Hello all.

I do edit EmacsWiki from time to time. I’ve got some thoughts about it, and about wiki-editing in general, and i’ll possibly write about some of them at this spot someday in the future.

Emacs usage

Yeah, i use Emacs. GnuEmacs. I always use a RemoteEmacs from this one Digital Server 5305 i have access to. It’s an DEC Alpha running Debian GNU. We’ve got EmacsForDebian installed there, version 21.2.1 but after fantasising about downloading, configuring, compiling and installing a development Emacs for myself (and other users too) under my own home directory for years but not daring to do so, being a mere user of the system, i’ve finally done it. I decided to grab MultiTTYSupport EmacsFromArch, and it’s working fine, but i’ve only recently started using it.

I must admit that i spent a very questionable year running Windows XP at home, because i simply couldn’t be bothered to set up a real computer for myself. I used a terminal emulator over ssh to that Alpha, and ran Emacs on a tty. Finally things are improving, as i’ve once again set up a Debian GNU box to serve both as my personal workstation, and as a server for the household.

When with an X11 server, i’ve always ran this RemoteEmacs over ssh-tunneled X11 from across the town. At a previous residence it became very clear that i sure did want to compress the traffic going through the 512/512kbps ADSL-line we had. At times things got very sticky. Very very so, i sometimes even doubted my own sanity. However i wished to keep to this idea of keeping all my things at a remote, internet-accessible machine that gets backups made regularly. Then, no matter where i am, i could step into the same, familiar environment by using the computer i’m at as a mere terminal, X11 or dumb. When the lines is not clogged, it was peachy. At our current household we’ve got a thicker line, but it’s in quite heavy use too.

Even when working on X11, i often don’t use the mouse with Emacs, well sometimes for SwitchingBuffers with C-mouse-1 or from menus, because that way i won’t mess up my window setup with BufferMenu. Now that i’ve began to use the IswitchBuffers, it isn’t really necessary, as i get enough feedback in the MiniBuffer. IswitchBuffers is great, and comes for free (no installation required plus no new keys to learn). If it’s laggy day, using the mouse seems like a very bad idea.

I’ve looked into other ways to compress the X11 traffic than ssh-compression and have reported about it on a page discussing running a RemoteEmacs. I did encounter the EmacsLbxProblems when trying it. For the short while it worked, it did seem snappier, which would be nice. Experiences with dxpc are positive. On the client-side dxpc reports compression ratio of about 6.5:1 and 4:1 on the server-side. It’s running through the compressed ssh-tunnel. Though i don’t have real data about the traffic, this acceleration most certainly makes a significant difference! There’s some automation left to do for me, to get the setup and authorization automated robustly.

All in all, this works very well.

Sometimes on a dumb terminal too

Sometimes i ran my EmacsOnTerminal, an DEC VT420 we had hooked to a GNU box via serial interface.

Packages i use

Most important packages for me under Emacs are emacs-w3m, which is my primary web-browser. I’ve also observed myself often WastingTime on the InternetRelayChat, on FreeNode’s EmacsChannel, under the registered nick tekonivel. Though i do babble quite a lot at times with an absolutely horrible signal/noise ratio, worry not, i will shut my hole if theres a lot of traffic to clutter.

This might raise the MuaWar, but I use MH-E interface to my MH mail-handling system, but often use it directly too, from the shell. Yes, i don’t use GNUS, tho i have nothing against it. I read several Usenet groups. I’ve got a set of groups i read and post to with trn(1), and another set i read with Gnus.

I follow a few RSS feeds with NewsTicker, mostly MeatBall:SlashDot, MeatBall:KuroShin. Why do i do such things, and not something useful… i don’t know. I’m basically just a sly bastard, i guess. I don’t know who i’m helping being so llame… oh well.

I use the EmacsWikiMode to write ugly little reviews and notes about computergames, movies and such. I kind of hope it will eventually grow into a habit of having quite a high output rate to the ‘net. I’ve got loads of things to say; not to some person specificly, but in general. I reckon it’s called ranting. We’ll see what comes out if it. I intend to move from EmacsWikiMode to EmacsMuse soonish.

PlannerMode is interesting and impressive too from the little i know, and now that i have more interest in getting myself organised and keeping notes than a couple of years ago, i’ll see if i could put the PlannerMusePort to some use.

Other modes…? Well, the basic stuff everybody uses i guess.


I started using Emacs after years of vim(1) implementation of vi. I do know my ed(1), thus also sed(1) and ex(1), and they’re perfectly fine tools. I’m not here about that, tho. Initially i only used Emacs as a framework around the w3m browser, to get a bit familiarized with Emacs. From there i picked up more stuff, and nowadays i’ve always got my GnuEmacs open, and i spend most of my time at it. I even swapped my trustworthy ircII for EmacsIRCClient.

I try to keep my configuration generic

I prefer keeping my Emacs initialization files general enough to use the same file on any hosts i happen to be on, on any version or flavour of Emacs. Because of my lacking understanding of EmacsLisp, this is not the case at the moment.

I’ve tried to generalize as much of my visual setup as possible too. Surely you would not like how it looks, but i do, and not only because it’s set up in a general, elegant, X11/*nix way. All the colours, fonts and such are set up to my X11 servers resource database from cpp-enchanted ResourceFiles via xrdb(1x). While at it, i came across a ProblemSettingCertainFaceAttributesFromXResources with my Emacs 21.2.1, but VivekDasmohapatra (alias fledermaus) already wrote some EmacsLisp to patch it, and also sent a bug-report, so maybe the quirk will later go away altogether.

The KDE and Gnome toolkits don’t have much respect for the X11 resources, but i don’t use programs utilizing those toolkits much anyway. I prefer the original X11 concepts, and find homogenizing the desktop-environment (KDE, Gnome, Windows, Meatball:MacOsx, AmigaOS) will make them all very dull.

I’ve got most of my dotfiles under ConcurrentVersionsSystem so that they’ll be available to other machines. I’m planning to go for ArchVersionControl, or possibly DaRcs.

I should describe my setup more throughoutly, how i’m running the EmacsFromArch in-place, and other code from version control systems too. How my personal EmacsLisp libraries are installed under ~/share/emacs/site-lisp/.

My configuration files

I don’t currently have my init-files online, for no specific reason. If you’d like to see them, hesitate not to ask on the InternetRelayChat for instance. I’ll be happy to share them. They’re quite pretty, but propably bad EmacsLisp. The comments are in finnish, but i’ll translate them to english for you, it’s no problem! If you care to take a peek at screenshots my —let’s face it— very pretty X11 desktop, some are available at http://kirjakaapeli.lib.hel.fi/~mace/desktop-en.html.

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