[Arcana] More Emacs love.

Roland McGrath roland at frob.com
Fri Jul 27 21:01:31 CDT 2012

It just so happens that today I had an informal meeting and lunch with some
of the more serious Emacs hackers at Google (pretty much all of them more
serious than I have been in well over a decade).  Over lunch the chatter
turned towards subjects like who likes or hates font-lock and other such
colorization and the trend for every new Emacs version to have more of that
sort of thing turned on by default.  

Someone asked me what I thought of the new-style gdb-mode interface (I
think it came in with 23?).  I instantly replied that I couldn't stand it
and upon first upgrading to the Emacs version that visited it upon me, I
went to all necessary pains to defang that crap and get back my traditional
old gdb-mode behavior.  All I want is source location pop-to-buffer and C-x
SPC to work and the rest I'll do with normal gdb commands (I can't think of
a single gdb-mode key binding that I ever actually use, beyond the common
comint stuff).  The guy who asked said the new stuff is miles better for
him and he loves it.  It so happens this seasoned Emacs hacker is blind.
(He's the second blind hacker I've known, and they are both devoted Emacs
users, for whatever that's worth).  It's extremely useful to him that all
the output is sliced up into different pieces displayed in different places
and with different colorization properties, because in the world he's using
he configures things to set the 'inaudible text property and this drives
his "talking Emacs" not to waste time speaking all the uninteresting text.
For me, having it all just together in a single buffer, and monochrome at
that, is just so much visual clutter that I have many years ago learned to
sort out and scan through unconsciously.  So even among serious elisp
hackers of many many years, I am not so representative a user.

That really drove home to me the point that I don't even know how to think
about UI in any ways that aren't extremely parochial.

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