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Re: newbie .emacs proposal

From: sen_ml
Subject: Re: newbie .emacs proposal
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2001 12:18:36 +0900 (JST)

From: "Eli Zaretskii" <address@hidden>
Subject: Re: newbie .emacs proposal
Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2001 19:59:44 +0200


> > 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"?

yes, this sounds like a good idea to me (though i still think
providing some sample .emacs files may be productive).

as a side note, afaik, Customize is not mentioned in the tutorial, and
it seems to me like a good thing to touch upon.  may be a pointer to a
Customize tutorial (exists already?) in the Emacs tutorial would be

> > > 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
> discovered.

i agree that files hidden away somewhere is not an efficient way to
expose customizations.  i was thinking that exposing people to them in
(or via) the tutorial would be one good way to provide exposure.

> > > 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.

that is true if all of the settings are wanted by everyone.  i don't
think all of them are though.  

perhaps a constructive way to proceed is to solicit for settings that
might be good for inexperienced users and then review these.  if it
turns out most/all of them might be good defaults for everyone, we can
do as you suggest.

> > 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.

i am skeptical that all/most experienced users would be willing ;-)

personally, i'm willing to give it a try.

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