Problems of Emacs Supporting Obsolete Systems

By Xah Lee. Date:

Emacs people are trying to make emacs still working on DOS, a technology that has been practically obsolete for about 10 or 15 years.

What a idiocy.

The problem is that nothing you or me can do about it. If you join the dev list, even if you are recognized as having made major contributions to emacs, your opinion or suggestion on this will be debated in the list. (in emacs dev community, and probably many FSF dev communities, you are a nobody, and can never be proven otherwise, unless you are Richard Stallman, who has been out of touch with coding for perhaps 15 years) Typically, at the end, nothing will be done, or some other compromised botched up shit will be taking place.

The support of obsolete technologies do harm. In this case, forcing file names to DOS's file name limitation makes them less readable, and also of course takes a lot time to re-code and debug CEDET. Short files names strains emacs lisp's many deficiencies of no namespace, no lexical scope, and no qualified module/packaging support.

This is just one example. In emacs, and in general in unix communities, the mentality of backward compatibility is to a degree harmful, at the cost of harming progress of the software. There are lots of other examples in emacs too. Quick examples off my head: in emacs manual, there are lots verbiage to obsolete systems that a average professional programer never heard of today. This harms the efficiency of the manual. (no wonder nobody reads it) Also, somewhere in elisp manual it suggest programers to use file names not longer than 32. (file systems on Windows, Mac, Linux, has supported 255 chars out of the box for about at least 7 years.)

In practice, nobody uses those systems, maybe 0.0001% of those in computing industry. And if the world has say 10 people using such obsolete systems, and if one of them made a vocalization, then it'll be be supported. (due to the we-all-democratic Freedom and Equality mentality fck commonly implicit in open sources.)

Any existing DOS users, for whatever reasons or history studying reasons or what not, emacs 22 is still there.

Emacs Modernization

  1. Simple Changes Emacs Should Adopt
  2. Why Emacs Keys are Painful
  3. Problems of the Scratch Buffer
  4. M-key Notation vs Alt+key Notation
  5. Menu Problem
  6. Mode Line Problem
  7. cua-mode Problems
  8. kill-buffer Induces Buffer Accumulation
  9. Emacs Form Feed ^L
  10. Inconsistency of Search Features
  11. Single Key to Delete Whole Line
  12. Emacs HTML Mode Sucks
  13. Emacs Does Not Support Viewing Images Files In Windows
  14. Emacs Spell Checker Problems
  15. Adopt HTML as Texinfo Replacement
  16. Support HTML Mail
  17. Problems of “man” Command
  18. Emacs Lisp Mode Syntax Coloring Problem
  19. Emacs Ahk Mode Problems
  20. Problems of Emacs's Manual
  21. Problems of Emacs's Manual; Examples
  22. Emacs: Have You Read Emacs Manual?
  23. Elisp: Ban Syntax Table
  24. Emacs: Make elisp-index-search use Current Symbol
  25. Emacs: Usability Problems of Mode Documentation
  26. Emacs GNU Texinfo Problems; Invalid HTML
  27. A Record of Frustration in IT Industry; Disappearing FSF URLs, 2006
  28. Emacs Manual Node Persistency Issues
  29. Emacs: dired-do-query-replace-regex Replace ALL (fixed)
  30. Problems of Emacs Supporting Obsolete Systems
  31. Elisp: Function to Copy/Delete a Dir Recursively (fixed)
  32. Thoughts on Common Lisp Scheme Lisp Based Emacs
  33. Text Editors Popularity and Market Research
  34. Text Editor's Cursor Movement Behavior (emacs, vi, Notepad++)
  35. GNU Emacs Development Inefficiency
  36. Emacs Dev Inefficiency and Emacs Web 2.0?
  37. Letter-Case Commands Usability Problems
  38. Emacs: Select Line, between Quotes, Extend Selection
  39. Emacs: isearch Current Word
  40. Suggestions on Line Wrap Commands
  41. Emacs: Single Key to Delete Whole Line
  42. Emacs Undo and Emacs Cult Problem

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Emacs Lisp