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Re: Emacs Mini Manual (PART 3) - CUSTOMIZING AND EXTENDING EMACS


From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: Emacs Mini Manual (PART 3) - CUSTOMIZING AND EXTENDING EMACS
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:16:17 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Bob Proulx <address@hidden> writes:

> The problem can be summarized as the manual used a
> non-free license with the hope that it would
> encourage a print shop to print and sell physical
> copies of the manual.

Too bad that didn't work. I have been to tons of public
libraries and they basically mimic the bookstores, only
their books are older and with "annotations". Some of
the books are still good, but most are those "Learn
Brain Surgery in 24 Days, the Fun and Easy Way" - if
you don't get provoked by such obvious nonsense, those
books can be helpful - still, if you have done
something for but one or two years, those are typically
hopelessly "broad" for your purposes. To find the Emacs
manual at such a bookshelf would be a very pleasant
surprise!

> But the result is one of unintended consequences.
> Instead of encouraging documentation proliferation it
> has the opposite of restricting the flow of it.
>
> Please see this for the details of the reasons.
>
>   http://www.debian.org/vote/2006/vote_001

Thanks, but that was so technical. I don't understand
the issue. But I suppose if you want to have a movement
and you put up rules - and some other part of the
movement that basically share your views, if they do
the same - what will eventually happen if those rules
are many (and specific), some of the will clash and
probably that's what happened here.

> I do read most of the documentation on the screen.
> However I don't find it as good as a printed book.
> Therefore I have a *lot* of printed books!

Yes, documentation on-screen is great in the man page
sense, the online Emacs help sense, when you want to
know some part of the interface. If you do Elisp for
some time, and then switch to C, you feel like an idiot
having to Google stuff because the interface isn't
available (though some of the C is in the
manpages). But there is actually nothing that stops
anyone from writing C (interface) documentation that
would work more or less like the Elisp one.

On the other hand, to you read (page up, page down)
on-screen I don't like. The computer should boost
activity, not consumption of material like those pads
that have enslaved the, eh, "kids" those days.

That's why I also like books to be at a different
"pace" than on-screen material. I appreciate when they
tell the back story, some jokes, whatever, not just
what you need to know to solve an immediate problem. If
the pace of the book is right, you get into a pleasant
state yourselves. Books are great. I wish I had a job
where I could turn in lists of books to my boss, and
he'd buy them for me...

>> Alright, I'll do it. I know you contributed to it so
>> I'll just blame you for everything I don't like. But
>> actually I think I'll like all or most of it.
>
> I am still chuckling over this comment of yours.
> Nicely done.  :-)

Ha ha, stupid jokes aside, if there are any newcomers
to the Emacs or FOSS world lurking (I hope so!) who
haven't figured it out, let me say writing
documentation is time-consuming, difficult, it is an
unsung business, and it can be frustrating as there are
morons around talking trash about the software yet
refusing to read the documentation, that would
instantly solve whatever mess they're in. So the people
who do documentation deserves cred and nothing else.

As for the quality, there can be no better source for
information than the official manual of a long-lived
FOSS project. The reason is, the same material has been
worked up by so many people, age in, age out - you know
how commercial books boast "3rd edition" and so on? But
to our manuals, there as been three million revisions -
it is just a massacre by comparison.

-- 
underground experts united


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