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Software GNU is Not Unix Programming IT Technology

Emacs Hits Version 23 367

djcb writes "After only 2 years since the previous version, now emacs 23 (.1) is available. It brings many new features, of which the support for anti-aliased fonts on X may be the most visible. Also, there is support for starting emacs in the background, so you can pop up new emacs windows in the blink of an eye. There are many other bigger and smaller improvements, including support for D-Bus, Xembed, and viewing PDFs inside emacs. And not to forget, M-x butterfly. You can get emacs 23 from or one of its mirrors; alternatively, there are binary packages available, for example from Ubuntu PPA."
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Emacs Hits Version 23

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  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:50PM (#28886867)

    I don't use Emacs as my primary editor anymore, but I do turn to it pretty often still.

    For short repetitive tasks, there's simply nothing more useful than the macro recording mode that lets you execute a combination of searches, multiple buffer stores, and cursor position storage states to easily repeat very complex tasks over a block of code.

    For reading in obscure file formats, Emacs usually has an answer - with good syntax highlighting.

    I look forward to this next iteration of emacs and what else it can do...

  • by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:52PM (#28886903) Homepage
    of a recent /. article entitled the amazing world of software version numbers []
  • by Lemming Mark ( 849014 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:58PM (#28887025) Homepage

    M-x version gives me "GNU Emacs (i686-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 2.10.6) of 2007-01-18". This is a version I checked out from emacs CVS on that date, compiled with GTK support and antialiasing (at least one, possibly both of which were experimental at the time) and have been using this version ever since. I've been sticking to it because of the antialiasing, basically. Whenever I start it up it displays a warning about how it might be horribly unstable, eat my data, etc.

    But I have found it to be remarkably stable - much more so than many / most final releases of software. I can probably count the crashes I've had from it on my fingers - in unary, not binary, for the benefit of any pedants out there. If the final release is at least as good as the random CVS checkout I have then it ought to be pretty good! To be fair it sounds like lots of features have been added since my checkout ...

    On the basis of my experience I will consider testing CVS versions of emacs in future if they have useful features that I need. Obviously still gotta take care with that vital data when doing so, my good experiences notwithstanding!

    On a side note, the emacs versioning system is amusing in itself ... IIRC they were numbering the releases 0.x and working up to 1.0 as normal. But it took so many releases that they ended up just dropping the "0." designation and calling it "x" instead. Which is why emacs is at version 23 where vim (on my machine) is only at 7.2 and nano at 2.0.9 ;-)

  • Word wrapping (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xiox ( 66483 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:59PM (#28887047) Homepage

    How about adding word wrapping when displaying? My local emacs expert wasn't even able to do that, but MS Notepad can do it. It's really useful for editing latex documents where your want a paragraph on a single line (that makes it much easier to search for phrases).

  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @05:19PM (#28888439) Journal

    Emacs is not an IDE. That term is limited to one type of work (development), while Emacs is good for pretty much anything that involves working with text. "IDE" also conjures up images of endless busy toolbars and wizards and snapins and docked windows and proprietary file formats and non-standard tools everywhere you look, while Emacs provides a single interface (the buffer) and builds on standard tools and file formats.

    I'd call Emacs an "operating environment". That covers its ability to provide a unified interface to most tasks, while acknowledging that it doesn't replace the operating system (Emacs is crippled without some flavour of GNU or UNIX behind it.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @05:22PM (#28888501)

    No, calendars don't CONSIST of text. What you mean is that there is an easy - maybe even natural - textual representation of calendar data.

    It's a small difference, but an important one.

    That said, the fact that you already think of everything as actually *being* textual is rather interesting in itself, and incidentally, certainly explains why you like Emacs (with which there is nothing wrong, BTW): you have a hammer (Emacs), so you see every problem in its representation as a nail (text).

    And this works for you because most if not all of your problems can, indeed, be represented as nails (text).

  • by the Atomic Rabbit ( 200041 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @07:00PM (#28889879)

    There's also the point by Debian's vim maintainer, who switched to Emacs earlier this year []: that Emacs makes it very easy to interact with more specialized tools, such as ispell. Contrast with vim, which implemented its own spell checker. Now, let's see... which approach is more consistent with the Unix philosophy?

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @08:17PM (#28890757) Homepage Journal
    I use emacs for daily text editing, but I still bust out vi from time to time for config files, as it's much faster and generally all I need for that. Vi's regexp string replace convinced me to use it early in my career, but I like Emacs' flexibility. While working at Sun we had a database that I found to be confusing. I finally ended up writing a relationship finder in E-Lisp that would figure out relationships between two tables. That's the kind of thing I want my tools to be capable of doing.
  • by ickpoo ( 454860 ) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @10:59PM (#28891923)

    I use Emacs instead of Visual Studio for editing C++, C#, SQL, and XML. I even gave Visual Studio a chance when I switched to working with Visual C++, it just doesn't edit text as well (only thing it does better is Intellisense).

    Emacs has better window management (multiple frames and windows, great for dual screens), better indenting (it does it for me in multiple languages), much better syntax highlighting, better searching (no silly window to search from), and even better environment for tracking through compilation errors (using Visual Studio as the compiler). The only thing I haven't got working is debugging Visual Studio executables in Emacs.

    Having actually compared and used them both, I'm not sure why people use Visual Studio, it just isn't as good for developing software.

  • by Onymous Coward ( 97719 ) on Friday July 31, 2009 @08:30PM (#28904351) Homepage

    The choice to not learn is yours, and you're the most informed person with regards to the environment (your life) into which such knowledge/skill would fit. That makes you the best judge except that you probably don't know what the benefits are exactly nor the time involved to learn. If you're resistant to learning computer tools (of whichever stripe), perhaps out of perceived lack of benefit or expected difficulty (rigamarole, hassle), that will make learning harder. We all need to beware our preconceived notions. Often we're just fooling ourselves with comforting beliefs... that are wrong... and harmful.

    Okay, here's how you version control config files:

    ci -l .vimrc

    Then you say what's changed. It's really not hard.

    As for working in a system administration team v. working alone — it's almost the same. I am a different sysadmin from myself... on different days. I can't remember every change I've made or motivation for it. Version controlled files are a log of activity and intention as well as a way to revert if needed. It's useful, and the time and effort we've spent discussing the matter actually far outweigh the time and effort simply to do it. How much else in our lives is like this? We really need to beware our prejudices. "Granfalloons" may seem small, but the painful truth is that they add up. Good luck.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen