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Re: Time to throw away my LOVE - Emacs ?

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Time to throw away my LOVE - Emacs ?
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 17:36:02 -0000
User-agent: tin/1.4.5-20010409 ("One More Nightmare") (UNIX) (Linux/2.0.35 (i686))

David Kastrup <address@hidden> wrote on 08 Jun 2004 11:08:00 +0200:
> Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden> writes:

>> Miles Bader <address@hidden> wrote on Tue, 08 Jun 2004 07:26:45 +0900:

>> > The claim that windows tools result in `higher productivity' seem
>> > pretty specious to me in any case.  What I've seen of windows
>> > programming environments has been more like a cesspit of
>> > mediocrity hiding under a pretty face.

>> Tell me, where is this pretty face (Windows's, not yours ;-)?
>> Whenever I've had to use such, I find myself overwhelmed by rows and
>> columns of menus, toolbars, subtoolbars, labelled mostly with obscure
>> symbols, with a total complexity exceding that of the pilot's console
>> on a 1960's passenger airliner.

> Welcome to Emacs/XEmacs 21.  While the Mac and Windows users have not
> yet seen all the graphic glory you so loudly deplore in released
> versions (kind of ironic, isn't it?), the next release will sport them
> on _every_ platform, not just X11 that already has them.

Oh no they won't!  They most certainly won't be appearing on my beloved
Linux tty, where I run Emacs.  (I only ever start Emacs in X for testing

But I'm not knocking GUI systems in general.  It's just that things have
got beyond a joke.  When menu systems were invented, you'd typically have
a "2 dimensional" menu structure with a total of 40 or so conceptually
distinct items, which was fine.  I thought my Atari-ST was fabulous.

Now on a typical GUI program, you have a 3 or 4 dimensional structure,
some items of which sprout dialog boxes, themselves with several
"registers" (I think that's what they're called), sometimes even with an
extended tree structure beneath them.  How easy are these to use?  When
one sees a menu item labelled "save as..." or "exit", as in the good old
days, that's fine.  But when the item is labelled "system" what does this
mean?  Or, what about "format"?  Does this mean "please reformat my text"
or "please show me a list of possible formats" or "please create a new
format" or even "please initialize an email buffer, to be sent to my
friend Matt"?  Is it really easier to learn/use such a thing than
learning/using lots of distinct key bindings or command options from a
man page?  I doubt it.

The same applies to toolbars.  If there are nine or ten of them for
commonly used purposes, fine.  But what if there are 40 or 100 of these
cute little pictures littering the screen, for each and every last
possible obscure operation?  I'm looking at StarOffice at the moment.
What does the little house mean?  Might I regret it if I click on it?
There's also a picture looking something like a 4-bladed fan - I'm scared
something might hit this.  ;-(

I know this is drifting off topic.  But I hope Emacs never degenerates
into the sort of ghastly abortion that so often passes for a "user
friendly" program nowadays.

> David Kastrup

Alan Mackenzie (Munich, Germany)
Email: address@hidden; to decode, wherever there is a repeated letter
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