back to article Emacs diet for Visual Studio?

The grapevine is buzzing with the news Microsoft is looking for developers with knowledge of the Emacs Lisp-based editing tool. The big question is what Doug Purdy - Microsoft's group programme manager for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and web services guru - wants with a 30-year-old text editor that is generally …


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  1. Steve
    IT Angle

    Pull the other one, it's got bells on

    "Emacs-like ... to appease techies who are fed up with feature bloat"

    If this is seriously Microsoft's reasoning, I can only say, "What an age we live in."

    The mind wobbles, as another ditzy blonde was known to say.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there

    Emacs as a basis for an IDE made some sense until Eclipse appeared.

    (Personally I'm allergic to IDEs - give me vi, sh and make) - but going for something as arcane as emacs with what's now a minority programming language as its implementation and extension language strikes me as wilfully weird. MS is either admitting it's missed the Eclipse boat, or someone's trying to go back to his good old days playing with 4.2BSD on a Vax at college.

  3. Ed
    Gates Horns


    ...Microsoft could be planning their own release of .NET for Linux.

  4. Don Mitchell

    Emacs mode

    Don't be silly. Visual studio had an emacs editing mode for years (called "epsilon" I think). They probably just want to update it.

  5. The Other Steve

    Oh please god no

    I'd rather eat glass than use EMACS and I'm pretty sure most EMACS users feel much the same way about VS, so I can't see what would be gained from such a perverse move.

    On the other hand, MS like bloat, and EMACS is certainly a porker among editors. So who knows ?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Emacs - A cure for feature bloat?

    Only Microsoft could seriously entertain the idea of basing a new lightweight, less bloated editor on Emacs. It isn't for nothing that the name Emacs is often expanded to Emacs Makes A Computer Slow.

  7. tom

    Emacs + (insert tool here)

    So, they're going to come up with something as good as XEmacs + csharp-mode + Makefile? Fat chance!

  8. Marcus

    Did someone say emacs and vi?

    Agh, so much trollbait for emacs lovers like myself, someone even mentioned vi in an emacs story *wags finger*. I winced at the description of emacs as arcane, however true it may be. I hope that MS do use emacs, competition is always healthy provided they play fair. If they copy from us then we should be able to mimic their good ideas, should they have any.

    I like eclipse and use it as my debugger all the while wishing emacs had a better one/I was more proficient at gdb.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Eight Meg And Constantly Swapping

    Yes, it is oddly apposite that of all the open source editors out there, Microsoft should choose to go for the huge, hideous, bloated mess of feeping creaturitis and let's-throw-in-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink that is Emacs, but I guess it makes sense...




    ... after the failure of Vista, they're probably looking for a new O/S!

  10. Pinner Blinn

    funny stuff

    Emacs gets a lot of its power from its portable customization capabilities and buffer management. It seems to me that the negative comments about Emacs are just trash talk.

    IDEs, including Eclipse and VS, tend to slow editing tasks down but are okay for debugging and for visual layout tasks. Flexbuilder on the eclipse platform is nice for what it is.

    VS doesn't need an Emacs-editing mode. Just use XKeyMacs. (Emacs-mode in Eclipse is a pale shadow...)

    As for MS seeking out Emacs people, I haven't the foggiest!

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  12. Anonymous Coward

    Erm, Emacs is feature bloat itself

    I remember reading about a Emacs vs. Vi holy war that happened when I was still in my mother's womb. Apparently there were arguments abound saying that Emacs itself is already feature bloat.

    Forget emacs, I code using GNU Nano, jGrasp and Notepad++ (unless I'm at work, which I have no choice as I need to cook up .NET stuff for the clients).

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Jobs Horns


    They will hunt out the best programmers and invite them all to a swank booze-up.

    Then get them drunk and expose them to some 'patented' MS software.

    Of course they will be politely requested to sign an NDA, but will be to inibrated to realise it stops them doing any programming at all for the next 2 years.

  14. Alan Donaly
    Gates Horns


    he he he, well it's as big as a Microsoft operating system.. oh good god what do those soulless drones want with gods IDE I hate to say it but I wish them well it's a terrible program they should love it.

  15. Edwin
    Thumb Up

    Oh well done El Reg

    We all know about flame wars in comments sections of stories, and what is likely to set them off:

    iPhone stories will have Jobs fanbois and everyone else at each others' throats

    MS stories will have the Tux geeks frothing at the mouth

    Paris Hilton stories will have everybody frothing at the trou... oh, never mind

    But to start a *REAL* flame war, you can't beat a story on emacs to whip the VI lusers into a real frenzy

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Eight Meg?

    Emacs' reputation for bloat is from much earlier days when everyone had less memory - hence Eight Meg And Constantly Swapping. It's actually reasonably lightweight by modern standards...

  17. Daniel


    Personally, I suspect that it's part of Don Box's on-going effort to actually <b>become</b> Richard Stallman.

    Or maybe their graphics design department decalred that they needed some iMacs on a crackly phone line? Not quite as funny as 'needing more Eunuc programmers', but still...

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