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Major mode weirdness.

From: R. Clayton
Subject: Major mode weirdness.
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 11:25:10 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.3 (gnu/linux)

I am running GNU Emacs 23.3.1 (i486-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 2.24.3) of
2011-04-10 on raven, modified by Debian on a debian testing system updated

I have noticed that the initial scratch buffer, the one you get when you just
run emacs with no command-line arguments, is in fundamental mode, even though
.emacs contains, in custom-set-variables, '(initial-major-mode (quote
text-mode)) and help-variable in *scratch* reports initial-major-mode's value
is text-mode.

What is the error I'm making in trying to get the initial buffer to be in text

I have also noticed that doing (setq major-mode 'text-mode) in .emacs has no
effect: new buffers are set to fundamental mode rather than text mode.  The
help-variable documentation for major-mode indicates that setting help-mode
makes it buffer local, which seems like strange behavior for a variable that's
supposed to provide a global value.  Setting major-mode in custom-set-variables
works as expected.

Although I expect I know the answer to this one, I'll ask it anyway: why is it
that a "top-level" setq on major-mode in .emacs doesn't work?

Also, top-level setqs on initial-major-mode and major-mode used to work as
expected up until a few weeks ago.  What has changed since then?  Searching
around in the /usr/share/doc/emacs23 change files doesn't produce anything I
can recognize as an explanation.

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