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

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:31:23 +0300

> From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden>
> Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 10:44:09 +0900
> Cc: address@hidden, address@hidden, address@hidden
> I don't respect the ASCII-capped lobby.  They constitute a tiny
> minority of humanity which has been getting in the way of bringing
> sane computing to 7 billion people for 5 decades now.  I find the
> argument that "*I* am ASCII-capped, so *we* shouldn't simplify and
> disambiguate by using Unicode" especially distressing in the context
> of Emacs.

With all due respect, Stephen, you are bending the argument too much.
Truth is, the Unicode adoption in mainline software we are involved with
every day is very slow.  For example, there still are no good solutions for
bidi-aware text terminals, which means, inter alia, that gettext-style
translations to R2L languages for console programs are still in trouble, 15
years after the UBA was codified.  At least 400 million people worldwide
need that, but we are still not there.

The net result of this extremely slow progress is that many theoretical
niceties are exceedingly hard to have in practice, and you cannot rely on
them being available to J.R. Hacker next door.

> That's nonsense.  Emacs users learn *hundreds* of keychords.

We also use programs other than Emacs, and some of us (gasp!) use them from
the shell prompt at least sometimes.  So the ability to type these
characters conveniently is important, certainly not something to disregard
so easily as you do.

> Japanese (and Chinese) mostly just use the layout of whatever keyboard
> is in front of them, except that it's convenient to have labelled keys
> for mode-switch commands for word processing users.

So perhaps the issues being discussed are non-issues for Japanese and
Chinese (and users of other complex writing systems).  But they are still
issues for the rest of the world, there's no need to deny or dismiss that.

>  > Richard meant what he wrote here.

> Of course he did.  The question is whether he has any experience with
> using input methods other than self-insert-command.  I will bet "no",

I do use input methods.  It's still a (minor) nuisance compared to pressing
a single key.  So if my keyboard had keys for ‘..’ and the likes, it would
be better.  As things stand, I will need to use tricks, especially out of
Emacs, to type them.  It's less convenient.

> and that his reaction is pre-judgment without enough relevant
> experience.

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you."
Just because Some People™ might have prejudice against these quotes,
it doesn't mean their introduction won't make our lives less

>  >  Any benefits there may be are not _practical_ ones.  The curly
>  > quotes are a pain to type.
> That's a fixable bug, but not in the use of curly quotes themselves,
> but rather in the Emacs input system.

Alas, the world of software is not limited to Emacs.

> the only actual result that ever happens is that implementation is always
> delayed, and often proponents give up entirely for a while.  Which means
> nothing is learned.  Experiments, on the other hand, do produce changes
> in position.

For some of us, Emacs is a first-class tool for everyday's work.  Some
of us cannot easily afford conducting "experiments" with tools of such
importance, because we have to do something other than gathering
experience by the end of the day.  Please don't dismiss our chagrin so
easily, just because you might have more free time on your hands to
conduct experiments.  While reverting a bunch of commits (whose number
is growing by the hour, btw) might be relatively easy, those commits
affect everyone who is using Emacs, as reverting them, locally is
hardly a practical option.

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