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    I’ve been using Emacs for more than 20 years and I would love to see some better defaults. IBuffer is vastly superior to the default buffer list. Make it the new default. Also, line and column number modes should just be on (seriously…). The default completion is also terrible. Any of the ones mentioned (Ivy, Helm, Ido) would be better.

    As an old timer myself (by today’s standards), I say make it nicer when you start it up. (And let’s be honest: the default welcome screen to the GUI version is fugly. That icon!)

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      Yeah, it seems to me better defaults doesn’t mean making Emacs imitate a different editor, but make the existing experience more pleasant. It’s the kind of thing that makes the greybeards happy without changing their workflow, and allow people interested in Emacs as Emacs to not get disappointed with a backwards experience without having to slather a readymade config on top.

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        The Vim defaults aren’t that great either though, and that seems to be doing fairly well in spite of it. I’m not so sure this is really the reason; especially not stuff like “dark background” which seems like quite literal bikeshed painting.

        I’m not so sure it’s fair to dismiss backwards compatibility as “grumpy greybeards”; it’s just annoying when behaviour changes, and preserving backwards compatibility in any user-facing application seems like a good goal. Vim tries to find a middle ground with its defaults.vim, but that’s just messy and makes things even more confusing.

        Something like a defaults 2 in your startup file might be a good idea; Vim already has this with set [no]compatible and various programming languages have something similar as well (e.g. use strict in Perl and JavaScript). Perhaps the default could even be the new defaults and people wanting to retain the old defaults can use defaults 1.

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          Agreed. I’ve been using Emacs for [mumble] years now, and I always appreciate it when I can remove a setting from my init.el because it’s finally become the new default.

          And even when defaults change to something I don’t particularly like, that doesn’t much bother me as long as there’s still a way to put it back and the change is communicated clearly in the News. I think those of us with a lot of Emacs experience are probably the least sensitive to changing defaults because of this. It’s novice users who aren’t yet so comfortable with tweaking their Emacs setup who are going to have a harder time changing legacy defaults to be more to their liking or expectations. Prioritizing the out-of-the-box experience for them seems quite reasonable to me.

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        I wonder whether the people advocating that we should standardise on C-x, C-c, C-v for cut/copy/paste reguarly use terminal applications. C-c (that’s ^C for vi users) is already in common use as “interrupt the current rubbing thing”, which means I need to hold down Shift to get the “standard” behaviour in those types of application.

        On a Mac this is not a problem because the mac uses a different modifier for cut/copy/paste and leaves the “ascii-safe” control key available for tty apps. Given that PC keyboards typically also have spare modifier keys (Alt and Windows) in the general neighborhood of Control, I wonder why we can’t standardise on one of those instead. As someone in the LWN comment thread said, CUA doesn’t mandate using Control anyway …

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          This is a profoundly disappointing article and exchange.

          One of the commenters nailed it “with friends like these, who needs enemies”.

          My only response to RMS’s singuarly unfortunate quote

          It is unfortunate that the people who implemented the newer editors chose incompatibility with Emacs.

          is what an absolutely myopic view to take. What a chowderhead.

          I switched from Vim to Emacs maybe 7 years ago for the Clojure tooling. It was a massive pain in the ass. I had to relearn all my muscle memory. I had to learn elisp. I had to cobble together an emacs config that added enough “extras” (color themes! workable package manager settings! minimap! etc etc etc) and by the time I was done with that it took about two minutes to boot my emacs config because ???

          Many years of hand-managing and cursing my .emacs later, I picked up DOOM, turned off the evil-mode defaults because my muscle memory is thoroughly rebuilt at this point and have had an absolutely delightful experience. Reasonable defaults, useful packages in the box, responsive upstream, everything you could ask for!

          I will leave this with a much older rebuttal (2004) along these same lines. Upstream is being shortsighted and the personalities have a lot to do with it.

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            Not intentionally crippling Emacs would probably go a long way too (that entire thread is worth a read, this message pretty much sums up the attitude).

            I don’t know what happened what that specific issue since 2015, but the entire attitude certainly was a huge turn-off for me.

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              Why even pursue integration with GCC for this purpose (especially after all that hassle)? Why not just use the clang frontend?

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            The zeitgeist seems to be the pursuit of form over function and style over substance. Maybe the “younger users” are perceived to be attention deficient because so many are? They were made that way by what I call “the culture of the image”. Raised on a diet of spectacle and fast-paced action purveyed by media creators with the ethics of your average meth dealer, it should come as no surprise that their collective attention span has withered on the vine.

            TL;DR for this comment: get … off … my … lawn!

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              Such disrespect for younger people…do you really think it was that different with morning cartoons and mindless tv and radio fifty years ago?

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                No disrespect to younger people was intended. They should feel far more insulted by the possibility of being patronized with cat videos than by my (somewhat jesting) attempt at social commentary here. On the other hand, the spectacle-mongers should feel the burn.

                It is nothing new. I was complaining about the same thing when I was a teenager in the 90s.

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                This is a complaint as old as Ecclesiastes.

                I bet there were TECO users griping about the flashiness and ease of use of Emacs.

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                  I bet there were TECO users griping about the flashiness and ease of use of Emacs.

                  I’d actually be very interested in reading that, especially as I’ve been thinking about implementing a teco-mode for Emacs…

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                  ??? I mean it could be that some packages are just better than the default behavior?

                  There’s arguments for the copy paste stuff but like you’re gonna tell me Helm is Actually Worse Than Nothing?

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                    Additional / newer packages are fine. What is frustrating is having one’s workflow broken.

                    For example, see this post, about a change in emacs 23 that broke my workflow. I’m the original poster being quoted in that reply.

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                      Oh, yep I agree that we should maintain backwards compat one way or another (personally I think this involves having some sort of bit you can put in your config to indicate some “initial version of emacs”, so you could have code hand upgrades cleanly).

                      I guess I just really dislike this stereotype that people care about flashiness. It definitely helps! But there’s actual ergonomics involved and “we want it to be shiny” is often shorthand for “we want features that make things easier to use in general”.

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                    Over the last 40 years since Emacs was initially created the world of computing changed a lot. “Modern” users expect certain conventions that Emacs (or Vim, for that matter) lack. That doesn’t mean those conventions are better or worse, just … different. Even though Emacs hasn’t changed, in a way the learning curve has increased over time.

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                    Far be it from me to question the value of good defaults, but I don’t think they’re the answer here.

                    Emacs has never been an editor that promised a good experience out of the box; if anything, that’s completely orthogonal to its actual purpose. (That niche already being filled by the likes of vim, vscode, sublime text, etc.) If somebody doesn’t want to create their own editing experience, then there is no reason for them to even consider using emacs in the first place.

                    If anything, the poor defaults nudge you to learn how to fix them and, in the process, learn more about the editor. I probably would never have learnt about early-init.el if not for emacs’s coming with a light theme, hideous splash screen, scrollbar, etc.