JuhapekkaTolvanen

Homepage: http://iki.fi/juhtolv

I use Emacs. But I am curious to see, if next major version of XEmacs makes it once again better editor than GNU Emacs.

Some history

I came to University of Jyväskylä year 1994. I also came to Internet and I got my first Unix account, then. First text editor I learned to use under Unix was pico. When I started my career as Emacs-user, I started with XEmacs, because it was so advanced and comfortable, then (year 1996 or something). I learned to use Vim, too. I used both XEmacs and Vim many years: XEmacs for serious coding, programming and markup and Vim for mostly human languages, configuration files and fast corrections. There was also that grey area: For HTML and shell scripts I used both Vim and XEmacs. I was/am so perverted, that sometimes I even edit(ed) my ~/.emacs with Vim :-P . I also learned to use ed. Then GNU Emacs 21 came and it felt somehow more comfortable than XEmacs. I even deinstalled XEmacs for a while.

I used tin for Usenet News few years but then I switched to Gnus. My first MUA was Pine, but then I learned to use mutt. I used Vim as its text editor.

Then (2004-09-24) I got the idea: I wanted to use Emacs as much as possible. Therefore I got to learn to use Emacs right way: Start emacs once and then just load files to it and close those files after editing and avoid quitting emacs as much as possible. Using gnuserv is then very important.

Current status and future

Now my mutt uses Emacs as its text editor via gnuserv. I am trying to find a ways to use Emacs for E-Mail, too. It must use Maildir for both mail spool and mail folders. Current candidates are Gnus and Wanderlust. I just got for Gnus right settings that use Maildir as much as possible. I am completely able to handle my E-Mail with Gnus, but mutt is always there, when needed. My mutt can use BBDB as its address book with help from LBDB (The Little Brother’s Database). Maybe I don’t need Wanderlust at all. I am considering to learn RSS-reading with Gnus. It might be fun. Right now I use Sage under Mozilla Firefox for my RSS-needs.

I also learned to use Bbdb. I just moved my mutt-aliases to it. I am trying to find a working way to export and import phonenumbers between Bbdb and my cellular phone.

I don’t think I’ll ever use emacs for IRC, because irssi rocks so much. And I think I’ll never switch from zsh to Eshell. For TODO-lists and other outline processing I prefer hnb. But other new ways to exploit and (ab)use emacs will always be considered.

Some thoughts about text editors

I am convinced that Emacs is the best text editor. It is so full-featured. And if something is missing, somebody will code it in elisp for emacs sooner or later.

Clones of vi and especially Vim and nvi are best for fast and tiny corrections when emacs is not already on. Every Unix admin must learn some usage of vi-clones: When new Unix-system is set up, there is no emacs available, yet. For initial configuration vi (or even ed) is often needed. After that it is time to install emacs and Vim. Vim is absolutely the most full-featured of all vi-clones. nvi is good, when other text editors are not yet on and you are so busy, that you have no time to wait startup of Vim or emacs.

It is also good to learn to use some ed, because some day you may be faced with so broken system, where screen-based editors just don’t work, for example if (n)curses and/or termcap/terminfo is fscked up. Hopefully at least line-based editors still work in that situation.

Every good Unix admin must install GNU Nano for newbies: it is free (in the sense of freedom) and bug-fixed clone of pico. It has enhancements, too.

For really adventurous people I suggest sam and wily. They emulate text editors of Plan 9 operating system. AFAIK Unix-version of sam is straight port of sam of Plan 9. wily is a clone of acme.


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