For what it's worth, I swap Backspace and Delete at the lowest
possible level, usually one of:
- linux keymap
- keyboard-translate, which seems to be a no-op in 20.4 :-(
depending on what kind of machine I'm on, where I'm on it from, etc.
This always produced full recovery from new-style (read broken)
keyboards that have fundamental keys like Esc, Ctrl, and Del in all
the wrong places -- well, at least until Netscape came along. But at
least in the case of Netscape, they didn't even pretend to keep sane
key bindings -- half are from emacs and the rest are some sort of
bastardized Windoze bindings, so I just put up with the annoyance of
having it be the one Unix application that pretends its Delete key is
running on another OS.
I had no idea that XEmacs was planning on starting down this same
misguided path -- I've been unable to read the list for the last two
or three months.
I mean, I can understand wanting to have Backspace delete backward,
but who the hell ever thought that Delete should delete forward before
Bill Gates came along? And why the hell is XEmacs changing to match
the defaults of the single largest setback to computer science to
I say, make the defaults be that Backspace and Delete both delete
backward and that Control-H does something like a novice warning
(`disabled' property) that forces the uncustomized user to choose
whether to have it delete backward or run help. Then maybe add an ``I
love Bill Gates'' thingy somewhere down in one of the 15th level
submenus of customize that will make Delete act like Conrol-D.
From: Karl Kleinpaste <karl(a)justresearch.com>
Date: 02 Jan 1999 22:14:27 -0500
Kyle Jones <kyle_jones(a)wonderworks.com> writes:
I think you're changing the subject. Martin's point was
deleting backward must supersede the help function if they are in
conflict. I think this is a basic mandate, lest we be deemed
insane by the users.
If this is the fundamental goal, then by all means, don't change the
defaults to stop the Delete keysym from causing backward deletion. I
know I'm not the only one that swaps these keys to deal with the last
ten years' worth of keyboards. After swapping Control and Caps-Lock
(I even found a Windoze hack for that one), it's got to be about the
most common key swap around.
As for "`C-h' is help" being something which threatened Stallman's
health when introduced, all I can say is that you lived in a vastly
different user population than I did when that came about -- where I
was at the time, in an environment which included people using more
HP than VT1xx terminals, nearly everyone I knew *loved* that mechanism.
I gotta say, this is the first time that I've ever heard anyone claim
that anyone thought that ``C-h is help'' was even a slightly good
idea. Really, I'm not a big fan of the walking ego to start with, but
that particular decision has got to be his dumbest one ever. The only
thing that made it seem less galling was that most keyboards still had
the DEL key where it belongs.
The idea of seeming to dispose entirely of the availability of DEL in
a tty, as well as the help binding, both in the name of keymap purity,
disturbs me greatly.
I don't care what it's in the name of, but making the default behavior
for DEL be to delete forward is definitely the Wrong Thing in my book.