Some Problems with (X)Emacs
Dear Madam or Sir!
This is Debian 3.1r0a "Sarge" from LOB.de
Machine is an old AMD K6II/500 with 448 MB.
X11 is done remote via CygWin X11 220.127.116.11-11 because the graphics card of
the K6 has a thermic problem locking up the machine after half an hour and
also because the remote machine has a bigger display and much of the CPU
load due to the SVGA X11 driver because the ATI driver refuses to work, not
uncommon, the ET4000/W32 driver of the old S.u.S.E. 4.3 refused to work as
well. Usage of resources was quite much smaller bach then 10 years ago.
XEmacs 21.4.17 shows a nasty flicker due to constantly refreshing the
buffer tabs and the buttons in a customisation buffer.
Also sometimes activating the menu bar with the mouse shows no direct
effect besides disabling the mouse in a buffer, some ESCs fix that.
GNU Emacs 21.4 has some problems when customising a large number of
options, probably there is a hidden limit to the size of the .emacs file.
Also there is no migration tool for importing GNU Emacs 20.7 .emacs files,
Emacs 21.4 complains heavily when importing such a file. Perhaps the
migration tool should just convert MS-DOS/Windows pathnames, Emacs 20.7
happily runs that thorough customisation, migrating well between NT4, W2k,
and XP Pro over time.
I also dug up an ancient P133 or so with small enough disks to revive OS/2
and the Emacs known from there, AFAIK it was Emacs 19 like that of the
For testing, I recommend installing all the Emacs extensions of "Sarge"
3.1r0a and try to turn on all the bells and whistles.
Watch out for mouse-selection-mode, activating this will *disable*
selection with the mouse.
Please urge the developers to be a bit more verbose in their inline
documentation, especially about possible conflicts. Separate documentation
is also highly welcome, anything that shallows the learning curve.
The extensions are that numerous that the overview is becoming difficult if
not being an Emacs developer.
Please forward this also to the GNU Emacs and XEmacs development teams, the
problems may originate already from there masking Debian's customisations.
I think the developers are best suited to find and fix the problems than me
digging through the huge code base, trying to understand that code.
Debian is an ideal place for being the head of various consolidating groups
that could make the whole bunch of sofware run smoothly out of the box.
Note Bill Gates has made a few things right like in being able to install
out of the box with minimal user assistance, Linux is already catching up
somewhat in ease of setting up and use, but the emphasis should be put less
on mimicking all the Windows gimmicks than for ease of maintenance with
templates for sane options albeit there are less security holes as are with
Windows' fine-grained modularity and excessive integration.
Norbert Grün (email@example.com)
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