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Re: newbie .emacs proposal

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: newbie .emacs proposal
Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2001 19:59:44 +0200

> From: address@hidden
> Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2001 22:12:55 +0900 (JST)
> one benefit to providing some .emacs files to choose from is that a
> new user can see what kinds of customizations are possible.

I think that's what Customize is for.  (CC to Per.)

> i think customize is meant to address this issue a bit, but frankly
> speaking, there are so many items to choose from, i think it is likely
> to be quite confusing and overwhelming to tell inexperienced users to
> use customize to begin w/.

Cannot this be solved by having a special Customize category called,
say, "What newbies wanted to know but were afraid to ask"?

> > If you don't install such an .emacs anyway, it will be of little use, 
> > because users will need to find out about it before they could use it.
> i'm not sure i understand what you mean here

I meant to say that a file with useful customizations hidden somewhere
in the distro is not an efficient way to expose people to those
customizations, because it relies on the users' being able to find
that file and use it.

In other words, a file doesn't actively prompts the user to use it, it
just lies there waiting for the user to find it.  By contrast, a
menu-bar item staring at the user has a much better chance to be

> > Why do you think these settings are not good for non-newbies?
> i don't.  but they are not defaults, right?

No, not right now.

But if these settings are good for everyone, and most people don't
object to turning them on by default, we can simply turn them on in
one of the future versions.  In that case, we don't need to distribute
a .emacs.

> i wouldn't want to force that on people who are used to the existing
> behavior.  but i think they might be good defaults for inexperienced
> users.

If we agree that these are good defaults for many people, we can ask
the experienced users who want the old behavior to customize their
Emacs.  Or, if the amount of changed defaults is too large, we could
provide an "M-x revert-to-good-old-pre-v21.something-behavior"
command, which reverts to the old defaults.

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