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Re: Is Emacs on Aqua crippleware or is it just broken?

From: BK
Subject: Re: Is Emacs on Aqua crippleware or is it just broken?
Date: 7 May 2003 09:15:38 -0700

Jerry Kindall <address@hidden> wrote ...

> > On the Mac, HIG is the local custom and therefore it is only
> > reasonable to expecrt that any foreign application coming to Mac land
> > can will respect the native customs and accept them as being normal,
> > while its own foreign customs, although they might be accepted, will
> > remain foreign.
> No, you've got it backwards.  When you launch Emacs, you tell your Mac
> "I want to travel to Emacs-land" and implicitly accept its foreign
> customs.

In other words it's a gateway/compatibility application. Fair enough,
I don't necessarily have a problem with that view, but the issue
Mr.Scholz raised was purely about my choice of language when I
referred to Apple style keyboard shortcuts. Therefore, my response was
only supposed to address his objection to my chosing the word
"normal". It was not meant to suggest that anyone can conclude from
this that the Emacs shortcuts are wrong or bad or inacceptable.

The point was that on a Mac, it will have to be permissible to call
Apple style shortcuts "normal" without being flamed for that choice of

In other words, I felt that there was a very strong likelihood that
Mr.Sholz may have been overreacting to the term "normal" not being
applied in his own favourite way and I didn't want to put it to him in
such direct terms. So, instead I chose to use his metaphor to answer.

> Emacs is practically an OS of its own -- it includes a
> Turing-complete programming language with which mail and news readers,
> and other applications, have been implemented, all inside the editor. 
> In short, launching Emacs and complaining about the keyboard shortcuts
> is like launching Windows under Virtual PC and complaining that all the
> windows are funny-looking.

Ah, you didn't read my post then, did you? First, I didn't complain,
certainly not about which flavour of shortcuts should prevail. I
described various observations and asked for each of them whether or
not I was to expect that kind of behaviour (feature) or not (bug).

If the answer to all of those items had been, "Yep, it is supposed to
be that way", I'd have said "OK, fair enough, but how am I supposed to
paste and how am I supposed to quit and why does this book I have that
lists all those Emacs keyboard shortcuts get it so wrong?"

OTOH, if the answer had been, "No this is supposed to work", then I'd
have said "OK, how can I fix it?"

Unfortunately people chose to nitpick on a few narrow things and flame
me, trying to make me look bad in the process.

I don't really care how pasting is done with Emacs, but I expect there
to be at least one method that works. So if the Emacs way of pasting
doesn't seem to work, then I try various Mac specific methods and see
if any of them work. After all it is a Mac port of Emacs, so there is
the odd chance that the developers have put a higher priority on the
Mac methods than on the Emacs methods. How would I know. So, just to
make sure I covered each and every possibility I can think of, I
listed them all and then, not knowing whether they are actually
supposed to work, I asked if this was to be expected.

If the Emacs methods had worked, I might still have tried the Mac
methods, but I would then have assumed that it was not intended to
give Emacs those methods if they hadn't worked. However, what I
experienced was that no method worked and it struck me as odd, because
the state that this Emacs is in is definitely not usable for editing.

Although I have mentioned and described this again and again, most
people have chosen to ignore the fact that I cannot paste *at all* and
that I cannot quit other than by using kill -9.

Instead they have chosen to nitpick on things like the use of the word
"normal" when referring to the Apple style keyboard shortcuts. If you
thoroughly read my post, you will find that I first described how it
works on a Mac, then saying that it doesn't work that way on Emacs
*followed* by a comment that this is not really a problem because if
you wanted Apple style shortcuts, Emacs does allow customisation to
turn this back to "normal". What's wrong with that?

What I did describe as a real problem was the fact that neihter the
Mac nor the Emacs method for pasting worked, leaving me without any
way to paste *at all*.

> If Emacs worked like a Mac program, it wouldn't be Emacs anymore...

Perhaps this is so, but I think if you were to try to use the Emacs
that I have been struggling with, you would very likely say that it
isn't Emacs anymore either, not because of any Macintoshisms but
because it is simply not in a usable state.

Then again, if you are an Emacs old-hand, you'd probably have all that
fixed in less than a minute and ask, what's all the fuzz about,
nothing wrong with it, only misconfigured (or whatever).

The trouble is, I am totally stuck because I am not an Emacs old-hand
and I don't have a clue how to fix it. And by "fix" I don't mean to
make it use Mac style shortcuts, at least not necessarily.

Do I think that an Aqua Emacs *should* open files when dropping them
on the Emacs icon? Yes, I think it should. Am I going to make a stink
if I am told it doesn't? No, I won't.

Do I think that an Aqua Emacs *should* allow mouse dragged text
snippets to be dropped in? Usually I would take it as a pleasant
surprise, but in the *absence of any other way to paste*, I am
inclined to expect it as a possible subsitute for pasting.

Do I think that an Aqua Emacs *should* quit when one chooses "Quit" in
the application menu or in the dock menu. Yes, I think it should. Am I
going to make a stink if I am told it doesn't? No, I won't, but I will
wonder what the developer was thinking when he put the "Quit" option
into the menu.

Do I think that an Aqua Emacs *should* provide all the Mac style
keyboard shortcuts? I honestly can't tell, but if the corresponding
Emacs shortcuts don't work, I'd say then at least the Mac style
shortcuts should work instead. Am I going to make a stink if I am told
it doesn't support Mac style shortcuts. No, I won't, but I will call
it severely broken if most of the Emacs shortcuts are deaf *and* the
Mac style shortcuts don't work either.


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