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What if the KDE project adopted Emacs… :D

Posted by alecs1 pe 2008-07-06

I have always looked at Emacs like it is some mysterious charmed software able to do magic on text, but not magic enough to really learn it. I gave it 3-4 hours tries a few times but I never found it convincing enough (it may be that it is not that magic?! :D). The first problem with it is the interface, until lately it simulated all user interface with some ugly and hard to use widgets or whatever shit toolkit from the 1980’s. Now it has more normal widgets, provided by GTK but this is still not enough. The status thing is still text and artificial, the user interface is still too different, etc.

The biggest problem is that it doesn’t invite me to learn. I mean, the software should be able to meet my small needs no mather how stupid and untrained I am at the beginning. Like the Kate thing, it is always a text editor. You have lots of shortcuts and options, you may learn them as you use the software, but it is at any time able to function like a most basic editor.

Example using Emacs: by default it has a most annoyng setting to beep the computer integrated speaker whenever you scrolled and got to the end of the buffer, or any other error. I needed to do a search on google, and then edit some weird, LISP like, .emacs file multiple times until I placed piece of code in the correct region of that configuration file. Then there’s the brace matching that many editors signal for no mather what file type, emacs only does it when you type the character, for anything else I need to go through the multi-level menu galore (and I didn’t find it until today), good that they are breaking menus, at least.

So, what I was thinking is that someone (not me) wrote a KDE port of Emacs. Think of that: some Emacs that actually looks good and is usable by normal non-tech+Emacs PhD people. This learn step by step thing is something I like about software from the KDE suite, the software may be some unexplored teritory, but you learn it little by little, this applies for example to the whole KDEPIM suite, the first PIM suite I ever used (and the best). Probably the rule would be to make it simple enough to help anyone do their job, and featured and configurable enough to keep the advanced users happy.

I didn’t come back to edit the LyX article, I will do it next time.

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