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

Matt Wheeler m at funkyhat.org
Fri Dec 16 09:03:02 EST 2016

On Wed, 14 Dec 2016, 01:06 Skip Montanaro, <skip.montanaro at gmail.com> wrote:

I know this isn't a Python-specific question, but i got zero useful
responses from the help-gnu-emacs list for some reason. I think this
expression should not evaluate to the empty set:

set(python_programmers) & set(emacs_users) & set(new_macbookpro_owners)

So I fit 2 of these, but am a vim user rather than emacs.

Hopefully there are a few people out there who've had an opportunity to try
the new ESC-less Pros with the Touch Bar for an extended period of time.
Does the lack of a physical ESC key create problems for people, especially
Emacs users?

No. I think as long as you're happy with the keyboard the esc key is fine.
I happen to like short travel keyboards, and while the lack of physical
feedback from the touch bar when hitting esc was slightly jarring initially
I got used to it within a day.
That short travel is worth bearing in mind in general though, I know a lot
of people say they don't like that.

Just to head off a couple suggestions people might be inclined to make...
Yes, I know I can use C-[ or the Alt key instead of ESC. I can remap other
keys like Caps Lock or the back tick. I can also buy some other laptop with
a true ESC key, or buy a 13-inch MBP sans Touch Bar. I do plan to try out

The 13" without touch bar only has 2 usb-c ports, which I know is a whole
other discussion but I've found the 2 ports on a side of the 15" a bit too
cramped for some of my accessories.

Emacs on a Touch-Bar-equipped MacBook Pro at the Apple Store, but a few
minutes horsing around in the din of holiday shopping isn't the same as an
extended test drive in my usual environment.

So, for those of you who've tried it, does the lack of a physical ESC key
create problems?

So... Not for me, but obviously with the caveats above. Giving it a try in
an Apple store is definitely a good idea :)


Matt Wheeler

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