back to article Stallman steps back from Emacs

Richard Stallman, industry activist and founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has - once again - relinquished his role as maintainer of the phenomenally successful GNU Extensible, Customizable, Display Editor (Emacs). The news was slipped out on the Emacs developers' forum and Stallman explained his reasons in a later …


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  1. Colin Sharples

    Don't you love recursive acronyms...






  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chong Yidong

    In reply to a post on the GPL Chong Yidon wrote:

    Freedom is an orthogonal issue to salvation. Using a GPL'ed vi clone may satisfy the demands of freedom, and yet be profane. A text editor should not merely be free; it should be an Emacs. Else, one might as well use GNU Cat or GNU Ed as one's text editor, or manipulate the inodes manually with magnets.

    [alt.religion.emacs, 26 Sep 2001]

  3. Del Merritt

    Put on the waaaaay back helmet

    I remember using the TECO-based Emacs back in the ArcMac in the early 80's. I've only managed to carry my .emacs around with me for the last 11 years; I'd have had a version of it longer if I had access to a 9-track tape unit during that fateful job change...

  4. Chris Stave

    But it's not done yet!

    There is still so much more that EMACS could do!

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Other projects?

    I thought emacs *was* all other projects.

  6. Don Mitchell


    escape meta alt control shift

  7. mh.

    Editor wars

    Does that mean vi won then?

  8. Graham Bartlett

    @Recursive acronym












    And no, I don't use VI either. ;-) I use Visual Studio. Surprisingly for MS software, it works, reliably.

  9. Chuck Fry

    Emacs is Lisp-based

    The core of Emacs is a Lisp interpreter coded in C. All significant editing code in Emacs is written in Lisp. Obviously Phil Manchester has never used Emacs beyond saying "where's the Quit button?".

  10. Martin Owens

    Visual Studio?

    >> I use Visual Studio. Surprisingly for MS software, it works, reliably.

    Yes, but how can you be forgiven your evils? ;-)

    Emacs seems quite old and out of touch, although I know people that still use it, although mostly they're perl or c programmers.

  11. Gary Turner

    Not too old nor out of touch

    Back in the day, I used Borland's IDEs for C++, Pascal (now Delphi) and Java. If I were still programming for Windows, I might still. But, as a web developer, I will swear and affirm Emacs to be the most productive editor/environment to work in. There are other editors that may seem to do some things easier, but they somehow come up short at one point or another.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    EMACS? Visual studio? vi? ed?

    Bunch of philistines - lets hear it for nedit !!!!!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Emacs? nedit? Be Brief

    I use Brief, by Underware.

    (On my Sirius. And my Apricot.)

  14. Kevin Whitefoot

    Old and out of touch?

    I use Emacs every day. Not just to develop code but to write my diary, edit web pages (including a local wiki complete with RSS (thank you John Wiegley and Hugo Haas )), move, rename, files, view tar, zip, archives, view web pages. And those are just the things I do. I am well aware that that is just scratching the surface.

    And by the way I do all those things in both MS XP and Ubuntu Linux. I also use VS 2008 (only on XP of course) and the suggestion that it is a reliable product is just beyond belief, it crashes on me at least once a day. If I only had a VB.NET mode for Emacs I would be very happy!

  15. Bernard Coxhead

    Other paths to nostalgia

    The first editor I used was Teco on DEC PDP-11 in 1983. When I used Unix in 1989 I used vi which was hardly an improvement, and frankly I was a bit scared of the fanatics who used emacs and stayed away from it.

    Nowadays if I want to be reminded of those hideous days before WYSIWYG I just open a DOS command window and use Edlin, yes it's still there even in Windows XP.

    Of course real programmers just use COPY CON:

  16. David S

    Real programmers...

    ...use butterflies.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Edlin all the way

    Just for the record I find it very hard to take the creators of anything with a recursive acronym/abbreviation seriously.

    RMS? Massive Shitbag.

    Anon because I'm scared of the RMS and his fanboys...

  18. John Werner
    Thumb Up

    Emacs, XEmacs, JOVE

    It will be very interesting to see what the future of the "Emacs Twins" will be with Stallman taking a more backseat role. Years ago, there was one Emacs (and a few other clones like Temacs and JOVE). Then, almost a decade ago it seems, there was the split (as much philosophical as functional) that led to two main branches - GNU Emacs and XEmacs. Will this change to the leadership of GNU Emacs mean the two might slowly come back together? (Not that either is very different from the other -- its more like red raspberries vs. black raspberries.)

    BTW, I learned Emacs essentially 23 years ago, and I still use it daily. I tried many other things, including Visual Studio, Eclipse, Codewrite, and others, but nothing beats the simple down to earth functionality that Emacs has. True, the learning curve can be steep (although XEmacs has a much gentler curve), but the payback is huge.

    Perhaps the biggest endorsement for Emacs is that so many editors have a emacs key emulation mode! (But then again, Emacs has a VI key emulation mode.....)

    Emacs - it's not just an editor; it's a religion.

    (Emacs = Eighty Megs And Continually Swapping)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    emacs necessary before X, and still the best

    Back in the '80s, before we had X, we worked on "glass ttys" connected to Unix computers with serial lines. Pretty much the only way we had to get two windows on the terminal was with emacs. I ran a debugger in a shell in one window, while looking at the source code in another. Those poor vi guys could run the debugger OR look at the source code, but couldn't do both at the same time.

    I still like the way emacs is an IDE at the right level. It understands my personal indentation schemes for various languages (including plain TeX), and nicely integrates make and gdb, and lots of other stuff. The Lisp variant used internally isn't difficult, and is actually quite useful (though I deliberately don't depend too much on custom Lisp, as I need to work on many computers, and don't always have a thumb-drive with my .emacs).

    I never liked the vi's "command" and "insert" modes. I keep forgetting which mode I'm in, typing long lines of C code while in "command" mode. Yikes.

    Cultural theory: go to one of the few remaining places on the earth with indigenous, non-technical people who've lived in harmony for millenia, and teach them about computers until they have a rational basis for using text editors. At this point they will naturally fall into warring "vi" and "emacs" camps, losing their generations-long tradition of peaceful cooperation.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use nedit

    Emacs is too much for me ,everybody has their favorite I don't think those holy wars were about much at all. A plain vanilla editor with some shell commands maybe some way to record macro's,when I used Windows there was another I liked, like this but it's been abandoned I can't remember it's name.Oh yes for text mode I use Jed neither Emacs nor Vim make me happy in that environment(though Vim is easier).

  21. Robert Brockway


    Microsoft had to decided to get involved before EMACS could be recognised as important? Gimme a break :)

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