Posted: Mar 15, 2012 4:58 pm
by VazScep
mizvekov wrote:Wat? Emacs is not already developing itself into a new paradigm for the 21st century? :grin:
On reflection, my comment was pretty stupid. If anything, I want an Emacs for the 1980s. Here's a famous rant about how Emacs compares to similar tech on Lisp machines:

"It's kind of hard to appreciate the differences from reading a description. It's even hard to appreciate it from using Zmacs. Where the light dawns is when you've been using Zmacs for a while and go back to using plain old Emacs.

What, you mean there's no keystroke to bring up a list of every change I've made in every file on the box? What, you mean there's code on the box whose source I can't pop up with a keystroke? What, you mean I have to run some sort of tags program on source files before I can find definitions? What, you mean there's code on the box that isn't cross-referenced? What, you mean there's running code on the box whose source I can't step into? What, you mean I can't insert references to objects on the screen into my code just by clicking the screen objects?

Zmacs is tightly integrated with Genera, and it's Lisp all the way down to the microcode. Emacs is great, don't get me wrong, but it's at a different remove from the system."

This is the sort of thing that makes me sad. It's not just that things used to be so much better. It's that we've collectively forgotten our history, which contains technology that is several grades more advanced than anything developed in the last two decades. Instead, we find ourselves getting excited about the latest technology from Microsoft, even though it doesn't compare in functionality to stuff three decades old. Joel Spolsky lamented the point when he talked about how Microsoft were revolutionising their filesystem search facility, so that you'd be able to access files in just a few keystrokes (something we've had in UNIX since the early 80s). And there was a particularly poignant post on usenet some time ago, I think by Kent Pitman, worrying that we'd lost something important by the simplicity of filesystem functionality brought on by the dominance of UNIX and Windows.

Technology is great, as any iphone user will gush. But as a programmer, I feel as if most things have been going backwards for the last few decades.