OT - "Soft" ESC key on the new MacBook Pro

Skip Montanaro skip.montanaro at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 12:46:47 EST 2016

> If you need a full time ESC key then you are just "typing it wrong" as Steve Jobs
> would say if he wasn't dead.

Shouldn't the use of ESC, C-[, Alt, or some other mapped key be
treated as a valid personal preference?

I've been using some variety of Emacs (there have been many) since the
early 80s on many different operating systems, with keyboards (or
terminals - think VT100, VT52, or ADM3a) of all types. I think when I
first started using Gosmacs on a VMS machine, ESC was the prefix key,
and Alt wasn't used.

Over the years, I have remapped the backtick and Caps Lock, keys, used
C-[ or Alt, none of which I find suitable, either because I don't wind
up with the same setup across multiple machines (what's the Windows
equivalent of xmodmap?), the darn thing moves around (Sun and PC101
keyboards were always different), is hidden (Alt keys are always
hiding somewhere under my left or right hands), or actually use those
remapped keys for useful stuff already. By-in-large, the ESC key has
remained in the same place on all the keyboards I've ever used. I
trust that a soft ESC key on the Touch Bar will probably be in just
about the right place. My fingers know where the ESC key is without
thinking. I use multiple platforms from time-to-time (typing right now
on a Dell keyboard connected to a Windows machine running Remote
Desktop to connect to a DMZ-hosted Windows machine). My current aging
MBP has a physical ESC key, as does the Apple keyboard attached to my
wife's iMac (which I sometimes use). I'm specifically interested in
how the lack of a physical ESC key affects people who do are used to
the real deal.

If nobody has any experience because the Touch-Bar-equipped MBPs are
too new, that's fine. I thought some people would have purchased it by


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