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Re: Emacs as WM

From: John Yates
Subject: Re: Emacs as WM
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2014 16:51:51 -0400

Personally I regularly have the opposite itch: wanting to replace emacs's frustrating window management with an external tiling WM (in my case awesome).


On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM, Matthew Plant <address@hidden> wrote:
I was curious about what people on this list thought about application
embedding in Emacs. To a degree this is already supported with ansi
term, but this obviously doesn't extend to GUI applications. For those
of you familiar with Plan 9, think of how programs use the window the
terminal they're launched in; embedding GUI apps in Emacs would force
the program to run in a window owned by Emacs and fitted into a buffer.

The reason why I bring this up is because it would be relatively easy to
do in a way that's not very platform agnostic. It's really easy to
replace the X libarary (forgive me for not using proper nomenclature;
it'd lengthen this email tenfold) window creation functions with one
that extends contol over the window. The degree of integration can be
controlled by the number of replaced functions. If drawn text wants to
be handled specially, those functions would be replaced. Some method can
be specified for switching between emacs and the application controlling
user input.

This has some obvious advantages; for one, Emacs automatically subsumes
all editors, including more WYSIWYG editors. Not only that, but Emacs
essentially becomes a window manager, which I personally would
love. Because some apps, particular web browsers, do not always require
special handling of the keyboard, switching between regular Emacs
buffers and the special app buffers would be generally seamless. I could
imagine myself typing away in one Emacs buffer, momentarily moving to
the mouse to click throught some online doxygen in my web browser in the
buffer to the right.

There are also a lot of disadvantages to this. For one, the applications
would be pretty buggy without some effort to re-implement X
functions. Also, my co-worker points out that this would be incongrous
with the current capabilities of Emacs, one of which is the easy
transfer of text betwixt buffers. Getting these two features to work
harmoniously would be kind of difficult; lots of wrappers to
X/Gnome/whatever text writing functions would have to be made. However,
copy and paste would work (I'm guessing) out of the box.

I suppose it all boils down to what people want with the future of
Emacs. Personally, I would love to turn on my computer and have Emacs be
there every step of the way. I genuinely think that Emacs is a great
full interface to an OS. It is not a full OS however and never should
be, which is why I like this idea as an in-between.


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