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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: Tue, 01 Mar 2011 10:39:47 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1 (gnu/linux)

k'Chu <address@hidden> writes:

> On 28/02/2011 11:32 PM, Jim Janney wrote:
>> Cthun<address@hidden>  writes:
>>> On 28/02/2011 6:38 AM, Jim Janney wrote:
>>>> 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
>
> What does your classic unsubstantiated and erroneous claim have to do
> with Lisp, Janney? Saying version control is for novels is like saying
> the purpose of Usenet is pointless bickering, Janney; saying it's for
> source code is like saying the purpose of Usenet is for
> discussion. Your mistake is rather ironic, though, considering your
> own considerable recent contributions to the misuse of Usenet for
> pointless bickering, Janney.
>
>> while that is one of the uses to which it's commonly put,
>> it's hardly the only one
>
> What does that have to do with Lisp, Janney?
>
>>> 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.
>
> Plain, unformatted ASCII text, Janney, which is hardly useful for
> writing novels and articles. Novels tend to contain italics and other
> formatting here and there, Janney, whereas articles frequently contain
> scientific and mathematical symbols that do not exist in ASCII or
> sometimes even Unicode, and tables, graphs, charts, and formatted
> equations that cannot be represented nicely using a grid of
> characters.
>
>>>> 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.
>
> What does your classic unsubstantiated and erroneous claim have to do
> with Lisp, Janney? Occasionally hitting control-S and backing up your
> files regularly is a lot easier than learning Emacs, 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
>>> 127.0.0.1:portno. 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.
>
> What does your classic unsubstantiated and erroneous claim have to do
> with Lisp, Janney? Version control systems are inherently complex and
> inherently client/server oriented, Janney; if they weren't they'd be
> useless for their primary purpose, which is to enable collaborative
> software development, Janney.
>
>>> 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.
>
> It's rather less work than struggling to learn, and later struggling
> to remember, those "few key strokes in Emacs", Janney. Not to mention
> the sprained wrists from tying your hands into pretzels trying to hit
> seven different modifier keys simultaneously, Janney. Emacs is not a
> text editor, Janney, it is a keyboard-implemented version of the game
> "Twister".
>
>> And you get less for it.
>
> What does your classic unsubstantiated and erroneous claim have to do
> with Lisp, Janney? And it remains true that using SVN to "develop" a
> novel is like using a hammer to insert a screw, Janney.

Since good news cannot be too often repeated, I will recap:

You don't need to set up your router/firewall to hide the server (you
don't need a server) from the internet.  Although if your computer is
connected to a network your firewall should already be configured
anyway.

You don't have to set up the loopback interface port for the server to
use (you don't need a server).

You don't have to point the client at the server (you don't need a
server).

You don't have to put any numbers on a command line (Emacs handles that
for you in the few cases it's required).

You don't have to do any of that with RCS.
You don't have to do any of that with CVS.
You don't have to do any of that with Subversion.
You don't have to do any of that with git.
You don't have to do any of that with Mercurial.

You can do these things if you want to, but none of them are required.
With RCS, all you have to do is type

   ci filename

and you're good to go. In any case, it's a poor tool that can only be
used as its designer intended.  And an even poorer mind that can only
imagine one use for something as versatile as version control.

-- 
Jim Janney


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