How about a little historical reminder? When people were looking
Emacs on small machines like DOS, Coherent, Atari ST, and QNX,
MicroEmacs was the most widely used and accepted alternative.
MicroEmacs eventually lost a large number of users to MicroGNUEmacs
and Elle, at least partly because the MicroEmacs developers kept
diddling with the keyboard layout. I finally threw out MicroEmacs
when it became impossible to reconfigure MicroEmacs to the old
The lesson, don't diddle with the default keyboard behaviour,
especially not in such a way as to make it difficult for people to get
the old familiar behaviour.
Then again, maybe those programs fell out of favor due to the author(s)
not responding to the wishes of its user base. I doubt the reason for
a program's decline can be attributed only to changes in keybindings.
A program must either evolve or become a legacy product.
Personally, I think making DEL delete forward like C-d is the right
thing to do. But as long as it is configurable, I could care less.
It always surprises me how the smallest changes provoke the most
debate. I see this all the time on the FreeBSD mailing lists. If
someone wants to rewrite the kernel from scratch, no one says a word,
but if someone wants to add an option to "ls", it provokes weeks of