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Re: Emacs history, and "Is Emacs difficult to learn?"

From: Jambunathan K
Subject: Re: Emacs history, and "Is Emacs difficult to learn?"
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2013 20:16:05 +0530
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Emanuel Berg <> writes:

>> Remember he [RMS] is talking about secretaries in early days of
>> computing learning Emacs and learning programming in the
>> process.  I am sure secretaries had no CS degrees and more
>> importantly they belonged to a period when computers were not
>> common place and were quite the cutting edge.  I just laugh when
>> young kids in this day of Google complain that Emacs is
>> primitive and is difficult to learn.  I consider it a joke.

Welcome back!  This time let's talk about Emacs!

We are discussing -

What fascinates me in that article is this,

    | They used a manual someone had written which showed how to extend
    | Emacs, but didn't say it was a programming. So the secretaries,
    |            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    |            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    | who believed they couldn't do programming, weren't scared
    |     ^^^^^^^^
    |     ^^^^^^^^
    | off. They read the manual, discovered they could do useful things
    | and they learned to program.

The magic phrases are - "didn't say it was a programming" and

Belief or No-Belief, learning, stopping short of saying the whole truth
- all seem interesting to me.  Do they help or hinder learning?

Specifically, if someone is interested in introducing Emacs to a
non-Emacs user, what strategies should they adopt to maximize their
chances of having a new convert.  I welcome any insights from both the
victors and the vanquished on the "Convert to or introduce Emacs

Personally, my first love with Emacs was when someone showed M-q to me
and the most uglily indented text aligned nicely between the margins.

> If you, on the other hand, write poetry or whatever with Emacs,

Not a poet here.

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