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Using another's .emacs file

Tim Cross is right, 

    Whenever using somebody's .emacs file, its important to first read
    it and make sure you understand what it does and confirm that it
    is necessary.

but he is wrong to say

    I'd actually go one step further and say you should see if what is
    being done in the .emacs file can also be done using customize and
    if it can, use customize instead.

since that encourages people to fail to learn their tools -- in this
case the trivial Emacs Lisp that appears in .emacs files.

For example, you can set `calendar-date-display-form' either with
`setq' or with `custom-set-variables'.  The latter appears in your
.emacs file when you use Custom.  The former appears when you write an
expression in your .emacs file.  They both end up in the same file.

    For example, I did have the default speech rate for outlook
    defined in my .emacs file using a setq. However, I was noticing
    some inconsistencies when re-starting the speech server.
    sometimes my setting worked and sometimes the default setting
    within customize worked.

This is a bug of some sort.  Customize writes in your .emacs file, so
you need to investigate it.  That means reading Emacs Lisp!  

The bug may be simply that the custom expression occurs after or
before the setq expression, or it may be worse.  It may be that the
`defcustom' sets more than a `setq' or `defvar' and you have to use a
function such as `custom-set-variables'.

As for particular comments:

You are quite right about `add-to-list'.  It did not exist when I
learned about setting a load-path.  It is a nice function.

Also, it is true that the current default value of
font-lock-global-modes is t.  It wasn't when I first learned about the

    The global-voice-lock-mode is obsolete.  This is a hang-over from
    the older versions of emacspeak prior to emacs 21 ...

Except I still use Emacs 20 frequently.  Maybe it is obsolete, but ...

    Finally, just FYI, I'm currently running a CVS version of emacs 22.
    I've only been doing it for a day or two and it seems to work really
    well with emacspeak. 

Yes, mostly the CVS is stable.  Only occasionally does it fail.  I
keep my previous executable around for that.  The CVS is so stable, I
use it for my regular work.

    The only bit I'm missing at the moment that I'm aware of is w3.

For w3, in a shell, I run the following, which puts url and w3 in
subdirectories of /u/:

    pushd /u
    cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.sv.gnu.org:/sources/url co url
    cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.sv.gnu.org:/sources/w3 co w3

(I don't run this part in Emacs.  That is because for most downloads,
I use a different password, which Emacs knows.)

Then in Emacs I evaluate, 

     (progn (cd "/u/url") (compile "./configure && make"))

wait for the previous compilation to end and then evaluate,

       (cd "/u/w3")
       (compile "./configure --with-emacs --with-url=/u/url/lisp/ \
                --prefix=/u/w3 --exec-prefix=/u/w3 \
                && make"))

Tim does give good closing advice:

    Note however, I'm not recommending emacs 22 to anyone unless they
    like to play at the bleeding edge and are prepared to hunt down
    problems themselves.  If your just a user who wants things to
    work, stick to the official releases.

    Robert J. Chassell                         
    bob@rattlesnake.com                         GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8
    http://www.rattlesnake.com                  http://www.teak.cc

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