[rescue] emacs vs. Word!, was Re: SUN PCMCIA SBus Card

Phil Stracchino phils at caerllewys.net
Mon May 28 11:37:46 CDT 2018

On 05/28/18 09:30, Liam Proven wrote:
> Vi is deeply modal, which alone rules it out for me, and _couldn't_ be made
> to conform to the CUA model without it not being Vi any more.

I will use vi when there is nothing else installed.  But *never* for any
other reason.  And this is why.  Having to constantly remember to switch
modes breaks my concentration and derails my train of thought.

When the tool becomes an active *obstacle* to getting the job done, you
need a different tool.  vi's time has come, gone, and vanished in the
dust.  It's still provided as an entry-level default editor, but that is
a mystifying choice, because it is the most user-hostile of all of the
entry-level editors.

(Well, OK, unless you include ed and the other line editors.)

EMACS fails the entry test as well.  Yes, it's tremendously powerful.
Yes, it has a very natural editing mode, without a hint of modality.
But it is massively complicated, arcane, and cryptic, and has a
near-vertical learning curve.

But that's OK for people who know and like EMACS.  In the hands of
someone who knows it well and needs what it does, it is a magnificent tool.

For about twenty years, my mainline editor for serious work has been
Xcoral.  It's fast and powerful, very easy ot use once a few quirks are
used...  but it's been de-facto abandoned by its creators and won't even
compile any more on Gentoo profiles 17+.  After several months of
looking for alternatives, I settled on nedit, the Nirvana Editor.  It's
very similar to Xcoral from a user standpoint... but has some good
hotkey changes, and some frustrating ones, and it doesn't support
X-style (or Xcoral-style) cut using the mouse.  (But it *does* support X
mouse copy and paste.  Go figure.)

I switched to N about eight months ago now.  I still haven't 100%
retrained my fingers yet.  It's very good; it works very well for me.
But is it the best?  No.  Because *there is no best*.

The fundamental underlying logical flaw in the entire editor argument is
that there is one single truly-best editor.

There isn't.  There are LOTS of good editors.  We are blessed with
abundance and variety.  There are editors for all tastes.  Some of them
are objectively better *for certain specific tasks* than others.  But
arguing about which one is *the best* is a foolish waste of time and
effort, because there is no single uniformly objectively best editor.
There is no single objectively best anything.  No best window manager.
No best language.  No best car.  No best airliner.  No best brand of
jeans.  No best coffee variety.  No best hamburger.

We all have our PREFERENCES.  We all have our choices in these things
that are best *for us* and for the way we use them.  But to try to
declare a single example of *anything* the best and that everyone should
use it is to create a stale monoculture.  There are lots of computer
users in the world *for whom Windows truly is the best OS*, heretical
though that thought might be here.  There are even people who really
like listening to ....      ....no, no, I can't say it.  And you can't
make me.

Rejoice in the variety.  Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.
More than one way to do it.  This is our shining treasure.

  Phil Stracchino
  Babylon Communications
  phils at caerllewys.net
  phil at co.ordinate.org
  Landline: +1.603.293.8485
  Mobile:   +1.603.998.6958

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