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Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?

From: Jim Janney
Subject: Re: What's your favourite *under_publicized* editing feature ofEmacs?
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:32:28 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1 (gnu/linux)

Cthun <address@hidden> writes:

> On 28/02/2011 6:38 AM, Jim Janney wrote:
>> Cthun<address@hidden>  writes:
>>> On 25/02/2011 1:43 PM, Jim Janney wrote:
>>>> Anything I'm working on that would be expensive to lose goes under
>>>> version control anyway.
>>> Then woe betide you if you ever work on, say, a novel rather than a
>>> computer program.
>> I haven't written any novels, but the purpose of a version control
>> system is to manage text
> First of all, the purpose of a version control system is to manage
> text that's compilable by build tools

That's a bit like saying that the purpose of Usenet is pointless
bickering; while that is one of the uses to which it's commonly put,
it's hardly the only one

> and moreover, word
> processor documents are typically binary files, which version control
> systems cope poorly with. Subversion's diff tool will not play nicely
> with .doc files, Janney, and without it there is little point in using
> version control.

I did say text; clever of you to pick up on that.

>> I rarely lose work due to power failures or software crashes
> That is easily accomplished without using version control,
> Janney. Saving frequently and having a backup tool suffices for normal
> people.

And it can be accomplished even more easily with Emacs and any one of a
number of version control systems.

>> but I often experiment with making changes that I later decide not
>> to use.  With a revision control system it's easy to do that and
>> still get back to a good version.
> It's much easier to do that with COPY FOO.DOC FOO.DOC.BAK, Janney.
>> I could work without one, but I would have to do everything more
>> slowly and carefully.
> Right click, drop, "copy here" is not especially slow, particularly
> compared to learning all of the complexities of a version control
> system, Janney. Version control systems have servers, clients, complex
> command lines for checking things in and out of them, and so on and
> have to be found, downloaded, installed, and configured. You need to
> set up your router/firewall to hide the server from the rest of the
> internet for security reasons. You have to set up some loopback
> interface port for the server to use and then point the client at
> You may even have to put all those numbers on every
> single command line to check in or check out a file, depending on the
> software you chose, Janney.

That would certainly be a lot of work, if it were indeed necessary.  It
may please you to learn that, if you're not sharing your work with
others, there are a number of version control systems -- including
Subversion -- for which none of that is necessary.  All you need is the
local file system and no server.  Good news!

> All of this complexity, when you could just alt, f, "save as" or right
> click, "copy here" or COPY FOO.DOC FOO.DOC.BAK, Janney.

That's rather more work than simply hitting a few key strokes in Emacs.
And you get less for it.

Jim Janney

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