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Re: key mapping convention

From: Mathias Dahl
Subject: Re: key mapping convention
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 10:56:31 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.90 (windows-nt)

Christopher Küttner <address@hidden> writes:

> I am using the mighty Editor since a few months now and I must make
> a decision.  Should I tweak the Editor to work like my operating
> system, that means using CUA and so on.  Or should I tweak the
> operating system such that it works like the Editor (eg C-y as
> "paste" ect)?
> I want to decide this once for a lifetime.  Which is the way to go?
> Which way is better? Where is the origin of the way Emacs does it?
> Any thoughts, scientific or religious are welcome.

When I started using Emacs on Windows I was lucky; I had used Oracle's
Sql*Plus tool a lot and to copy and paste in there C-Insert and
S-Insert was the keys to use. And I happily noticed that while C-c and
C-v did not work as I expected, the C-Insert and S-Insert did. Back
then (1997, using Windows 3.11 or Windows NT 3.51) most other
shortcuts was not as "standard" as they are today so I did not care
thet C-s did not save or that C-o did not open a new file. Everything
that was common to all apps (apart from Sql*Plus and Emacs, and MS-DOS
windows...) was C-v, C-c and C-x.

Back then I put save and open and similar on the F-keys for easy
access, so I never bothered to learn the standard keys in Emacs. But
over the years I learnt the standard keys, if only for situations
where I did not have access to my .emacs file. Today I am happily
using C-x C-s, C-y, M-w etc, in Emacs, but Windows' standard keys in
Windows, and 95 % of the time, my brain handles it well and does not
mess up. In some way it knows where I am and DTRT.

I recently got a friend trying Emacs on Windows. He was very reluctant
at first, he even made a try some year ago and gave up (that time he
decided to learn vanilla Emacs bindings). This year he tried again,
now with a different mindset; he would try to make bindings and other
things he was used to from other editors the same in Emacs, so he
enabled CUA-mode and pc-selection-mode and others, and he now seem to
have gotten over the largest hirdle in Emacs, "that everything is
strange", and has actually started to see the benefits of using it,
all cool features etc.

It's hard to suggest what you should do, I guess it depends on what OS
you use. Under GNU/Linux you will have a better chance getting the OS
work like Emacs, especially if you live inside Bash and similar
tools. Under Windows I find it is hard to do this (yes I know about
that Japanese app that tries to emulate Emacs keybindings all over the

Good luck!

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