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Request: new emacs release

From: Adrian Robert
Subject: Request: new emacs release
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 14:47:51 -0500

Hi all,

I am sorry to bother the developer list if this is not felt appropriate, but I just wanted a user's perspective (not sure how typical) to be heard..

I am a long-time emacs user frustrated with the current state and worried from the tone of developer discussions here that no release will be coming for a long time. I'm listing my personal list of reasons for wanting a new release, FWIW, and not with any intention of bashing, just in the spirit of giving feedback from a user perspective..

1) Mac OS X

Due to various maintainership incidents, the only option for Panther users to obtain a working, non-ancient aqua emacs is to compile the CVS "21.3.50" from source. However due to no release plans being made, this is a hit-or-miss affair -- bugs I've observed in recent attempts include font-lock "regexp" colorizing not being performed, startup failure due to lisp load errors, difficulties getting third-party packages to run smoothly, and frequent (1+ per day) crashes. Even the binary packages available on the net, which tend to be from better CVS snapshots, still exhibit crashing and other bugs.

XEmacs is not really an option because it only works on OS X under X11 (and therefore uses ugly font rendering, etc.).

I know there is opposition to making OS X much of a priority in the FSF, and I personally wish Apple would lend a hand in some way, but I thought it was at least decided to provide a version. Right now this only exists in CVS.

2) Fringe customization

For 4 years now, users wishing to use emacs 21 have had to live with the unsuppressable super-wide double-fringe that came with that version. Many times this makes the difference between showing two windows size-by-side in a reasonably-sized font and not, and it takes real estate from other windows in all cases. Many others have complained about this.

"21.3.50" makes it configurable. (This was promised for 21.3 and didn't make it in.) Furthermore it updates the buffer window behavior to NOT take up an extra line after every 80 column line, using the fringe to mark this instead. This is a bigger deal for people who edit code than it may seem. I've tried compiling a CVS emacs to get the 21.3.50 behavior, but see above on my luck with hitting CVS on a good day..

3) Time passage

It has been 1 year since 21.3. Aside from the major improvements (Mac OS X support and fringe customizability) mentioned above, there must have been many other worthwhile things done in this time -- it would be nice to have them in a release. Also, the cleaning out of bugs that comes with making a release might improve general development efficiency (know there are differing opinions on this)..

best regards,
Adrian Robert

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