"Emacs falls somewhere between a text editor and a development
environment all its own. You can use Emacs to access e-mail and
newsgroups, execute shell commands, and do version control on code.
Add-ons give you access to a Web browser, PGP encryption, and other
nifty miniapplications. If you spend enough time learning the
ins and outs of Emacs and install enough add-on components, you
might never need to run another desktop application --unless you
want to view or edit non-ASCII files. If you have the time and
energy to devote to learning the application, and you work mainly
with raw text, then you'll love Emacs. But if you're looking
for an intuitive, all-in-one development environment with file
import and export abilities beyond unformatted ASCII files, search
"While there is a menu system in Emacs, it doesn't conform to
the order that users normally see (File, Edit, View, and so on).
Instead, the initial menu reads: Buffers, Files, Tools, Edit,
Search, Mule, and Help. This can intimidate the average user who
just wants to select File · New and get started. With a
little time, research, and extra thought, the normal user can
figure out that buffers are really just the current open files, and
you can just open a file and be done with it."
"Once the new user gets past the menu system, he or she will
realize that the only good way to get around Emacs is to memorize a
few hundred key commands. For example, Ctrl-X Ctrl-F will prompt
you to find a file to open, Ctrl-X Ctrl-S will save a file, and
Ctrl-X Ctrl-C will exit Emacs. A printed copy of the Key Bindings
help file (Ctrl-H B) or a copy of O'Reilly's GNU Emacs Pocket
Reference is imperative unless you have a really good memory for
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