A few weeks ago I mentioned that I would give Emacs another try. I said I would use it through April and then decide whether to keep using it or give up. Here are some thoughts on Emacs a few weeks later.
I thought that after using Emacs for a few weeks I’d either fall in love with it or decide to give it up. Instead, I’m somewhere in the middle.
It was satisfying to learn Emacs because it was challenging and because it has been in the back of my mind for a long time.
Using Emacs on Windows has been easier than when I’ve tried it before. Maybe the Windows version of Emacs has improved, or maybe I am more persistent than I was before.
Sometimes I try to use Windows keyboard shortcuts in Emacs or Emacs commands in Windows programs. Emacs is internally consistent, but not consistent with the majority of software I use. In the past I concluded that such inconsistency was too much. Now I’m willing to live with that inconsistency in exchange for other benefits.
A large part of my motivation for learning Emacs was to reduce the number of applications I use regularly. So far there hasn’t been as much consolidation I’d like, though I imagine over time I may use Emacs for more tasks than I do now.
People mean at least a couple different things when they say they use Emacs. Some simply mean that Emacs is their default text editor rather than something like Notepad++, Vim, or TextMate. But some mean much more. They live inside Emacs, doing tasks in Emacs that others would use more specialized software for. I’m closer to the former group for now, though I imagine the real return on the investment of learning Emacs comes from using it as more of a work environment and not just an editor.