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Church Of Emacs

Posted by Kunal on November 9, 2004

Who wants to remember that escape-x-alt-control-left shift-b puts you into super-edit-debug-compile mode?
(Discussion in comp.os.linux.misc on the intuitiveness of commands, especially
Emacs.)
My feelings are on similar lines.

I spent two days trying to figure out how to use this huge bulk of a software called Emacs, aarrgh! Never before have I experienced such difficulties in getting used to a software. The funny thing is that it is just a text editor. Previously, I used to read the help section of a new software just to get started and from then onwards its very easy. It never took me lot of time to read the help. Emacs was a completely different experience for me. Emacs has a user manual of 620 pages!! Obviously, one need not read most of it to get simple work done, but one has to read the initial newbie
sections. Having said that, I must say that Emacs is one hell of a text editor. I am still not very comfortable with it, but it has been worth the time I spent on it.

My previous interactions with text editors were the ultra simple Notepad, DOS edit and Borland Turbo C editor. Now, Borland’s editor is much better than Notepad and edit and I loved it (I still do). Then I came across VIM editor on Linux, the first of the inhumanly difficult editors. I tried learning VIM, but gave up soon. The main reason that I find it hard to use Unix/Linux utilities is that I still cannot read the ‘man’ pages (Unix manuals) properly :-(. So, I switched over to Kate (another editor in Linux) which is much simpler than VI or Emacs. Kate is a good middle ground between the advanced editors and the simple Windows editors.

So, here I was content with using Kate and Borland editors till the day some seniors showed some OMFG features of Emacs. And just like that, with the practical exams around the corner I started ‘trying’ to use Emacs.

Note: If you are not a programmer, don’t despair, you can use Emacs to surf the net and check your mails (seriously!).

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