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Re: Etymology of `visiting' files


From: Yuri Khan
Subject: Re: Etymology of `visiting' files
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2016 18:36:34 +0600

On Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 5:53 PM, Pascal J. Bourguignon
<address@hidden> wrote:

>> What motivated the choice of the verb `visiting'?
>> my own expectation would have been something like `edit' or `load'

The word “edit” implies a one-time change.

The word “load” implies creating an in-memory copy of the whole file.

> When you visit a friend's home, you enter it, you can look around, and
> you may touch and change something (move a vase from the table to the
> console) or not, and then leave the house.

When you visit a friend’s home, you enter a small part of it, and you
may touch and change something in your immediate vicinity, or you can
explore different parts of the house.

The word “visit” might, at some time in the past, have meant getting
in position to perform modifications *without loading* the whole file
into memory. This could be an important factor when files were big and
memory was small. The changes could then be accumulated in memory as a
diff, small enough to fit in memory, to be applied on file save.

I do not know if this kind of memory use optimization has ever existed
in Emacs. But it might have, or it might have been considered a
future-in-the-past idea good enough to affect the terminology.

Of course, nowadays we have 64-bit address space and more virtual
memory than is ever necessary to edit any reasonably sized file (with
the notable exception of /dev/sda), so we can afford “loading” files.



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