Replace Emacs?

Lord I get tired of reading this sort of thing. The tl;dr is that:

  1. N00bs don't like Emacs because it's not like Notepad and thus has a steep learning curve.
  2. Most Lispers use Emacs.
  3. Because of 1. and 2. n00bs won't learn Lisp
  4. Therefore, we should stop using Emacs and replace it with something that won't cause n00bs to whine.

I don't know about you but this makes me want to slap those n00bs and suggest they grow up. Even if we stipulate that I'm crotchety and intolerant the post is still wrong on its own terms.

The fact is there are already plenty of alternatives to Emacs for Lisp. Many Lispers (Paul Graham comes to mind) use Vim. Oops. That's not Notepad either. How about the LispWorks IDE? Edi Weitz, a world class Lisper, uses it. Want open source? How about MCLIDE or Clozure CL IDE for OS X? What's that? You use Windows? How about LispIDE? It supports a large number of Lisp implementations. With the exception of the LispWorks IDE these all come with source code so you can fix any deviations from the Notepad key sequences.

And at the risk of becoming a poster boy for what's wrong with the Lisp Community, I have to ask if we really want to recruit prospective Lispers who are too lazy to learn Emacs. Because if we do, I promise you that the next thing we'll hear is whining about all those parentheses and an endless onslaught of proposals to use Python-like indentation instead.

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  • Tamas Papp

    Exactly. Thanks for writing this.