jan at rychter.com
Fri May 2 05:32:27 EDT 2008
Just wanted to say goodbye -- I've been an XEmacs user since, I think,
around 1996 or 1997. But, having recently switched to a Mac (I got tired
of writing Linux drivers just so that I can use my hardware and do
something real), I immediately started looking for a usable emacs. That
turned out to be Emacs.app (http://emacs-app.sourceforge.net/).
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I really liked XEmacs, its
development philosophy, and a number of features that don't work as well
in GNU Emacs. On the other hand, I find that there are more important
things in life than worrying about your editor's support for UTF-8,
dealing with window-resizing bugs or fighting alpha-level code just to
get antialiased fonts. The switch was also really painful, as old habits
die hard, and it turned out lots of my code was XEmacs-specific.
So, while I'm not entirely happy with political aspects of the move, I
made the switch. This means that I won't be using XEmacs anymore and I
won't be maintaining the escreen package anymore, either (not that I
really had to do any maintaining at all). It also means I won't be
developing vx-mode anymore, I'm hoping MacSpeech Dictate will be able to
replace that solution.
Here are some impressions that accumulated over the years:
Things I think are (or work) better in XEmacs:
-- access to other documentation (those are minor things, but
for example describe-function isn't bound to a key by default, and
these things accumulate),
-- developer documentation,
In general, I enjoyed elisp coding much more under XEmacs.
Things I always hated in XEmacs:
-- building it. The whole mess of configure options, getting them
wrong several times, forgetting what the right ones were, etc.
-- having to build it, as the 21.4 distribution binaries are useless
in the real world (multilingual world that uses UTF-8),
-- the crashes.
Things that are better in Emacs.app:
-- It works. Meaning I can download the DMG, install it in 5 seconds,
and have an editor with UTF-8, antialiased fonts, that remembers
its window size and does not change it when switching elscreens.
And the most common misconception about XEmacs: "oh, I don't use XEmacs,
I want an emacs that I can use without X, in a terminal window as well".
I have one other observation to make before I leave the list. The amount
of energy that has been put into the AUCTeX packaging debates over the
years would easily have sufficed to find a workable solution and
Thanks for the very enjoyable 12 years or so, and thanks for all your
work. I wish XEmacs all the best in the future.
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