On using your computer as more than a terminal

Here are five things I appreciate about using Emacs.

They also apply to any software that runs entirely on your computer.

  • It doesn’t track me.
  • It doesn’t show me ads.
  • It doesn’t require two-factor authentication.
  • It doesn’t change unless I change it.
  • It doesn’t stop working if my internet connection stops working.

Related post: Negative space

9 thoughts on “On using your computer as more than a terminal

  1. I like the fact that the basic keystrokes I learned in *1979* to edit text work just as well today as they did in 1979!

  2. @Mark: Not only that, the software actually runs faster than it did in 1979. Emacs has grown, but the growth hasn’t out-paced Moore’s Law. Unlike certain popular applications that take longer to open now than they did 25 years ago.

  3. R. Van Valkenburgh

    Ah, yes!

    This is how we shall remember the good old days. And surely this is an unusual opportunity to enjoy the good old days, even today.

  4. David J. Littleboy

    “the basic keystrokes I learned in *1979* ”

    It was 1973 here. (Probably TECO on a Datapoint, although I’m pretty sure Stallman was already working on emacs at that point.) Since then, every time I’ve moved to a new environment, the first thing I do is to reimplement said keystrokes. Word for Windows was the first time I failed. Sigh. So I added said keystrokes to the Wordpad widget from Visual C++. Ugly, but it worked.

    Oh, yes. In 1973, the insertion point was indicated by “/\” in the text, where that insertion point indicator string was actually settable. So what people would do, if, say, Chuck left a file open on his terminal and left his desk for a bit, would be to replace that text with “/\Chuck’s a Loser” and watch Chuck try to delete the “Chuck’s a Loser” bit.

  5. My desktop software often requires “middle finger authentication” when I keep encountering the same bug over and over, often in fresh circumstances.

    I’ve come to enjoy may factors of software that is “mostly” run locally but is loaded from the cloud. Perhaps the best example of this is Fusion 360 by Autocad, where the updates (bugs squished, features added, ease-of-use improved) are so frequent it can be quite a shock to watch a YouTube tutorial made just a year ago.

    Yet it doesn’t feel like the product is a moving target. Perhaps I started as a frog in a cold pot of water.

  6. I do have emacs track me, but it is what I want tracked. I love the various history lists and have emacs save all my shell commands in various directories (through bash history in each directory).

    Unfortunately I usually wait too long between upgrades, so that they are quite painful with my customizations.

  7. Andreas Schneider

    The only thing I regret about Emacs is that I haven’t learned to appreciate him earlier in my life. It could have been nicer.

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