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ap/xxxxx: The Church of Emacs

Sep 24, 2006, 00:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Martin Howse)

"Genera. Home of the brave coder but very much not located anywhere near the land of the free; Genera, the legendary OS and fully featured development environment running on the historic Symbolics Lisp machines, and later, in the guise of Open Genera, on Alpha hardware. Genera presented the ultimate interface running on top of an extremely interrogative operating system. Despite being highly proprietary, and indeed marking an historic split which, as we'll see, lies at the very birth of free software, Genera's users could dig deep into highly exposed or extruded code within a tightly integrated mesh of OS, GUI and object oriented Lisp language. Code was the interface, and at the heart of such interaction was an Emacs, a supremely flexible macro based text editor whose current free incarnation is GNU. Indeed the Lisp Machines had two Emacs, EINE and ZWEI, morphing into ZMACS under Symbolics. Echoing the recursion wrapped up in the GNU acronym, EINE stands for 'EINE Is Not EMACS'. And how better to follow up this first editor than with ZWEI, or 'ZWEI Was Eine Initially'. Such wit is well wrapped up in both the code and culture of GNU Emacs..."

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