The Editor of a Lifetime

Recently, I wrote about Sacha Chua's chat with Harry R. Schwartz and his work with EmacsNYC, which, among other things, releases videos of talks that its members give to the group. The latest video is a talk by Perry Metzger about his 31 years as an Emacs user.

Metzger talks about Emacs' enduring popularity and why anyone would keep using it for more than 3 decades. There are many answers to that, of course, and Metzger talks about several of them but the main reason is that Emacs excels at the thing programmers, writers, and others whose jobs mainly involve working with text do the most: edit text. He says that a modest effort in becoming proficient in Emacs pays daily dividends in time saved editing text.

The talk is not all cheerleading though. Metzger talks about the shortcomings of Emacs and what we can do to address them. These include better email support, CALDAV and CARDDAV integration, improvements to the extensions language, threads, HTML and PDF display, and others.

Metzger is an interesting guy (I remember reading his blog years ago before he abandoned it) and his talk is well worth watching. The video is 68 minutes so plan accordingly.

Update: There's an interesting discussion of the talk at the Google+ Emacs Community. Metzger expands on his discussion of Email and Web page rendering, so it's definitely worth a look if you liked the talk.

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