after year... until you have a new
need, in which case you re-tune your settings and then go back to

"trying to perform their tasks...average proficiency"

Aye, there's the rub.  As Fred Brooks and others repeatedly point out,
there is little room in programming for average proficiency.

I don't mind folks using any editor they want, as long as they are
proficient.  In those cases, I have no problem doing Extreme
Programming with them -- code a bit, save, the other guy codes a bit.
But when someone uses vi and then forgets how to do block moves, or
uses eclipse and bogs down the session, or uses MS Notepad and can't
enforce language-specific indents, I get frustrated.

Harry George
PLM Engineering Architecture

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