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

From: Luca Ferrari
Subject: Re: Emacs history, and "Is Emacs difficult to learn?"
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2013 08:27:55 +0200

On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 5:37 PM, Rustom Mody <> wrote:
> On Monday, July 29, 2013 8:16:05 PM UTC+5:30, Jambunathan K wrote:
>> 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.
> I started using emacs in the early 90s because I wanted something better than 
> an interactive shell for teaching interaction with a (pre)haskell 
> interpreter.  Dunno if comint mode existed then -- I at least did not know 
> about it.
> Wrote my own mode which used to crash not just emacs but even linux in 
> interesting ways! Couple of years later, found scheme-mode written on top of 
> comint and search-n-replaced it for my purposes.

I started using Emacs because (i) I hated vi with a passion, since it
was the _only_ editor university was teaching us and I was wondering
why and (ii) because I found it incredibly faster than more other
editors. For instance, while doing my master degree thesis, a latex
document that resulted in almost 300 pages, emacs was able to le tme
search forward and backward incrementally, while other editors, even
those latex-branded, were sinking parsing such a large document.
Therefore I decided Emacs had to be my editor of choice, and then I
used to program almost everything I had in almost every language
ranging from java, perl, php, etc.

I teach some web stuff in high school, and I'd love students use emacs
but I have to face that students are not living a point and click
generation and they do not understand the real power of using
keystrokes. Moreover, as already said, they are brain damaged and this
does not help. To learn Emacs (as to learn anything else) you need

> I am frequently asked to use something more 'modern/reasonable' etc than 
> emacs (eclipse/sublime-text etc).

This is something happens to me too: my colleagues often look at me
like a nerd because I don't use something more eye-candy like
ultraedit/eclipse/netbeans/whatever. But I feel comfortable with my
keys and the speed of emacs.

There are however a few places where Emacs should get a real improvement:
- IDE-like support and code autocompletion (cedet and autocomplete are
very helpful, but there is still a gap with some major IDEs)
- prebuilt and preconfigured packages: often configuring emacs is a quite tricky
- inclusion in base systems: the first thing I often do when
installing a new system is to add emacs since it is rarely used as a
default editor.


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