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GNU is Not Unix Open Source Software

Emacs 25.1 Released With Tons Of New Features (fossbytes.com) 131

After four years of development there's a major new release of Emacs, the 40-year-old libre text editor with over 2,000 built-in commands. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Emacs 25.1 now lets you embed GTK+ user interface widgets, including WebKitGTK+, "a full-featured WebKit port that can allow you to browse the internet and watch YouTube inside Emacs." And it can also load shared/dynamic modules, meaning it can import the extra functionality seen in Emacs Lisp programs. This version also includes enhanced the network security, experimental support for Cairo drawing, and a new "switch-to-buffer-in-dedicated-window" mode.
Emacs 25.1 is available at the GNU FTP server, and since it's the 40th anniversary of Emacs, maybe it's a good time for a discussion about text editors in general. So leave your best tips in the comments -- along with your favorite stories about Emacs, Vim, or the text editor of your choice. What comes to your mind on the 40th anniversary of Emacs?
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Emacs 25.1 Released With Tons Of New Features

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  • Ohh ohh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18, 2016 @01:36PM (#52912429)

    Does it depend on systemd yet?

    • Re:Ohh ohh! (Score:5, Funny)

      by sribe ( 304414 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @01:41PM (#52912453)

      WTF? Of course not, Emacs will embed systemd!

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      nevemind that; does it finally have an editor?

      hawk

    • "Does it depend on systemd yet?"

      No, but it has a systemd minor mode activated by typing ^c,Meta-W,7&$

    • Does it depend on systemd yet?

      systemd could be its kernel. In fact, I've often joked that if one just combined systemd and emacs, one can bypass the whole saga of distro-wars, BSD vs linux, maybe even System V vs BSD. No need to include any of that - it's all there in systemd and emacs.

      We joke, but if one looks at some of the systemd 'features' - like networkd, where you can now build your IP tables under it, then it pretty much does a lot of the kernel part of the job. And emacs provides the shell. A part of me thinks that this

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @01:42PM (#52912455)
    One thing comes to my mind... that Emacs has become far too bloated with feature creep.

    .
    allow you to browse the internet and watch YouTube inside Emacs

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      It's Swiss Army Turtles all the way down

    • by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @04:42PM (#52913329) Homepage
      On the one hand, duh. On the other hand, the binary download of emacs 25.1 for windows weighs in at ~60MB. Atom for windows around 90MB. Intellij IDEA community for windows: 345MB. emacs isn't really a text editor... it's an IDE. it's still VERY lean by that standard. Bear in mind too that the other two will proceed to download a bunch of stuff after installation, just to become functional.
    • In other words, emacs would finally be a browser more feature rich than lincs. Awesome!!! They should build in FaceBook & Twitter capabilities while they are at it.
    • Well, Emacs has always been inline with the times. It seems the time has come to incorporate Internet and videos. You may not use the new features, though.
    • Yeah, it's bloated......at 12MB compiled (on my computer).
    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      That was in fact a very insightful comment, back in 1995. Today? Yeah that's Emacs. Its still svelte compared to most other IDEs though. For example, its quite possible to websurf from within VisualStudio too. Just bring it up and hit ctrl-alt-r.

      The "bloat" you are complaining about is a feature of IDE's in general (the "I" in "IDE" to be specific), not Emacs specifically.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18, 2016 @01:43PM (#52912467)
    Emacs would be a hell of an operating system if someone would just write a decent text editor for it.

    https://news.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]
  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @01:45PM (#52912475)

    If I wanted an operating system to watch YT videos, I'd use Hurd!!!

    • I think HURD can be redesigned as any glue needed that's provided by neither systemd nor emacs
  • Working mostly in a Windows environment for the past 25 years I never got into emacs. Of course I do need to function in Linux/UNIX environments from time to time and when I do it's vi/vim for me. However the majority of my text editing has been done in Boxer since 1996. I've never had a Windows computer without it, always the first thing I install after loading a (non-server) Windows OS.

    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @01:58PM (#52912533)

      Working mostly in a Windows environment for the past 25 years I never got into emacs.

      Emacs and XEmacs are available for Windows and have been for a while (though not 25 years).

      • Absolutely, and I've played with both although not recently. At the time Boxer/OS2 and Boxer/DOS were what I was using and just never wanted to invest the time to get proficient with emacs. It was choice, not availability or any anti-emacs bias.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Micro Emacs shipped with some versions of Amiga OS too. The Amiga version is graphical and was actually quite good at the time.

    • In Linux I use nano. It's not as full-featured as some of the other text editors but it's lean and clean and does what I need.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @01:56PM (#52912519)

    ... "a full-featured WebKit port that can allow you to browse the internet and watch YouTube inside Emacs."

    As a long time, fairly hard-core, Emacs user (since the '80s) have have to ask: Seriously, why?

    • For a number of reasons, I think. It would allow, for example, to put a more fully featured web browser inside Emacs. This would probably be a better home for documentation than info.

    • So they can put the emacs tutorial up on YouTube. You just have to figure out how to get YouTube to work in Emacs first. For that there's another video.
    • As a long time, fairly hard-core, Emacs user (since the '80s) have have to ask: Seriously, why?

      Because the Emacs ethos is: Why not?

      (I was a long-time, fairly hard-core Emacs user too. Some habits don't die. The way I'd browse YouTube is windows key, chr, enter, ctrl-L, youtube.com. Although newer versions of browsers have made the ctrl-L superfluous for the initial URL. Waste time by moving my right hand to the mouse? Ridiculous!)

      • As an imitation Lisp Machine, the question was probably "why can't we have graphic ports when we had them in the 1980s already?".
    • I'm surprised more people haven't figured out that Emacs is actually a specialized (though highly configurable) desktop environment. I think all of the jokes disguise the reality of the fact that Emacs went beyond the paltry goal of text editing a very long time ago.

      At least one person has taken this to heart and actually written an Emacs-style tiling window manager [wikipedia.org], although like Emacs itself I suspect it will remain in the shadows, useful only to people willing to put in hundreds of hours necessary to
    • As a long time, fairly hard-core, Emacs user (since the '80s) have have to ask: Seriously, why?

      Because they were so excited that they could, they never stopped to ask if they should.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "Seriously, why?"

      Just to have the opportunity to see funny cat videos rendered into ASCII text on the ADM-3a. Wonder how many frames per minute it can do?
  • by apcullen ( 2504324 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @02:06PM (#52912563)
    It's totally better than vi
    • I started an Emacs vs vim comparison test last year.
      When Emacs finishes loading I'll post the results.

      I probably need to add more RAM in order to really test Emacs, I only have 8 GB.

      • The only editor I can't load with 8GB of RAM is Microsoft Office.

      • ...When Emacs finishes loading... probably need to add more RAM in order to really test Emacs, I only have 8 GB.

        You must be running EGACS (Eight Gigabytes And Continuously Swapping), not EMACS.

        • by markus ( 2264 )

          It's probably EGAPS, though. Operating systems haven't been swapping whole processes in a while now. Surely, any OS that can handle gigabytes worth of memory knows how page instead

          • by markus ( 2264 )

            Eight gigabytes and paging strenuously

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            Some of us still call the operation of moving pages between disk and memory "swapping". You're usually swapping the contents of that page of physical memory between pages of virtual memory, after all.

  • 23 years ago (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @02:12PM (#52912591) Homepage Journal

    First job, at Airbus, Toulouse, France. Fresh from university (I'd graduated in maths). I was shown my desk and computer. The OS was some flavour of Unix I've forgotten about. My first assignment was "to have a look at this programming language, ADA, and learn about the customized preprocessor #pragma entries Airbus uses". I asked "but how the hell do I edit this?"

    "Oh, most of us here use emacs". I was baffeld. Learned it, painfully so. Never looked back to another editor.

  • Yes, emacs has a lot of features, but what else are they going to do with it? Could it be faster or use less memory?

  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @02:20PM (#52912639)

    Even iOS supports Emacs key combos on the iPhone or iPad for editing if you use a BlueTooth keyboard. This is some legacy...

    • OSX also supports some emacs keys in just about any text editing area - Ctrl-A for begin of line, Ctrl-E for end. But most useful is Ctrl-K for kill (kill text to end of line), which puts text in a copy buffer that is distinct from the Cmd-C copy. Then you can use Ctrl-Y to paste the text you "Killed".

      • OSX also supports some emacs keys in just about any text editing area - Ctrl-A for begin of line, Ctrl-E for end. But most useful is Ctrl-K for kill (kill text to end of line), which puts text in a copy buffer that is distinct from the Cmd-C copy. Then you can use Ctrl-Y to paste the text you "Killed".

        Well, the two first are only supported because Macs are too retarded to do that on home and end keys, and instead did something so STUPID, they had to get rid of the keys on Mac keybord in case someone pressed them.

        • Well, the two first are only supported because Macs are too retarded to do that on home and end keys

          To the contrary; only retards need home/end keys wasting space when Ctrl-A and Ctrl-E work even better. Even on keyboards that had those useless keys I never used them; in part because they did not always work (under Windows anyway).

          Ctrl-A/E work in WAY more places than those keys ever did for me.

      • OS X even looks for a configuration file where you can customize all that. It's easy to add shift+movement combos for selecting text. Like shift-control-b for moving the cursor backwards and selecting. I never use the cursor keys on my MacBook.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        I hate that (it's not just Macs) because everyone knows Ctrl-Y is re-do. Yank? Really? Oh, well, Stallman has a web browser now so he can get on with his yanking.

        • by _merlin ( 160982 )

          Redo is Shift-Cmd-Z on Macs, and has been for decades. Ctrl isn't used for menu shortcuts on Macs for the most part.

    • It inherited that from its NeXTstep origins. God I feel old.

    • by pz ( 113803 )

      I can't vouch for the recent versions, but at least in Visual Studio 2010, there was an Emacs package available that made using that IDE quite tolerable.

  • I can't believe VI(m) is mentioned in a post about emacs! ;) (Nothing like a good text editor religious war.) Can't believe I've been using emacs almost 35 years.
  • Most of the Emacs users I know are too busy trying to debug why this package or key-binding or the other isn't working right to do any actual editing. Lets see a user with a raw Emacs setup try to watch a You Tube video in it. I doubt it can actually be done without a 2K+ long init.el. You start to ask whether the single environment "efficiency" really is worth more than just opening a browser window - OSes these days are multi-window, you know...

  • My favorite recursive acronym. (EMACS = Emacs Makes A Computer Slow)

    *pours gasoline*

    oh, and VI is *way* better than emacs.

    *whoosh* :-)

  • Is there a vim widget that allows me to run vim inside of emacs?
  • This emacs is such wonderful operating system. It is hampered by not having a good text editor. Has someone ported vi to emacs, yet?
  • So Emacs includes "a full-featured WebKit port that can allow you to browse the internet and watch YouTube inside Emacs."

    This is a joke, right? I know it's not April 1st yet, but this has to be a joke.

    Someone tell me this is a joke, because I don't think a text editor should be able to browse the web and play Youtube videos.

    Now if it could retrieve hourly weather reports from Jupiter, that would be a must-have feature.

    • Dude, I have been using emacs as a build environment (read: to instruct various compilers what to do) for ages. Also, as a preprocessor, as a postprocessor and as everything an OS could possibly provide me with. No, serious - I get your irony. I'm waiting for emacsOS. Really. Just for laughs.

    • Which IDE can not embed a browser (to show docs or whatever)? Even Textmate on the Mac does that. Are you stuck in 1980?

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @04:13PM (#52913155)
    Because otherwise real programmers will have to use butterflies.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes! M-x butterfly still works.

  • I've done some minor Linux administration, generally in the realm of getting some Turnkey Linux appliance or other to run. When I've done so, I've always used nano - it tends to do what I need it to do, it has command cues on the bottom so I don't need to memorize the man file to use it, and it seems to be available basically-everywhere. I used vi a bit in college, and the concept of a modal text editor with next-to-no window dressing doesn't seem, at first blush, to have any real advantages to using something more like nano.

    I am *not* looking to enter into some sort of flame war, but I do hope that someone would be generous enough to help me understand the draw to either vi or emacs.

    • by Phillip2 ( 203612 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @04:45PM (#52913347)

      Emacs -- provides a functional and highly customizable editor. It's got a lot of very nice packages (org and magit, for example, are both superb). It also has a different user interface paradigm -- it's usable entirely from the keyboard. Once you are used to this moving back to something with all that clicking around is rather hard to cope with. And it's very easy to add new functionality.

      VIM -- like Emacs, it is entirely usable from the keyboard. It's not as functional as Emacs, but is it very regular. The main editing commands are very predictable which makes the raw editor of text very efficient.

      That's about the best quick description I can give -- I am mostly an Emacs user, and use VIM for systems administration, so there is a bias in what I say. They are both fantastic tools and it's worth trying them out.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Not everybody has the screen real estate (using 10% of your vertical space on a 80x24 character box) or interface for fancy things like multi-keystroke commands or command cues/hints. That's why I personally prefer vi(m) - it can be ran across a serial terminal without any needs for screen refreshes or even a visible command line. There are plenty of systems that do not understand ctrl + something or support transferring the alt-gr key (think embedded devices, poorly implemented IPMI, actual 1200bps serial

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Vi (and vim by extension) is a different way of editing. In a normal editor, you position the cursor manually and then the operations affect the text at that point. Generally, the operations affect only the character under the cursor. For a few limited commands, you can affect a whole line or a word. Again, generally speaking, operations the affect more than one character are usually limited to some limited navigation and deletion.

      Vi is built around the concept of describing what you want to do and wher

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're asking two different question:

      1) Why modal text editor (editor with modes)
      Answer: Because writing text and editing text are two very different operations. Cutting, copying, pasting, replacing, overwriting, searching, etc are done often enough that constantly holding down a modifier key becomes questionable for some. IANAVU.

      2) Why something as big as Emacs over nano or JOE.
      Because after a while -- maybe a long while -- you will want your editor to have additional feature. Maybe you want more windows.

      • by cstacy ( 534252 )

        You're asking two different question:

        1) Why modal text editor (editor with modes)
        Answer: Because writing text and editing text are two very different operations. Cutting, copying, pasting, replacing, overwriting, searching, etc are done often enough that constantly holding down a modifier key becomes questionable for some. IANAVU.

        You seem to be suggesting that Emacs requires typing more commands (using modifier keys like Ctrl) than a modal editor like vi, but that is simply not true. In Emacs you are always in text-insert mode, and you never exit it; there is no mode. To do something other than text insertion in Emacs requires typing a command (which does not involve entering any "mode" first), which is a modified key (e.g. Ctrl-S for search, or Alt-F for forward word, or Alt-D for delete-word-backwards). Or you can use the mouse,

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @04:58PM (#52913429) Journal
    A grad student named Bala Swaminathan in Washington University added one of the strangest extensions to EMACS. Support for Tamil language! [omniglot.com]. As you can see, those days there were no font support for non Romance language. Our goal was to help people post in Usenet using Tamil. So Bala Swaminathan came up with an ASCII glyph for each Tamil letter. So as you type the phonetic key sequence in an English keyboard, as soon as the Tamil phoneme is recognized, the ASCII glyph will be inserted into the display. If you are on a X terminal and set the font to 2 points, you can actually read Tamil in the EMACS editor! What you see on the screen is not what is saved in the document. It was one hell of a hack.

    Found the original release and FAQ and documentation. [google.com] I actually wrote an extension that will convert that document into a LaTeX document, with actual post script Tamil font support. You could print in Tamil from the Madurai encoded Tamil document. Fun times, 26 years ago!

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday September 18, 2016 @05:17PM (#52913533)

    Not sure which side Slashdot is taking in the Emacs vs VIM war. On the one side they posted the Emacs article before the VIM article so they got to it first. On the other side it's below the VIM article on the front page.

    I'm so confused. Slashdot which should I use?

  • There was a time when the command line was the best thing you had. It meant you couldn't just sit down and start doing stuff. You had to learn commands. This applied to applications like text editors also. I'm not here to evangelize for command line stuff, but now, when I have the choice of the command line, or something graphical, I very often choose the command line because it's quicker and easier now that I've paid my dues on the learning curve.

    When I entered the Unix world, the most popular editor w

    • Eventually though, I got an Atari ST as my home computer, and after trying various things out, to my amazement, the best text editor for the Atari was a 'micro-emacs' that had just the most useful emacs commands and nothing else.

      Weird, the Amiga also came with a micro-emacs. I wonder if it was the era or if there was something about 68k processors that went hand-in-hand. People have described both as being beautiful, but people are weird

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I used to use micro emacs a lot too. It was like emacs but without the bloat. I used it on an Amiga and QNX.

      TBH I've never gotten into Emacs. I'll use it when it is there, but the amount of extended commands and the frankly arcane knowledge necessary to configure it has always been a turn off. I still remember looking to enable syntax highlighting and discovered it was called "font lock mode" - WTF??? Micro emacs was just an editor and reasonably easy to set up. Joe was another editor in the same vein.

      T

  • In the war between Emacs and Vi I come down on Emacs' side, but this is beyond silly.
    And it goes to show that the GTK version is as pointless as I make it out to be. I only use Emacs in the CLI, and if I even chose to set up a speedy minimal linux system emphasising the CLI I will run it in CLI mode.

    I've seen a lot of silly stuff come out of the Emacs camp, but adding webkit to Emacs take the nonsense to a new level in my book.

  • I use emacs in no windows mode. It's an excellent file system navigator and editor over ssh and locally.

    cat `which e`

    #! /bin/sh
    if [ -z "$1" ]; then
            emacs -nw .
    else
            emacs -nw $1
    fi

  • Is XEmacs moribund? It was my go-to editor since GNU Emacs still can't handle multiple columns properly on a terminal window. Unfortunately it feels like someone ported the bad terminal code from GNU Emacs a few years ago into XEmacs and now they both suck in Linux terminal windows.

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      Pretty much [wikipedia.org]. By multiple columns, do you mean C-x 3? Or something else? Filing a bug report would be the best way to get this addressed - the GNU Emacs maintainers do still very much care about terminal support.

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