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Emacs and the modern world



Tyler Spivey writes:
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>How relevant is Emacs, and thus by extension emacspeak, in
>today's modern world? 
Relevance is contextual.  One can only really ask
"To whom is emacs/emacspeak relevant and for what?"
I can answer that I perform 5 principal tasks on a computer
1) write code
2) write documents
3) run data analysis software of various types 
4) read/write email
5) access the web
These tasks are coupled
e.g. look up reference on web, add to bibtex database for inclusion in
journal article, produce figure then attach it to email etc.
For tasks 1, 2 and 4 above emacs/emacspeak is unparalleled.  
Task 2 would be similar if I could indulge my fantasy of murdering all
my colleagues who refuse to use LATeX.
Task 5 is lagging badly but I've not kept up-to-date with the
developing emacs/Firefox links.
So there's one person's answer.  The only command I've typed on a Unix
system since 2000  that *wasn't* inside emacs was ... emacs.

The question you probably wanted to ask was how future-proof was the
system.  For me,  I don't expect tasks 2-4 to change all that much.
Whether development environments will make (1) easier for others than
an emacs environment will make it for me will be an interesting
question.
>I'm mostly asking because Emacspeak and its alternative speechd-el  are missing features
>that are now standard in other systems,
>such as a read from cursor to end of document that, when interrupted,
>will put your cursor where the synthesizer stopped reading. Is this
>just not possible to do in Emacs, or has it just not
>been done before?
I also find this a nice feature in JAWS although I think it's the only
one :-)  I do use emacspeak-speak-skim-buffer a lot these days which
gets me much of what I want from say-all.
>Is emacs the only existing system that lets us advise and hook into it
>while running to add the speech functionality on top of it rather than recoding
>the system to speak?
Once, long, long ago, Sun MicroSystems had a product called the
Network Extensible Window System written pretty much in a postscript
variant.  I never got further than proving I could extract all the
displayed strings from it before it died as a product.  I've seen
nothing since, apart from emacs,  that looked as attractive as a
candidate.  On reflection, the requirements are quite tough.  Not only
does the underlying architecture need to be flexible in ways its
designers probably never imagined, but it has to bring enough
user-level capability with it to make it an attractive target.
cheers
Peter

-- 
Peter Rayner: LSCE/IPSL, Laboratoire CEA-CNRS-UVSQ
address: Bat. 701 LSCE - CEA de Saclay
Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif/Yvette
work: +33  (1) 69 08 88 11;	mobile: +33 (6) 75 46 56 52;	 fax: +33 (1) 69 08 77 16
mail-to: peter.rayner@lsce.ipsl.fr
web: http://www-lsce.cea.fr/Pisp/52/peter.rayner.html

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