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Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 23:02:48 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/31.7.0

Richard Stallman wrote:
Will it be enabled by default in Emacs Lisp mode?

I'd prefer that, yes. I suggested doing this for Emacs developers first, in the master branch. Eli thought this too eager, so I did not install it. Perhaps we should revisit this at some point. In the meantime I've put the following into my ~/.emacs startup file:

(if (fboundp 'electric-quote-mode)

and this does enable electric quoting in Emacs Lisp mode.

What practical advantage justifies this complexity?

There are practical advantages to a quoting style that can't easily be confused with ordinary Lisp code involving ' and `. We've already done this in the Emacs manuals' Info files, and the idea is to extend this to *Help* buffers (already done in the master branch) and to diagnostics (not yet done). This will provide a more consistent interface within Emacs.

Also, quoting with single quotes is easier for most non-experts to read. Emacs's traditional style of quoting with grave accent and apostrophe is idiosyncratic and is offputting for many new users; it used to work well in displays long ago and it was reasonably common in GNU applications, but that's no longer true and now it's one more thing to learn when using Emacs. I have some interest and experience in this, as my assistants and I introduce Emacs to an average of about one new user per day. It would be better for Emacs to use a quoting style similar to what people are accustomed to, so that they are not distracted by it.

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