Lost Among Notes

Programming aesthetics

In recent weeks, my outlook has changed quite a bit. With the (re)discovery of Plan 9 from user space, and Acme, via Russ Cox’s intro video, I’ve been rethinking a lot of my assumptions on GUI’s, programming, and tools.
I’ve also seen some talks by Rob Pike on youtube. It’s refreshing to see that the builders of UNIX offer incisive criticism of it, and had been developing alternatives since the 80s. In contrast, most of us now think Linux is the end-all.
I’ve rethought many things. And shockingly I’m seeing emacs with new eyes. It’s been replaced by Acme as my editor of choice, after 15 years!

Acme has nudged me into

  • Indentation using TAB’s, with no spaces.
  • Proportional fonts for programming.
  • Easier argument-alignment rules.

Once this trifecta is accepted, auto-indentation becomes superfluous. Much of the emacs complexity of modes, rendered useless.
And Go is my new language to-learn.
By the way, I’ve bought a 3 button mouse just to use with Acme. I think it’s worth it. As much as I like touchpads, tap-to-click makes selecting text clumsy.
An interesting idea in Acme is the rampant manipulation of the cursor. When dragging a scroll control, it’s easy to mouse out of the scroll bar. Acme will keep it glued. Mac OS X / Win could learn a thing or two.

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