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Re: Emacs: Problems of the Scratch Buffer


From: Jason Earl
Subject: Re: Emacs: Problems of the Scratch Buffer
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 15:34:23 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.95 (gnu/linux)

On Sat, Apr 21 2012, Chiron wrote:

> On Sat, 21 Apr 2012 10:36:27 +0200, Thien-Thi Nguyen wrote:
>
>> () Chiron <address@hidden> () Sat, 21 Apr
>> 2012 03:53:33 GMT
>> 
>>    The current maintainers have absolutely no incentive to try to make
>>    emacs appealing to the masses.
>> 
>> Maybe, maybe not.
>
> If they had an incentive to make emacs appealing to the masses, they'd
> do it.  Since they aren't doing it, I think it's clear that they don't
> have the incentive.

Xah writes some interesting stuff, but in this particular case he is a
bit behind the times.  For one thing, in the upcoming new version of
Emacs the *scratch* buffer is not the first buffer that you get.
Instead you get an informational buffer with links to things like the
documentation, the tutorial, etc.

In short, Xah's saner criticisms of Emacs have already been addressed.
My guess is that Xah even knows that, as he has his own fork of Emacs
and probably pays at least some attention to emacs-devel where the
different start up buffer options were debated at some length.

The cynical part of me thinks that perhaps Xah was just re-circulating
that old essay while it still had some merit.

>>    If they did that, sure, they'd probably get plenty of new
>>    maintainers, but these new guys would change their tool in ways
>>    they don't want.  They're OK with the way it is right now. What's
>>    in it for them to change it?
>> 
>> Well, a superior change accomodates both old and new.  Not every
>> programmer realizes such change, but there's no point losing hope.
>> Whether or not that programmer is a maintainer is beside the point.
>
> Perhaps.  I was simply speaking of the motivation of the current
> maintainers to make changes to emacs.  Unless the current maintainers
> are confused, they *already* have emacs pretty much the way they want
> it.

That's ridiculous.  Emacs can always do more.

> What the complainer was suggesting was that new people - maintainers,
> programmers, whoever - would *change* emacs, which would make emacs
> less the way the current maintainers want it, and more the way others
> would want it.

There certainly is some of that.  There are certainly some compromises
that are made so that Emacs can still work as a terminal application.

> I guess what I'm seeing, is Group A is unhappy with emacs and would
> like to see some changes made to it that might be beneficial.  They
> complain that the people who maintain emacs - Group B - don't want to
> make the changes.  But Group B is happy with things the way they are -
> so why should they go to the trouble to make the changes that Group A
> wants?

I know of at least 6 Emacs forks from the GNU Emacs code that are
actively maintained today.  Coincidentally Xah's ErgoEmacs is one of
them.  If you really think that he makes a point with his complaints you
should probably check his fork out.  That doesn't include other text
editors (like zile, for example) that clearly draw inspiration from
Emacs.  There is plenty of room for hacking on those projects if you
think that the GNU Emacs developers are not filling your needs.

Personally, I am quite excited about the new Emacs, and the shorter
development cycles means that new Emacs tools get into the hands of
people like me much faster.

Jason


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