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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Impression I create with Gnus!

Sometimes I forget that Emacs is not a mainstream editor in India. And lots of folks haven't even heard of it.

Since I use Emacs for almost everything and the most common application I'm in, is Gnus, I get a lot of curious enquiries. Some are easy to divine while others are slightly weird where it's like there is a pregnant silence and you both wish the conversation had not started.

Is that a DOS application?
is the most common question. That is sort of OK, as I have white on black emacs screen and it probably is easy to mistake Emacs for a DOS application when glancing quickly(hah!)

Those who examine it a little more closely ask more questions. Earlier I used to say "Gnus", now I say my "mail client" and quickly add that I prefer plain text. The question which is asked

What is that?

At this point, UNIX guys nod their heads, Windows guys/Managers smile and others simply think I'm kooky.


Oh, I prefer the keyboard to the mouse, I say. It's easier to do this, that and that (vigorous hand waving by me) and getting a little animated.

You don't use insert mail app here?
No, you see it's a part of Emacs and Emacs is..... (even more excited and fast speech)


See, you can do PCVS, mail, Usenet.... (swivels around to Laptop and runs through a couple of keychords)

At this point, the newbies listen on, others look at their watch, while even more others mutter some excuse, and some say "nice" and wander on.

The hapless noob is well and truly in my clutches. :-)

You know vi, I ask?

Just started learning it, he replies.

Well, don't learn it, learn Emacs, I earnestly prod him.

Is it easy?
It takes about 6 months and after that it's easy I say. Faces fall; see, you'll have to unlearn CUA and relearn the Emacs way, terminology usage and all.

Is it Free?

Of course, I'll give my copy of it, I say.

Which is the last I hear from him.

I think I'm doing a terrible disservice to the FSF GNU Emacs hackers. World domination will have to wait.

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