Them: I get the appeal of Free Software, but sometimes I want something that Just Works™, without needing to fuss with it.

Me: M-x emacs-uptime

Emacs: 128 days, 21 hours, 26 minutes, 26 seconds

@codesections Yeah, I am right there... but how much time did you sink into fussing with emacs to get it there for you?

I *love* Emacs, but man, I struggled to make it work sometimes. I spent hundreds of hours tweaking my config.

@nathand @codesections

There's a couple of different answers to this.

(1) Touch-typing is great! Yeah, but how many hours did you spend learning to touch-type?

(2) Here's a long list of alternatives (free and proprietary) that do even 30% of what configured Emacs does for me:


> Touch-typing is great! Yeah, but how many hours did you spend learning to touch-type?

Aside from the false equivalency, I would go on to say that, while Emacs is a wonderful text editor, it is often extended to try and fit situations that it's not always suited for. Touch-typing is a much more broadly applicable skill.

That all said, even if it does extend to fit new roles. Those extensions often don't fit the situation, services or features I need/want.


@codesections are you using a completely vanilla emacs though? :P

@codesections I use Emacs as a daily driver, read and write E-mail in it, used to run my job and life on top of planner-mode, and still love a lot about it as a text editor, but I've crashed it or (through packages that talk to external processes) gotten into bad states like won't-do-that-thing-anymore-until-you-restart or hang-once-every-5-seconds-so-you-have-to-slam-C-g-all-the-time sufficiently easily that I would be careful in making an absolute claim about its stability.

I have come to accept stability is relative. Emacs even without heavy customization can hang/crash with weeks of use ... but it is weeks, man! Weeks productively spent on actual work and not switching windows for writing, compiling, debugging, running, version control, file handling, etc.
@kungtotte @emacsomancer @nathand no false equivalence @codesections months of uptime rare for me on "modern" distros and recent Emacs versions.

I'm been thinking about whether this is a "false equivalency" or not. Surely it's not a perfect parallel, since learning touch typing doesn't involve building a literal configuration file (so it's more muscle memory training, akin perhaps to learning to ride a bicycle).

But in terms of something which requires non-trivial upfront time/energy investment for continued pay-off, it doesn't feel fully off-the-mark to me.

Most of my computer use revolves around Emacs, (La)TeX, and a browser (97% Firefox), and I can do so many things so much more productively and (perhaps at least as important) enjoyably in Emacs than I could elsewhere (note-taking, scheduling/planning, LaTeX paper & lecture note creation, email, &c. &c.)

@wyatwerp @trurl @codesections @kungtotte
@codesections how much of that uptime was spent configuring it? and how is that even helpful for the kind of user who says things like "I don't want to fuss with it," do you think they are doing a lot of programming?
@codesections more helpful I think is to ask what they do and if they say creative cloud tell them they are right and if they don't say creative cloud tell them they are wrong and to install gentoo
@FrailLeaf @codesections i would, and he would be very lightweight with no bloat
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