Tuesday, September 2, 2008

GNU Emacs: making the obvious difficult

Off and on it's really irritated me that someone on the GNU team decided to change the default behavior of tab in fundamental mode from insert ^i to indent-relative. I hate indent-relative. It makes lining things up in columns in text files difficult. So every few months I do a Google search, find other people making the same complaint, and see less than helpful suggestions. Tonight I got more frustrated than usual, and so spent more time than usual. It appears that the following shuts off indent-relative for the most part without messing up filename completion or indentation in various modes, e.g., java or html.
(setq default-major-mode 'text-mode)
(define-key text-mode-map "\t" "\C-q\C-i")
The above is pretty much alpha code at the moment. There's detritus in my .emacs that suggests that years ago I didn't like text mode for pnews or mail modes, but those are no longer issues. indent-relative is, IMHO, evidence of word processor-oriented thought processes, not text editor-oriented processes. As Linux grows to be more Windows like (e.g., bloated and buggy), there seems to be an undercurrent of making basic tools, e.g., emacs and wc, less Unix-like.

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