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Re: Emacs keyboard

From: ken
Subject: Re: Emacs keyboard
Date: Sun, 06 Jan 2013 09:43:05 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:10.0.11) Gecko/20121120 Thunderbird/10.0.11

On 01/05/2013 04:05 AM James Freer wrote:
On Fri, 4 Jan 2013, Loic J. Duros wrote:

address@hidden (David Combs) writes:

Sun (er, oracle) makes that type of keyboard, but
also makes one with the control key immediately left
of the "A" key, where it was on the original
teletype-like machine (name escapes me now, but it
ended in "33").

What's the difference with moving the ctrl key to the caps lock key on a
standard keyboard?

It's not a big difference... just preference - less far to stretch the
fingers. Capslock always used to be the location of the ctrl key on
early keyboards which happened to suit those that use the wordstar
keybindings (which are the most efficient in professional writers
opinion... and mine). A lot of emacs users like them swapped for emacs
bindings. Although i've got used to using the right ctrl key for
wordstar mode.


Amen (or +1 if you prefer) on both counts. Having learned to type on an actual typewriter and having started into computers with those old teletype machines, and then into PCs with DOS 1.0, I appreciate being able to have the Ctrl next to the 'A' key. That's where it was on the first PCs and where it stayed until, perhaps just coincidentally but perhaps not coincidentally, Microsoft came out with Word. At the time Wordstar was the top editor. But because using Wordstar entailed using the Ctrl key a lot, moving it to the keyboard's hinterlands made it difficult to use and it thereby lost a lot of market share to Word. Isn't it wonderful how a market economy can even rearrange your keyboard?

The second Amen/+1 goes to Wordstar keybindings. Somebody put a whole lot of thought into them and made them the most intuitive of any editor of that time and since. You could easily learn how to move around all around in a file you were editing in under an hour and then remember all of the keybindings the next day. Most all the Wordstar keybindings for navigation were also language-independent; that is, you didn't have to know English for them to make sense and so be easily memorable. If I was just starting out in computing and wasn't already so accustomed to emacs keybindings, I'd definitely go to something like joe\jstar for an editor.

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