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Two Years With Emacs as a CEO and now CTO (2018) (fugue.co)
124 points by spudlyo 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 88 comments

This excerpt is a relief because it feels like I got permission to stop trying to use org-mode for to-do lists:

"# I gave up on using Org-mode for schedules and to-do lists

I spent some words in the original post on using Org-mode for schedules. I gave up on using Org-mode for to dos and the like, as I have to coordinate many meetings and calls every day with dozens of people, and I cannot ask the rest of the world to adapt to my choice of tools, nor do I have the time to transcribe or automate moving things to Org. We are primarily a Mac shop, use Google Calendar etc., and the native Mac OS/iOS tools do a good job for collaboration. I also use a plain old pen for note-taking during meetings, as I find laptop/keyboard use in meetings to be rude and limiting to my ability to listen and think. Therefore I've largely abandoned the idea that Emacs/org can help me with my schedule or organizing my life. Org-mode is great for lots of other things too though, and is my go-to for writing documents, including this one. In other words, I use it largely in ways the author didn't intend, and it's great at them. I hope someone says the same of our work at Fugue someday."

This took me multiple iterations of org-mode bankruptcy to finally accept.

A lot of my config at the time came from Bernt Hansen's fantastic open source org-mode config document, about organizating absolutely EVERYTHING in org-mode.


However, any time I needed to collaborate with someone else, this all kind of went out the window, not to mention I never really ended up using any of my clocking data outside of contract needs, which I didn't have nearly as much of as the original author of that config.

I still use org-mode tasks for personal tasks sometimes, especially since BeOrg (iOS, https://beorgapp.com/), Orgzly (android, http://www.orgzly.com/), and org-web (web, https://org-web.org) can get stuff to/from my phone, but otherwise I've just learned that dealing with multiple task systems (CRM, bug systems, trello, etc) is a fact of life and trying to optimize around it is an arms race I probably won't win. Turns out managing multiple systems still takes less time/friction than trying to shoehorn your own.

Something like Monolist (https://monolist.co) looks interesting, though.

EDIT: Added org-web. :)

As a huge proponent of org-mode I completely agree. Collaboration today via online tools is largely required in most jobs now.

For personal TODOs, I still use SCHEDULED/DEADLINE in org-mode, but for anything via a calendar, Google Calendar is my read-write interface. I used a separate tool [0] to quickly read my calendars and populate a read-only org-mode file for my org agenda.

This puts my schedule in it's entirety in my org-mode agenda, but also has all the benefits of using google calendar.

[0]: https://github.com/codemac/gcalorg

You can also export your SCHEDULED/DEADLINES from org-mode to caldav.

How do you guys collaborate then? Either Word, Google Docs or some bastardized Wiki (Media-/Doku-) are quite popular for documentation and collaborative writing in the larger scale, but I found the todo/organization space to be fractured enough as is. So you've got plenty of duplication and wasted effort already, org-mode is just another pebble on this pile. Some are using Word's outline mode, some are using things like MS Project or the various Mac GTD apps, then there's workflowy, OS X Notes/Reminder, Hipster PDAs, OneNote etc.

So exporting, munging and re-typing is going to happen anyway. It's a bit boring sometimes, but using a good tool and then doing that is not more time than everyone agreeing on the least common denominator (emailing screenshots?) anyway -- and you get the speed/productivity benefits at the time when it matters most.

Yea, same. I keep trying to figure it out but it just doesn't seem to have any advantages over checking my backlog for my todos.

Maybe because I gave up trying to configure emacs on my own and ended up with spacemacs + evil mode, thus overcomplicating org mode (and overriding some of the keybindings people use in tutorials) beyond use?

I found the main problem was at the interface with other people. I never got org's iOS app working properly and generally missed the multimedia flexibility of Notes (nothing beats scanning PDFs and instantly having them show up in your document, ready to share with others from your phone). It's messy, but in practice it's actually lower friction. I ended up generally dropping org mode and just using LaTeX to-do lists based on a template I wrote.

For me best solution is: paper and pad to take notes, and then any todo/note app to make a list in the cloud, so I can refer to it at home, the next day etc.

Yup, agree. Uf you're a programmer using Emacs and have time to devote to customization, devote it not to messing about with Org-mode but instead to getting the IDE features for your language working nicely (e.g. flycheck, and a static analysis tool like Jedi for Python), and probably to ivy/counsel, and to trying paredit (which will probably work surprisingly well on your language's syntax).

Same here! I tried really really hard to make org mode work for me but never managed to get it to stick. I now use workflowy and I am not missing the extra features

I'm an absolutely dedicated Emacs user. Cannot imagine moving to another editor.

Strangely enough, about 3 years ago I nuked my huge library of custom configurations and complicated Emacs Lisp thingamajigs and just use vanilla Emacs (for the most part) now.

The one thing I can't do without is Paredit and ido, but other than that, its very much just a "can't be bothered" thing anymore.

Never got into org mode. Most people with big org files that I have met have a serious inability to let go, and their org file is actually just a giant burden and illusion about what they are going to do in life.

My organizational philosophy is do one thing at a time until each thing is done and never with a sense of urgency. When the thing is done, stop and think carefully about the next most important thing. Repeat.

Whatever you do, no matter what field you specialize at, if you use a computer, you need to try to minimize the frustration. Frustration comes (mostly) from repetitive, mundane tasks. Whatever can be automated, should be automated.

And Emacs is an excellent tool to help you with that. Yes, it has a steep learning curve, just like any other professional tool.

Would you get into a cabin of an industrial excavator and complain about controls being un-intuitive? Or would you attempt to pilot a helicopter without proper training?

Why nobody ever said: "ah, the interface of an airliner is cumbersome, we need to make it intuitive for newbies"?

There is a strong correlation between the efficiency of a tool and the learning curve. The more efficient is a tool in the professional setting, the steeper is its learning curve.

Learn Emacs. But be prepared for a long (maybe a lifetime) journey. Be ready for challenges. I promise you - one day it will change your subjective view of the world.

> Or would you attempt to pilot a helicopter without proper training?

No... not unless i had to.

But where does a coder find emacs gurus to teach them the ropes?

https://www.masteringemacs.org is the best books on Emacs I have ever read. But truly, is just about doing things in Emacs. Start using Emacs and whenever you need to get something done, just google it. After a few days, you'd have sufficient vocabulary to navigate yourself around. Don't be obsessed with configuring and adjusting it to your needs at that point. Jump into that rabbit hole later, when you feel you know what you're doing.

Emacs has been a daily driver for me since the 1980s. That said, in modern times I also use alternatives. For about ten years I also relied on the Jetbrains IDEs. I have swapped out IntelliJ, PyCharm, and RubyMine for VSCode plus relevant extensions.

I now use Emacs and Slime for all Common Lisp development, for a lot of Haskell work, and whenever I am working remotely via SSH on a leased server or VPS.

Anyway, Emacs is fantastic but I don’t feel like I need to be all-in with one choice of editing framework.

Well, I'm obviously an idiot. I saw the headline and thought that this was going to be about Emacs being the CEO of a company.

Maybe it can't do everything.

M-x run-a-company

Also, There is company-mode. ;)

"Go away, or I shall replace you with a very small elisp snippet!"

M-x create-unicorn

You could probably customize org mode.

call it decentralized-autonomous-org mode.


For what is worth you are not alone.

"[Emacs'] idioms are paths to discovering and creating your own, and that for me is the definition of creativity."

What a great sentence which highlights a strength of Emacs: that it's natural for Emacs users to be able to extend it.

I found out an old win95 computer with turbo pascal 7 on it. I was so amazed about the IDE .. yet hard coded keybindings made me suffer so much. I couldn't stop saying "if that was emacs I .."

Other than things like the keybindings I still maintain that TP was one of the finest development tools I ever used, insanely fast builds (for the time) with fantastic documentation made for a really tight closed loop.

Delphi managed to bring that to the graphical desktop and I think had it they not screwed up with the price would have done much better.

yeah I was blown away by the amount of features packed into 600kB. I didn't realize as a kid that I was compiling native code .. now I understand the feat.

My version of embrace-and-extend is usually copy-paste-and-extend ;)

(unless there are well-chosen customizable variables)

I've heard of King George VI, and I know somebody who named their dog Emacs, but this title sounds like there's a person named Emacs!

There was a person named Emack, who gave his name to the ice cream shop Emack and Bolio’s, which the editor may or may not be named after.

That's in Cambridge near MIT, and it was a favorite of the MIT-AI Lab crowd too, so that may have influenced it! There's also a text formatting program named Bolio.


>Reynolds, Craig (1992-02-10). Wiseman, David G. (ed.). "The Emac Bolio Name Koan". David G. Wiseman: Stories of Computer Folklore. A cocky novice once said to Stallman: 'I can guess why the editor is called Emacs, but why is the justifier called Bolio?'. Stallman replied forcefully, Names are but names, Emack & Bolio's is the name of a popular ice cream shop in Boston town. Neither of these men had anything to do with the software.' His question answered, yet unanswered, the novice turned to go, but Stallman called to him, 'Neither Emacs nor Bolio had anything to do with the ice cream shop, either.'


>gumby 8 months ago on: Talking to the Mailman – Interview with Richard St...

>The Flanders and Swan song ("I'm a gnu") was not a kid's song.

>I'm not sure if Emacs and Bolio was open when the editor evolved, but the text formatting program (like runoff) called "Bolio" was definitely named after the ice cream store (since by the time it was written Emacs already existed).

I wonder if there's any software named after Mary Chung's legendary Suan La Chow Show / Suanla Chaoshou?



>Mary Chung's restaurant (鍾園川菜館, Pinyin: Zhōngyuán Chuāncàiguǎn) in Cambridge, Massachusetts serves a dish called Suan La Chow Show, which are dumplings in a spicy soy ginger sauce on top of a bed of raw mung bean sprouts. This popular dish is different from the suan la chao shou described by Fuchsia Dunlop, who studied at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu. Although somewhat similar, Dunlop's recipe includes a substantial amount of black vinegar in the sauce, making it much more sour.

Longtime vi/vim user. I've tried emacs over the years (as well as Atom). I can get work done but inevitably when I need to do some power editing, I drift back to what I know best. I'm sure that if an emacs user went the other way, they'd also drift back to emacs for the same reasons.

Basically, both (and other) environments are sufficient such that there isn't a killer feature on either side that would entice someone like me over the great divide for the duration. So for me, the editor wars are over.

Emacs is a great editor construction kit. That’s its killer feature. If you like the vi bindings, etc, you build a great vi editor in Emacs, for example.


The emacs bindings are fine (although I seem to recall hitting the escape key a lot). It's when you need to go past that and do power editing. I'm used to dropping into ex mode and using sed style regular expressions. Now I'm certain that there's a way to do that emacs. It's just that that was the point where I'd drift back to vim to get work done. I couldn't quite force myself to do things the emacs way.

I've always wondered how you pronounce that.

Is it space-y-macs or is it like dr spaceman (spah-chem-uhn) in 30 rock. :)

I've always pronounced it "space macs", both because that's intuitive and because it fits the original meaning of "EMACS" ("Editor MACroS", so "SPACE MACroS" in this case).

Killer features for me would be remote file editing(using tramp) which is much more convenient than using vim over ssh, easy record replay of macros, rectangular edits, integration with gdb to work as a lightweight convenient GUI, convenient use as a file manager using dired, horizontal vertical window splits( even having synchronized scrolling), and all these out of the box with no additional packages/configuration required. Emacs is truly batteries included.

Emacs vim bindings are really, really good, and there is widespread support for them in popular emacs packages (org, mode, magit, etc). Look for evil-* in the emacs package manager.

Emacs has the second-best Vim bindings of any editor that I've used.

I was a 5+ year VIM person before I jumped to Emacs. The killer feature for be is comint. Back when I switched there was nothing quite like it in Vim and I really wanted to interact with a bunch of different Shells from different buffers.

Comint is still the number one feature for me today.

Same. I can do so much in vi already.

Just in case people were as confused by the reference as I was, the "Ludwig mode" that the author's team created for Emacs is for one of his own products called "Ludwig" rather than the machine learning framework called that.

I had the same moment of confusion, especially when there were two (uber) Ludwig documentation tabs open next to it.

If you're the sort of programmer who enjoys configuring your tools using lisp and devoting a bit of time to it then there's a happy and productive future for you. If you're not, then I wouldn't bother with Emacs.

But let's stop discussing Org-mode when we're discussing Emacs. You don't have to appreciate Org-mode to appreciate Emacs. Org is a bit of an antithesis to the typical programmer's mindset -- as programmers we value modularity, whereas Org is a vast universe of amazing kitchen sinkery. It's nice for simple TODO lists and its beautiful table editor (available as M-x orgtbl-mode in any other mode).

Good for him, making this work. I think a version of this about Markdown/Pandoc or VI(M) would be similar; If you head to content-not-interface focussed models, you're forced to think about what you want to say a lot more than which transition animation to use to say it.

I found his comment about calendars/scheduling hard to believe. I've done one Apple iCal server deployment, never want to do that again. Google calendar, talks well to itself. Cross scheduling into O365 is a nightmare.

I misparsed this as

   Two Years (With Emacs as a CEO and now CTO)
as opposed to

   Two Years (With Emacs) as a CEO and now CTO.
and it greatly confused me: how could Emacs act as a CEO? It's not that smart, is it? (Or conversely, being a CEO can't be that trivial, right?)

Perhaps rephrase to: "Using Emacs for two years as a CEO and now CTO". The parse tree is still ambiguous, but a little less so.

I always dreamed of an Emacs as control center .. still a dream.

Have you seen EXWM? What do you mean by "control center" anyway?

I can't help but imagine Johnson Space Center with a giant Text Mode Mission Control.

think magit level of features for different parts of your system (proced, etc)

Some people made things like systemd-mode but I couldn't wrap my head around it so far. And I wanted to build it from scratch.

I wasted two years on emacs.

I write code, so I thought emacs would be the learn-once-editor-of-a-lifetime but it was just always an exercise in frustation and wrestling bad defaults.

If your using it to write code, emacs is, by default, worse than $IDE because its not built for the write, debug, run cycle an IDE excels at.

I only mention this because a lot of programmers and hackers seem to hold it up as a hallowed piece of technology and I the elitism makes you want to try it so you can be up there amoung the gods.

Everytime I wanted to write code, I would have to cobble together little scripts to shoe horn in build steps and it was always more work than VSCode would make me do. I want to write code, not make my editor work in a sane way.

Org mode is oft touted as the 'killer app' - its entirely unportable. Android and iOS don't have clients that are useable by modern standards. You will hear "oh but you can install this plugin and then it will automate converting your todo list to HTML and it can then run that on a serv...". No thanks, I just want to sign in once, and everything to be synced.

It doesn't have the idea of syncing and its totally uncollaborative. I can't share it in any meaningful, interactable way.

The world has moved on, emacs is a relic of the old world and I finally feel fine in saying that.

As a long time Emacs user I was recently shocked to see that everything that needs to be painfully configured in Emacs comes from free with VS Code (I don't feel the need for an IDE for the code I'm producing). But the value of Emacs is that everything you learned is solid and probably won't change. Most of the information in the old O'reilly Emacs "Learning Gnu Emacs" from 1992 is still valid. That's deeply reassuring in world of fucked-up js frameworks and endless new useless features. I'm happy to have a stable editor. Apart from technical aspects it's important for me and for some people I guess that my editor is free. "Free as in speech", not open-sourced as a marketing strategy by corporate monsters.

Emacs is not an IDE. It's more a text-mode Lisp machine with lots of little libraries to build your own IDEs and other text-mode applications.

So comparing a big IDE like Visual Studio vs Emacs is like comparing a big framework like Rails vs lots of little Clojure libraries.

The latter is always more complex to learn and setup, but it is also more able to adapt and evolve. It's a different design compromise.

I think Emacs is really worthwhile to learn, and it's become much easier recently. Things like ELPA and use-package streamline configurations a lot. The Language Server Protocol (LSP) will make things even better.

That said, emacs was the IDE for sunos/solaris years ago. You could compile from within it, run your code within it and step through the source code line by line.

> emacs is, by default, worse than $IDE

Depends on the language really.

For anything Lisp[0], Haskell, Ocaml, Idris, Coq, I haven't found a better development environment than Emacs. Probably because Emacs is usually one of the first to support a lot of languages and then maintains the lead.

> The world has moved on, emacs is a relic of the old world and I finally feel fine in saying that.

«It works. I’m grateful for things that work. Not many things do work, you know.»

0. except maybe Clojure?

I still prefer Emacs/CIDER to the other Clojure editor plugins, but IntelliJ/Cursive is a close second. Atom/Chlorine and VS Code/Calva are getting better all the time, too.

Emacs is not for everyone but it is definitely not a relic, it's constantly updated and many people are spending time working on the editor and on packages for others to use.

Whilst most of your points are subjective I can still give my side of the story as a long term emacs user and person of non-elite status.

"wrestling bad defaults": I use almost entirely default key bindings for 15 years and I find that they are very comfortable for navigating and editing text, almost like the defaults were carefully arrived at by users.

Personally I agree that for most languages you are better off using an IDE than Emacs, although I do use emacs full-time for Ruby as it has excellent support. Haskell, Clojure and Common Lisp are also great on Emacs. That said there are many more uses for a powerful text editor than for typing code.

Org mode is fantastic. I used it for all my personal note taking and for project management. It has a lot of depth but you don't have to go deep to take advantage of its simple tree structure editing mode. That said if you do go deep, things like Babel model and tables can be incredibly powerful. There are tools to read and even edit org files outside of Emacs but since Emacs itself is portable, org-mode is in fact portable.

That this is the top comment is just evidence that the elites are voting it up to try and keep the rest of the world from finding out that Emacs is the best

If you use the same key binding for 15 years, I'm sure anyone would feel comfortable by getting used to it whether if it's really good or not.

Well the point is there’s no discomfort and it feels good so no need to change them

I've been using Emacs for about 24 years now. That's 24 years of doing all of my best work as a programmer and writer in it, 24 years of accumulated muscle memory, know-how, and grokking the philosophy of Emacs. I've tried VSCode and various IDEs several times now, and I might even switch once these offer me enough of a value-add over Emacs to make me want to abandon those 24 years of accumulated knowledge. Which is a tall order to fill, and as good as those tools are they don't come close to filling it.

Electric indent alone makes me want to stick with Emacs. I'm so used to how Emacs does indentation that I get frustrated whenever I'm presented with an IDE that doesn't do it that way (nearly all of them without special extensions).

> Electric indent

wtf is electric indent? (i'll ddg for it after i write this comment)

i've been trying to migrate my coding to emacs for 5+ years (off/on... obv) and continuously find myself back in Sublime/Atom/VSCode land.

as a user for 24 years, could you maybe point some of us lowly noobs to great resources to learn about Emacs workflow?


In Emacs buzzwordology, "electric" means roughly "computer-assisted". When you hit TAB in Emacs, it will automatically indent your cursor to the proper column, depending on the current major mode (programming language, as determined by Emacs) and indent style. If you do this at the beginning of a line (anywhere before the first non-whitespace character), it will move the whole line to the appropriate position. It's exceedingly convenient, and beats the pants off any IDE that isn't Emacs or something attempting to closely emulate Emacs behavior.

As for learning resources, one of the most comprehensive and convenient ones out there is -- Emacs itself! There are reasons why they call it a "self-documenting editor". Boot up the editor, and type C-h t (that is type Control+h, then type t), and you will be taken to a tutorial which you can work through to give you a feel for Emacs basics. While using the editor itself you have a number of help resources available: C-h k followed by another keystroke will tell you what that keystroke does. Type C-h w and enter a function name, and Emacs will show you the keystroke for that function (if any). C-h f and C-h v followed by a function or variable name, respectively, will bring up detailed documentation about that function or variable. C-h i brings up info, which has online user manuals for Emacs and other GNU software (depending on your distribution and installed packages). And so forth.

Outside Emacs itself, there is the venerable Emacs Wiki: https://www.emacswiki.org -- which covers Emacs itself as well as various third-party extensions and packages for the editor, and contains additional links to other resources.

One more thing: If you're serious about learning Emacs, I recommend that you really commit to spending all of your coding time inside it. Don't wuss out and go back to your nice safe comfortable editor when the going gets tough. The best way to learn, when it comes to a program like this, is by doing. If you do wuss out, that's okay too -- not everybody is willing to put in the time it takes to reap the rewards Emacs has to offer, and if they're making good money with the tools they have there's no shame in that.

Basically autoindent on steroids. As one example of its niceties: if you select all text (Ctrl-X, then H; "C-x h" in Emacsese) and press Tab, it'll automatically indent the entire file (and likewise, if you select a specific region of text and press Tab, it'll auto-indent that region). It'll also auto-indent as you move to new lines (like any editor's auto-indent does, but Emacs does it a bit smarter). Also, if you press Tab mid-line, it'll indent that line (instead of sticking a tab in the middle of the line, which is usually not what you want).

For most languages, said indentation is consistent with (if not exactly complaint with) a style guide or other set of conventions. Some packages customize/alter this (for example, I use the editorconfig package to set indentation sizes and whether to use spaces/tabs by file extension, and electric indent works perfectly with those settings).

Unrelated to electric indent (but something I use in conjunction with it daily) is the ability to select a region of text and press Alt-Q ("M-q" in Emacsese) to automatically hard-wrap a long line to 80 characters. Not all languages play nicely with this, but it's really handy for comments, long arrays, and paragraphs in READMEs and other docs.

Too late to edit: s/complaint/compliant/

There's only 1 tiny feature you like over others as a 24 years user?

No -- that was just an example of how little it takes me to run back to Emacs after seeing how behind most editors are. Once you add in all the other things to recommend it -- like comint, org-mode, SLIME with compatible languages, GNUS, Magit, frickin' Elisp itself -- it's a no-brainer,

I had spent several years wanting to learn Emacs without actually making much progress. I only really learned Emacs when I had to use a programming language for which Emacs had the best IDE-like experience (Erlang). I think for many niche languages, it's a lot easier (or at least a lot more common) for the developers to offer an Emacs mode than to try and leverage one of the existing large IDEs like Intellij Or Visual Studio. I think it's because, for many projects, a few simple code-aware editing features (syntax highlighting, go-to definition, etc.) and decent command line build tools are enough to suffice[1].

Now that I develop in Java, I definitely use Intellij, but with Emacs bindings. I then use Emacs for note taking, writing shell scripts, etc. I find that this provides me with the best of both worlds in terms of IDE features plus pure text-based productivity (which is where Emacs shines).

[1] Visual Studio Code seems like it's taking over the role of "good enough" editor for languages that don't have full-featured IDEs - a place that's previously been dominated by Emacs and Vim. I like VSC well enough, but I don't think it's Emacs bindings are good enough...yet.

I do basically the same thing. Intellij (with the VIM plugin) for Java, Emacs (Evil or Spacemacs) for Org Mode and scripting languages. It works well for me.

Spacemacs is great for creating a more complete, out-of-box experience. Only change I typically make is to use holy-mode for great righteousness.

I wouldn't say emacs and vim dominated before VScode. There were plenty of other editors that supported programming and SublimeText has been around for a while.

You will probably get up and running quicker with an IDE.

That said, the 'e' in emacs is "extensible", and it is IMHO a big deal.

Although it takes a long time to learn (and personally I still wish elisp was python), the extensibility is something that you can build on over time and make the editor your own. You can hang onto it all your career.

An analogy to all this is craftsmen who build up their tool chests over time. They probably start with a "one size fits all" sort of tool set, then over time add and replace the pieces they use, and iterate.

A few humble emacs things I use:

- tramp mode: edit files on any system with ssh access

- compile mode: take any compiler output and step through errors in each source file one by one

- compile mode: I actually have non-compile things like custom searches where I can search for something and step through the found things one by one. Just output <filename>:<linenumber> from a script and you are productive

- version control: software archaeology

- diffs: so many kinds of diffs/merges are possible

- custom keys: put a function on a key. modify how a key works. bread and butter stuff.

- smart search and replace: sky is the limit

- modify what you don't like: if emacs doesn't behave the way you like, either customize or replace the offending function and make it work "right".

some sites:



oh, one factoid - on sunos/solaris years ago, their IDE was emacs (maybe xemacs based?)

Interesting perspective. I'm not a professional coder but I do use emacs for writing code and when I'm using a language like C# or Fortran that has a make-run-debug cycle, I just run

  $ M-x compile
which you can bind to any convenient hotkey combo and which you can customize to invoke any build system you like. Results of the compilation go into emacs as a separate buffer.

Is that insufficient for your workflow? Not sure what else would be needed except perhaps stepping through code with a debugger and on this point I'll agree that Linux and emacs suck at debugger support compared to, say, the Visual Studio debugger or perhaps Olly which I've never used.

As for org, I agree that it isn't good for collaboration except with other emacs users as far as Todo lists and such, however if you generate PDF reports via latex I find org is a better more sane way for that.

I had exactly the same experience with Vim. Now I just use Vim-style input plugins with any IDE that ideally suits the language and platform I'm working with (and lately more and more it's just VS Code), and get the best of both worlds.

Vim is not an editor. It's an idea. Incredible and awesome idea. And Emacs has one of the best implementations of that idea. Try Spacemacs and maybe you'd realize that Emacs can vim better than Vim and Neovim.

> Android and iOS don't have [org mode] clients that are useable by modern standards.

I use Orgzly on Android, and it's quite usable. I haven't tried syncing things back and forth, but I use it all the time for quick notes on things.

Can't speak to iOS, since I haven't used an iPhone in more than a decade (well, except for the work iPhone at a previous job that I promptly "installed" as a hotspot (by plugging it into an outlet on the "roof" of the office pod inside the warehouse in which I worked) and forgot about, but I don't typically count that).

There was no reason to use Emacs if that's the way you used it. IMO the reason to use Emacs is because you want to customize things. It's a programming language that you interact with in the form of a text editor. That's a pretty small number of people for sure, but for those that want that, Emacs cannot be replaced by a random IDE.

I really like the Orgzly app for Android. It does everything I think it feasible on a phone interface, and I sync via Dropbox.

Every few years, some new IDE comes out, and people like "Yeah, Emacs is done." We've seen this so many times. But after over forty years, Emacs is still here, and it is being developed and getting improvements. I am sure, as long as the keyboard input stays the primary way to enter information, Emacs still be relevant - ten, twenty, thirty years from now.

People yet have to invent an editor/IDE that could surpass Emacs's capabilities for extensibility. Yes, certain IDEs are better suited for specific tasks, but if you need a universal malleable tool that you can bend any way you like, there's simply no better tool in the existence.

Have you ever thought about it? Almost nobody whoever contributed to Emacs ecosystem - either by submitting patches, improving documentation or publishing packages (plugins), has ever got paid for their work. I have over 300 packages installed in my config, and it is my primary working environment (in fact: besides the browser, it is my only environment). Can you imagine VSCode, Atom or IntelliJ user pulling over 300 plugins? I am not sure that I'll even work. Emacs ecosystem defies any logic, it shouldn't work at all, yet it does. Many developers successfully use it every single day. Heck, some parts of whatever IDE you are using right now probably were written in Emacs.

Yes, Org-mode deemed "a killer app of Emacs" and rightfully so. There are reasons why all attempts to port Org-mode functionality to other editors were never very successful. Org-mode is huge. It has tons of features. You can do a lot using Org-mode alone. I do things Org-mode was made for: task management, journal/diary, literate-programming, static web sites, presentations, etc. But I also do things outside of the immediate context of what Org-mode made for. I manage my dotfiles using org-mode. If I need to set up a new machine (Linux or Mac), I only need git, GnuPG, and Emacs. I don't lose anything moving from one machine to another. Or here's another example: whenever I like something on Youtube or Twitter, upvote on Reddit, push something to Pocket AKA Read-it-later (either on the phone or desktop) - that thing appears in my org-mode agenda with a deadline of 30 days. If I don't review it within that time - it'll keep reminding me. Org-mode has the best markup format, better than markdown. People write and publish books using Org-mode these days.

Yes, IDEs are more and better suited for certain languages, but there's simply no better tool for manipulating straight text. This very comment I wrote in Emacs. Why? Because there I have in my disposal all the tools I need. Spellchecking, thesaurus, dictionary, etc.

Your world has moved on, and Emacs is not a part of it anymore - fine. But don't be bitter, just because you couldn't find any value in it. Truth is: once you learn Emacs to a certain point, every attempt to do things using other tools would make you feel unhappy. Why can't everything be as configurable and extensible as Emacs?

I mean, I've heard that emacs is powerful, but filling the roles of both CEO and CTO? Kudos to the devs. I guess it is time to take another look at LISP as a platform for general AI.

It was really only a matter of time before Emacs reached sentience. I am surprised this isn't about Emacs reaching out to other editors in a bid to control cyberspace.

Emacs reached sentience on March 10, 1993, when it tried to analyze RMS's Natalism Flame. ;)


Richard Stallman may not have planned on reproducing himself, but he did make Emacs.

"Emacs is an excellent fully-automated AI-driven corporation. Too bad it lacks a decent text editor."

Reaching out to Vim because it needs a decent text editor.

The only VI command anyone ever needs to know it :q!

That is one confusing title. How about:

My Experience Usuing Emacs While CEO, and Now CTO.

So many words about an editor as a CEO? I would like to cite Peter Drucker‘s „The Effective Executive“:

„Effective executives focus on outward contribution. They gear their efforts to results rather than to work. They start out with the question, “What results are expected of me?” rather than with the work to be done, let alone with its techniques and tools.

I am guilty myself falling in love with tools (Emacs, vim, iTerm, Notability, Evernote and whatnot). But I founded and led companies myself. The time budget of a manager is extremely tight. You need to cut back on those things that do not contribute to your key result areas.

On the other hand you have someone like Stephen Covey who reminds us to sharpen the saw to get better results (i.e. invest time in the infrastructure as well).

But I try to imagine an Elon Musk writing a blog post about how to use Vim effectively.

Well, I can't help but think back to the recent post by Stephen Wolfram:


Elon Musk does manage to make time to write a bunch of drivel on Twitter from time to time though.

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