'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work correctly in Firefox

I have the 'Emacs style' keyboard shortcuts enabled on my [x]ubuntu
18.04 systems. The shortcut I use most often is the (not really
Emacs) CTRL/U for deleting a line of text.

This should delete the whole line of text even if the cursor isn't
placed at the end of the line. It *does* do this in other GUIs but in
Firefox it just deletes from the cursor to the start of the line.
This makes the shortcut much less useful as it means I need to move
the cursor to delete the line and this means I have to use the touchpad
or mouse. The whole point (for me) of CTRL/U is that I don't need to
leave the keyboard to enter a new line.

I'm fairly sure this *used* to work in Firefox. Is it therefore a bug
I can report? .... or is there a workaround, i.e. a simple, keyboard
only, 'delete line' shortcut?


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By MR ZenWiz at 10/10/2018 - 15:54

On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 2:14 AM Chris Green < ... at isbd dot net> wrote:
I have never seen ^U used for anything but 'delete from cursor to
beginning of line.' That's how it works in bash (and every other
UNIX/Linux shell I've ever used), and most line oriented apps (think


I too am a huge keyboard afficionado, and I detest being stuck with
using a mouse (or worse, a touchpad - ick), but i also must say that
I've been less impressed with Windows than Linux re keyboard vs.
mouse. DOS and 4DOS, sure, but Windows? (I'd be more impressed if
they hadn't changed the keyboard commands in Office 2010 or one of the
more recent ones where, among other things, <shift>^S no longer means
"save as".)

For the record, I go back to 1980 professionally, with 2+ years of
intense ICS education before that (plus one class of punch cards and
line printers in 1973 - talk about fun!), and I've used vi since I was
first introduced to it in 1986 or 1987. Back then it was the only
text editor available on all UNIX machines (emacs was still new, and
I've never learned it). I frequently evangelize the huge advantages
of using the command line over anything in the GUI with rare
exceptions, most of which have to do with actually manipulating
graphics. Keyboard power forever!


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/11/2018 - 06:18

Yes, really.

For instance my blind friends *all* use Windows. Too much of Linux is
inaccessible and while macOS is good, sadly many apps aren't. E.g. Mac
Office isn't as accessible as Windows Office.

The web isn't very keyboard-accessible but ordinary operation is.
There are even shortcuts invisible to sighted users: e.g. you can step
from Start button, along the taskbar _and into the system tray and
keyboard control the icons in there_ but I never found it as there are
no visible clues to where you are.

You can open (Ctrl-O), move (alt-space, M), resize (alt-space, z),
minimize (alt-space, n), maximize (alt-space, x), and close windows
(alt-f4). You can show the desktop (win-m), run CLI apps (win-r), open
Explorer (win-E), etc.

It's not as clean and orthogonal as it was in the glory days of NT
3.51 but it's the best there is.

This is why I got on OK with Windows 8. The visual clicky-clicky stuff
for the point-and-drool brigade ;-) was all different, but for a
keyboard jockey like me, it was largely unchanged.

Win10 adds virtual desktops and I really value that. Not that I
usually use Windows unless someone pays me to.

Windows has accessibility stuff most people don't know about. So does
macOS and iOS. Stevie Wonder made a great speech about it a while ago,
thanking Steve Jobs for making sure that the iPhone and iPad were as
accessible for vision-impaired people as for anyone else, and how it
was life-changing.

And it really is. I've seen it, I've used it.

Linux? Nobody much cares. There are some good efforts but they're
underfunded and unfinished, like most of Linux. A few blind volunteer
programmers can't force an industry to change.

GNOME 2 was quite accessible via Orca. GNOME 3 threw all that away as
it threw a lot of stuff away and it's only slowly being put back,

Keyboard controls are great for people who can't see a small
fast-moving thing like a mouse pointer or a cursor, but they benefit
all of us.

Oh, totally agreed. I mainly use Word 97 (under WINE) but Word 2003 is
the latest I will use. I find Office 2007 and later to be totally

I agree, mostly.

The snag is that we now have middle-aged highly-skilled computer
users who grew up with GUIs and have used nothing else. I have urged
my close blind friend to learn the Linux shell and use it that way,
but it's too alien to him. He's a Windows expert and *needs* menus.

So we need accessible menus and GUIs that can be keyboard controlled.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By MR ZenWiz at 10/11/2018 - 15:22

On Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 3:20 AM Liam Proven < ... at gmail dot com> wrote:
One of the things that hooked me into Xubuntu was that I can configure
the keys almost any way I like. The biggest exception is when I run
any VM - it captures all the keystrokes, so the ones that work on my
desktop get intercepted by the VMs (when I'm actually in that screen).


Mark Richter
Senior Staff Engineer
<a href="" title=""></a>
FSF Member #12694 <a href="" title=""></a>
Registered Linux User #472807 <a href="" title=""></a>

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/11/2018 - 17:16

On Thu, 11 Oct 2018 at 21:25, MR ZenWiz < ... at gmail dot com> wrote:
I used XFCE at work, after evaluating and discarding the then-current
versions of GNOME, KDE, LXDE, LXQt (and this year, Cinnamon).

At home I'm still on Unity. I think I'll have to reformat and switch to Xubuntu.

Noted. It's that the keys are different that throw me. Windows set the
standards back in about 1989 and switching to new ones after so long
is not easy.

Well, yes, true.

Yes, on all counts.

Do you mean the customisability? If so, yes, agreed. But XFCE can't,
for instance, lock items to panels. When I set up a Xubuntu laptop for
a non-techie friend, I discovered how essential that is. 6mth later
she had an empty panel and an unusable desktop. :-(

If you mean the accessibility features -- then no, not AFAIK, sadly.

Good point. I'm getting there quite quickly myself. :-(

I utterly loathe them. It's one of the things I most _dis_like about
Win10. All the built in apps, even Explorer, only have ribbons now.

One of the great things about macOS MS Office is that you can
completely turn off the ribbon. The Mac UI means they had to leave the
menus in place, so it's still usable via the old UI.

Most keyboard shortcuts don't work, though.

I've not had that.

I use MS Word for its outliner, as LO Write doesn't have one. For the
rest, I use LO Calc, LO Impress and Thunderbird.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/12/2018 - 05:37

On Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 11:16:11PM +0200, Liam Proven wrote:

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/11/2018 - 06:27

It has always amazed me that very few people use them, same on Linux.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/11/2018 - 06:35

On Thu, 11 Oct 2018 at 12:29, Chris Green < ... at isbd dot net> wrote:

Windows has for a long time -- *not* always -- had the ability to
_add_ virtual desktops. There were multiple addons, including notably

<a href="" title=""></a>

And "Desktops" which I think is the one you're thinking of. It's by
Mark Russinovitch of Sysinternals, which MS acquired. That's what
makes it semi-official.

<a href="" title=""></a>

It was particularly useful because you didn't need to install it, just
run it -- so I could use it in places where I didn't have admin

But if you read the text on that 2nd link, there are a lot of limitations.

* 1 instance of Explorer per desktop, meaning accessories and systray
gadgets are only visible or accessible on screen 0

* no 3D compositing on the secondary screens

But the one that made it ¾ useless for me is:

You can't move windows from one vdesktop to another.

Without that, it's crippleware.

What's different is that in Win10 it's built in, and that means that
you can access all the accessory tools from any screen, have as many
as you need, add and remove screens at will, but most of all, move
stuff from screen to screen.

It's the only version I've ever actually found *useful*.

And Win10 is the first ever version of Windows to have this *built in*.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/11/2018 - 06:47

On Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 12:35:32PM +0200, Liam Proven wrote:
<a href="" title=""></a>

Scroll down to "Virtual Desktop Manager", it says:-

Many people don't realize this, but Windows NT has always had the
ability to generate multiple desktop displays, even though the OS
itself has never exposed this functionality in the UI. With Windows NT
4.0 and 2000, I believe, a virtual desktop manager was made available
through the Resource Kit. Now, for the first time, you can get one
free with XP.

The PowerToys version of this tool lets you work with up to four
virtual desktops, each of which contains a copy of the Start menu,
desktop, and taskbar. But each virtual desktop can be running
different applications. So if you're a serious power user, you might
separate groups of running applications into their own desktops.

So it was always in NT and 2000 and I believe the XP PowerToys was
somewhere on the XP installation media. I used it on 2000 and I think
I used to used it on XP but that was a long[ish] time ago and I don't
remember how good (or bad) it was.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/11/2018 - 06:59

OK, yes, that's true.

Buried deep in WinNT is something rather like VAX-VMS. It has, in
principle, support for dumb terminals on serial ports, and graphical

You could also just fit multiple graphics cards, add a bunch of USB
keyboards and mice, and associate them to each screen for a multihead
machine. Various companies "productized" this, e.g.

<a href="" title=""></a>

This is also how "remote desktop" works, and Windows Terminal Server.

One machine is perfectly able to host multiple sessions, on the same
screen and logged-in user, or different local physical screens, or on
graphical terminals, or remote sessions over a LAN or WAN.

So yes, it's there.

But as far as the local user scenario goes, it was crippled, because
each session is logically distinct and you can't move stuff from
screen to screen.

And it wasn't exposed to the user by default, which is what I'm getting at.

So yes, you're right, the product can do it and has more or less
forever -- Citrix WinServer could do it with a modified NT 3.

So yes, you are right, it was there, potentially.

But for a single user with one (even multihead) screen/keyboard/mouse,
it wasn't turned on by default, and if you hacked it with some 3rd
party tool -- e.g.

<a href="" title=""></a>

... *you couldn't move stuff from screen to screen*. Which *for me*
made it pretty much useless.

Win10 is the first ever version where it's in there, on, as a built-in
feature, for everyone.

So, I concede to your superior pedanticism. ;-) Yes it's always been
in there, yes it was theoretically possible.

But now it's a standard feature, exposed to the user, without any
significant compromises that I know of.

OK? :-)

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/11/2018 - 04:59

On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 12:54:49PM -0700, MR ZenWiz wrote:
bind "<ctrl>u" {
"move-cursor" (paragraph-ends, -1, 0)
"delete-from-cursor" (paragraph-ends, 1)

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/10/2018 - 05:35

On Wed, 10 Oct 2018 at 11:14, Chris Green < ... at isbd dot net> wrote:
That does not follow. Just press END first.

Huh? No you don't.

But you don't.

The CUA way is:

Home, Shift-End, Del


End, Shift-Home, Del


Ctrl-A, Del

There are probably others.

That should work on all GUIs since the late 1980s: classic MacOS, Mac
OS X, all versions of Windows, all Windows-like Unix desktops, etc.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/10/2018 - 07:16

On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 11:35:41AM +0200, Liam Proven wrote:
However they are all two (or even three) keys rather than one so I'd
really like CTRL/U to work.

Ctrl-A, Del is no good because it *selects* the text before deleting
and thus overwites anything I have in the cut buffer. I very
frequently us CTRL/U before pasting something I have copied from

However End, CTRL/U does work so is a reasonable workaround, two keys
a long way apart on my keyboard though!

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/10/2018 - 07:44

Top tip, if you're concerned about keyboard efficiency: unplug your
mouse for a while. Learn to use your PC without it.

(I'm old. I learned Windows 2.0 this way in 1988 in my first job. My
employers didn't own a PC mouse. If you wanted GUI stuff, you used a
Mac. So I had to learn all the keyboard shortcuts. I had no choice.
But it means colleagues are dazzled by how fast I can navigate a GUI
now, while barely touching the mouse. CUA was rationally designed,
unlike Emacs or Vi. It's easier to learn than either and it's far more
widely used.)

This is one place Windows scores slightly over Linux, and Linux scores
significantly over Macs: keyboard controls. You can do almost
everything with just the keys.

Personally I don't get on with Emacs (or Vi) and don't use them,
because they don't use the standard keyboard shortcuts that all GUI
apps support and have supported since roughly Windows 3 in about 1989.

It's worth learning them, IMHO, because they are far more
widely-supported than Emacs or anything like it.

That's a good point. I use that too.

Hmm. I can't help there. I have big hands and use a big loud old IBM
Model M clicky keyboard. Works for me.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/10/2018 - 09:12

On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 01:44:22PM +0200, Liam Proven wrote:

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/11/2018 - 17:16

Fascinating thread.

On 10/10/18 14:12, Chris Green wrote:
Ditto, except I use Emacs, but for a different reason:

<a href="" title=""></a>

Many users nowadays don't seem to be concerned about learning a new
editor for each application, which I find puzzling. The waste of effort
must be significant.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/11/2018 - 17:26

On Thu, 11 Oct 2018 at 23:18, Peter Flynn < ... at silmaril dot ie> wrote:
This page reflects the mindset of Emacs fans which does irritate me --
nothing personal, I assure you!


I write English for a living, not code. I don't want any features at
all related to any kind of code handling. No syntax highlighting,
completion, anything. All that is bloat to me. At the very least I
*must* be able to *completely* turn it all off, and do so easily,
without hunting around. Emacs fails this.

Failure #1


I don't live in a text editor. I live in about half a dozen apps,
constantly switching. I also switch between 3 or 4 computers and OSes
every day. So the comments about how the editor is central are

Failure #2


Macros? Bloat. Not needed, for me. Also false.

Failure #3


I use many apps across many OSes. They all have the same basic UI --
the CUA UI. All have the same basic menu titles in the same basic
order with the same main options on them in the same order (by and
large) -- plus many extra ones, of course. They all use the same
keystrokes, the same terminology. They call the documents they work on
"documents" or "files", they call their windows "windows" and so on.
All use Ctrl-O for Open, Ctrl-P for Print, Ctrl-S for Save, Ctrl X/C/V
for Cut/Copy/Paste, etc.

I *require* all apps to conform to this, throughout, everywhere. This
is not optional. I will not learn special new terms or keystrokes or
commands for any one app.

All these are vital considerations for me. None are negotiable in
exchange for greater power, because any app that doesn't conform can
be replaced with another of equivalent power, free of charge.

Failure #4

Emacs fails this test and has failed it in every way for 30 years.

I do not assert that _my_ reasons apply to everyone. I am just saying
they apply for me.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/12/2018 - 05:35

On Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 11:26:57PM +0200, Liam Proven wrote:

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/12/2018 - 05:49

Sort of my point.

The basic CUA editor is embedded into every text field in every GUI
app in the world. Attach a hardware keyboard and it even works on iOS,
Android etc.

So I want a desktop editor that works the same as that.

The battle is over. The Emacs and Vi UIs may be better in some
measurable way -- I don't think they are, but I'm giving the benefit
of the doubt -- but they are out of step with basically *all other
user-interactive software in the world*.

Both could be modernised. CREAM looks like a pretty good update of Vi
- <a href="" title=""></a>

ErgoEmacs is a brave attempt to update Emacs - <a href="" title=""></a>

AquaMacs does it a different way, layering a Mac OS X GUI _on top of_
the largely-unmodified Emacs one -- <a href="" title=""></a>

But making Vi fully CUA-compliant means it's not Vi any more, because
the Vi UI model is profoundly different.

Emacs, not so much. They could do it. But there's a lot of hostility
and resistance, and I don't really understand why.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/12/2018 - 08:40

On 12/10/18 10:49, Liam Proven wrote:
Their authors' argument would be that they were there first, so it's CUA
that's out of step :-)

As you say, fixing Emacs is pretty straightforward.

The dual-mode model of editing went out with TECO (read: "the ark"). The
idea is that you have to press a key before you can type anything, and
press another key before you can start editing what you've typed. This
made sense when using TECO to edit a magnetic tape, but it makes no
sense whatsoever in the modern world for normal text-editing purposes:
despite being actually a very small piece of excise, it's alien to the
generality of UIs, even Emacs.

There is a lot of personal pride and history invested in Emacs, largely
orbiting around the cult of its principal author, and the culture in
which it grew up. It certainly was groundbreaking, and it remains one of
the very few editors that can edit *anything* (for most practical
purposes), meaning it's at the bottom of the toolbag of most systems
engineers for use when everything else has failed. Once the cultus
disappears, it will change.

But to use it for editing plain, unmarked text is like using a Saturn V
launcher to rescue your drone stuck in a tree. On heavily marked text,
however, such as TEI, it's the only free system available with proper
controls; and its biggest use is for program code, which has a wholly
different set of requirements.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/12/2018 - 10:05

On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 14:42, Peter Flynn < ... at silmaril dot ie> wrote:
Oh yes. Heard that many times. But really, the battle is over...

I wish I had the skills.


Mind you, CREAM is pretty impressive.

<a href="" title=""></a>

Hmmm. I wonder.

Borland's excellent Sprint wordprocessor for DOS was built on top of
an EMACS clone.

I wonder if the way to go is to make out that it is a whole _new_
editor, but not mention that it's based on Emacs? :-D

Aha. Interesting. I've not heard it put like that before.

It disagrees with one of my favourite ever tech essays:

"In the Beginning was the Command Line" by Neal Stephenson
<a href="" title=""></a>

Hmmmmm. Maybe I should reconsider and give ErgoEmacs another go...

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/12/2018 - 14:34

Me too. I can cobble together stuff for my .emacs file, but eLisp eLudes me.

It is. It's also an anagram of EmacR :-)

It would be hard to hide the bodies, but yes, it could be done.


One of my faves too, but it's 20 years ago now. What I mean is, if you
only ever want to edit the ASCII text of novels, with no formatting and
no markup. Emacs is unnecessary. Notepad will do just fine.

If I wanted to use a fancy GUI editor to edit XML there are dozens of
choices from the cheap[-ish] to the ludicrously expensive. Several of
them are really excellent, especially if you are developing the XSLT
styling and Javascript interaction as well as writing the XML code. But
not a single one of them is usable by someone who knows nothing about
pointy-bracket markup (with respect, most writers). Emacs in nxml-mode
or psgml-mode is even less usable by the non-XML person, but with those
modes it becomes the only validating XML editor that is completely free.
But it will break every rule you live by, so I suggest oXygen instead.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Chris G at 10/12/2018 - 06:38

On Fri, Oct 12, 2018 at 11:49:15AM +0200, Liam Proven wrote:
I can, for example, do a multiple replacement using REs in a text box
in Firefox if I need to.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/12/2018 - 07:26

On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 12:40, Chris Green < ... at isbd dot net> wrote:

But it's there. It's what you get. It's all very well being able to
customise my own desktop, but I can't do that with my own tablet, or
phone, or a friend's PC I'm fixing, let alone if it's my job and it's
a client's machine or a remote server or something.

So IMHO it's more important to be skilled in using the standard editor
than one particular nonstandard tool which you can't rely on being

On considering, this is closely comparable to the argument for using
Vi -- that it's the one editor that's always there on a *nix

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/11/2018 - 18:38

On 11/10/18 22:26, Liam Proven wrote:
:-) It was a choice at the time which suited me. The alternatives were
too horrifying to contemplate (bi-modal editors, flag characters...)

Right. I write English too, but mostly tech doc, for which I do have a
highly specific set of requirements. And I code a lot, so a vanilla text
editor (eg Notepad) would be worse than useless.

No, for his audience they are valid. I live in a text editor: I rarely
use applications, but I too switch systems and platforms often, so I
require the identical interface everywhere.

Quite out of order for your needs. Essential for mine.

That would be critical for anyone using them, I assume.

That's pretty much essential for those users.

Absolutely. I wish more people would insist on this: it might stop
foolish application developers imagining that their weird-ass interface
is going to take over the world in the face of everything else (GIMP
finally realised this, although it took them a while).

I wish that were true: my former employer's corporate finance
application had one of these "we think this is much better than the
standard" interfaces which drove everyone insane. And you can't change
that kind of application free of charge, unfortunately.

It succeeds on every single test for the type of work I do, over the
same time period, fortunately.

Yep, we live in radically different worlds. Fortunately it looks like we
both have working solutions.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/12/2018 - 03:42

On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 00:40, Peter Flynn < ... at silmaril dot ie> wrote:
I just started work early enough that I remember the hell of pre-CUA
editors. My first job was before Windows 3.0, or OS/2 1.0, or Linux

I worked with about a dozen different OSes. All had different UIs.

Me too these days: mostly in Docbook XML, and a little AsciiDoc.

I'd prefer something simple and straightforward, such as Notepad, to
something powerful but arcane, such as Emacs or Vi.

This astonishes many of my colleagues.

Sadly, no, it isn't. By default, on Ubuntu, SUSE and macOS, it
attempts to autocomplete what I think is eLisp and I have found no way
at all to remove _all_ the "major modes".

I think it's the sort of thing Emacs-heads don't even notice. They
press super-hyper-aleph-magic-F47-omega and turn it off (or something
like that).

Me too. And none of my computers have a "meta" key, so anything that
refers to it is straight out.

I have never in a 30y career needed an editor macro.

I used to *teach* writing macros, in at least 3 languages, but I've
*never* needed one in my text editor.

3 books so far, countless documents and articles.

You use CUA, every day.

There is no contemporary OS that is not CUA and has not been this century.

Right. So I won't use anything that talks about "frames" and "buffers"
when it means windows with files in. I won't use anything in which cut
isn't Ctrl-X or at least Shift-Del. Why should I?

Absolutely true. But text editors? There are literally _thousands_ and
most are free.

Good for you!

But if I may ask:

Imagine you get a new machine. Before you import your emacs.el or
whatever, its Emacs comes up with menus entitled File, Edit, View, ...

On File, ^O is "open file". ^N is "new file", ^P is print, ^S is save.

Etc etc. No "buffers", no "frames". Same editor, but standardised UI.

Once you import your settings, everything goes back to normal, of course.

Would this bother you? Would it stop you using Emacs?

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/12/2018 - 08:26

On 12/10/18 08:42, Liam Proven wrote:
My first editor was TECO on a TeleType when I was a student in the 70s.
Grad students got to use 30cps video terminals :-)

I only used 4-5 OSs but yes, the UIs were all different, some crazily so.

Simple is good. One of the biggest puzzles is why -- after all these
years -- there is no decent XML editor usable by non-XML people. I did
some research on this a while back and found that all XML editors do
indeed implement all the functions an XML editor would be expected to
have, but they were often buried deep inside menus with naming that
users did not expect, or worked in an unexpected manner.

I suspect your productivity is well in advance of theirs.

Hmm. Odd. I just typed 'emacs mydoc' in a terminal, I get Emacs with
that as a new file in Fundamental mode, which is "not specialized for
anything in particular". No autocompletion that I can see, basically
just a glass typewriter. I'll check my .emacs, as I do use xml-mode on
*.xml files, but I get the same result if I move .emacs out of the way.

Could well be, although I suspect turning off all major modes would
result in no functionality at all.

Historic holdover to placate the ego of the original author, alas.
I'd never have been able to survive without them. I daily fix and patch
other peoples' broken data or text, so being able to automate repetitive
tasks is important, otherwise I'd have no fingers left at this stage :-)

Most of my users are probably unaware that they are using macros every
minute of the day, especially LaTeX users.

Pretty much the same.

A hallmark of its success is that users are unaware of it.

You shouldn't.

Every CS student writes one at some stage, if only to find out why using
an existing one is a better move :-) But most corporate applications use
an embedded editor, often written by one of their "partners", and
frequently incompatible with the rest of the world — but they do tend at
least to obey Ctrl-C/X/V/Z/P/S. My experience of them is that they are
flaky, to be polite...
Yes. I can get the bare-bones functionality by moving my .emacs file
somewhere else where Emacs won't see it.

Bare-bones Emacs still uses its pre-CUA keystrokes for those functions,
but those functions are all there in menu. But I very rarely use mouse
and menus for common functions.

No, the Emacs people can do anything they want with the bare-bones
level, so long as I can have my xml-mode and other conveniences. AFAIK
they're not interested in making Emacs' bare-bones defaults align with
CUA, for historical, personal, and small-p-political reasons. I'm not
really interested in their petty little squabbles: I just use the
software because it works for what I need to do. Which, mutatis
mutandis, is basically the same reasoning that you use, and that Michael
Sperberg-McQueen used in his explanation...just with different results.

It would be interesting to apply the same logic to people's choice of
operating system interface. What do Linux UIs *not* do that other do do?



Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/12/2018 - 09:53

*Tips hat* ;-)

In work up to the late 1990s... let me think...

* Windows 2, 3, 9x, NT 3.x & 4
* CP/M, Concurrent CP/M, Concurrent DOS
* SCO Xenix & UNIX
* Novell Netware 2, 3, 4, 5 (all quite different!)
* MacOS (classic)
* IBM OS/2 1.x, 2, 3, 4
* Acorn MOS
* Alpha Micro AMOS
* PDP-11 with RSTS/E
* IBM S/36 & OS/400
* SunOS & Solaris
* Several dedicated word-processors (QUME, IBM DisplayWriters, etc.)

And more in my hobbyist life, too: ST GEM, AmigaOS, Acorn RISC OS, etc.

More I've forgotten!

Oh my heavens yes.

WordPerfect Corp could probably make a decent fist of it, if they tried.


Ahhhh... I never tried on an existing file, or a new blank file. I
just used the buffers there when I opened it to experiment.


Aha! Yes, that makes sense...

Interesting. I don't use _editor_ macros for that. In the old days, I
wrote a bit of QuickBASIC or maybe a shell script.

But a good point I'd not really considered.



Fair point. The rise of languages with embeddable pre-existing
controls has helped that a lot, in my world.

Me either, which is why for the basics, I expect the keyboard commands
to work so I don't have to think about it. Once I'm in the menus
hunting for something, I expect a standard layout.

Hmmm. Good point. Historical tradition and ego... :-(


I think at the level of casual non-techies, using Macs or Windows,
it's mostly all one now.

And the real casual users are moving to tablets and phones, anyway.
PCs are becoming arcane.

This is one place ChromeOS is strong. Stronger than almost anyone's
noticed. It's a clever play by Google.

I have seen demos of the Canon Cat, in particular, which stands out as
a relatively recent -- early microcomputer era -- radically different,
in many ways radically _better_ UI.

Before that... Well, there was some truly radical stuff in the late
minicomputer era.

We have truly lost *so* much, it makes me almost weep.

Here's a wonderful ½hr 2013 presentation *pretending* to from 1973,
about what _should_ have been the next 40 years. Watch it, laugh, and
then mourn.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/12/2018 - 11:49

I probably bumped into some of those but I managed to discover UNIX and
then Linux early enough to be able to dictate my own work-pattern.

Actually they did. WP8 came with a fully-fledged XML editor using an
XML-based stylesheet mechanism. It worked well, but by then the XML
people at WP were fleeing for other (corporate/management) reasons.

Yes, it's not a very impressive start-up. Better than it used to be,
though :-(

I think this is why MSMcQ was so insistent in his description that if
you want macros, an editor should run a known, recognised programming
language to write them in, not some concoction of the authors' liking.

Yes, I see a lot of TinyMCE, although it's not always that configurable
in context.

Ego has a lot to do with it. Not that I'm decrying what RMS has done —
far from it, as he has had an uphill battle to fight.

Yes, it's all basic point and click, and no knowledge needed (exc ept
for how to point and click :-)

The BIG missing bit in Linux is multimedia support: there are still too
many formats out there which will get you the grey rectangle and "This
format is not supported". Flash is obviously the worst offender by a
long way.

I no longer take my laptop away on a trip. My large phone and BT
keyboard work perfectly with a plaintext editor and a command window.

Never used it. If I can't run Emacs, Saxon (Java), and LaTeX it's not

Perhaps we can take this to a private thread: I am writing a paper for
next year's Markup UK on 'Software we have lost' and I'd appreciate
knowing what other people rate as 'lost'.

I'm missing the link to that.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Gene Heskett at 10/12/2018 - 12:19

And I have a legal, all accounted and paid for ($99.90+tax) copy of WP8
in a box with all dox, about 3.5" thick on a shelf above me. It very
clearly, in blue plain text letters about 1" high, says FOR LINUX on the
box. But what it didn't say was that it was for Corels version of linux,
a costly abomination I had no intentions of trying to install. And guess
what, its loaded with corel linux dependencies on stuff that Red Hat 5.1
had already left behind in the late '90's. I've long since given up ever
trying to use it on a decent linux so I still do not know what it looks
like or how it runs.

Corel has of course vanished, cutting their own throat, but somebody at
Corel owes me the hundred bucks I paid for it, plus interest over the
last nearly 20 years. One of the life lessons I've learned at the hands
of someone too much like the old the M$.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/15/2018 - 03:27

On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 18:21, Gene Heskett < ... at shentel dot net> wrote:
I have a long-standing project to try to get it running in a container
and re-package the free version in that form, so that it could be used
on modern distros, in a distro-neutral form.

I'd be very happy to take it off your hands, postage etc. included.

Corel is alive and well. So is WordPerfect which in its Windows form
is a pretty decent app these days.

Sadly, its management were both desperate and gullible.

First it decided Linux was clearly an important OS in the near future,
which was correct. It invested heavily: it developed Corel LinuxOS,
the friendliest spin of Debian ever at the time, with impressive
features for the time such as a graphical tool for adjusting screen
resolution settings, and IMHO the best distribution of KDE ever done.

It also invested in ARM-based Linux hardware, the NetWinder. This was
a great little machine.

And it did a Linux version of the whole WP office suite, by porting it
to WINE -- it recompiled the whole suite on winelib and then fixed the
bits that didn't work right. WP8 for Linux, OTOH, was a continuation
(indeed, the last version of) of the original WP for Unix line.
Remember that WP was not a DOS app originally -- MS-DOS was the 4th or
5th port of the software.

But then, some gullible idiot at HQ thought that the problems of WP
Office on Windows were that it didn't have the same style of buttons
and the same macro language as MS Office. (This, I think, is obvious

It licensed the "MS Office look and feel" and Visual BASIC for
Applications from MS, for $LOTS.

Part of the deal was to kill all Corel's Linux efforts immediately.

So Corel sold off the NetWinder, spun off the Linux business as
Xandros (a decent distro in its day), and killed WP Office on Linux.

MS of course just changed the Office look & feel in the next version
anyway, as it does.

VBA made very little difference to anyone and I think it might have
been abandoned now anyway.

WP Office for Linux would never have made much money -- few Linux
users like paying for software -- but it would have legitimised
desktop Linux at the time. There was no credible office suite for
Linux back then. StarOffice was both obscure and commercial.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/12/2018 - 14:59

On 12/10/18 17:19, Gene Heskett wrote:
My version was for Windows which they gave me to review. I did also
download their first Linux version, whose filename always amused me
(knowing some of the people involved :-) This was a gzipped tar file (no
filetype or extension): GUILG00

The point was that this was shortly after WordPerfect-for-Windows came
out — a GUI version was believed to be an aberration: the "real"
WordPerfect was still felt by staff to be the DOS character-cell version
(6), and many people would agree with them.

They were told in no uncertain terms what to do, and chose to ignore it,


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/15/2018 - 06:37

On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 21:01, Peter Flynn < ... at silmaril dot ie> wrote:
Heh. There's definitely some truth in that.

I have mixed feelings about the decline and fall of WP.

I knew it, because I had to support it. It vanquished WordStar as
*the* DOS word-processor, and as DOS was *the* business OS for many
years, that made it important.

But I never personally liked it much. It wasn't CUA-compliant, and I
found the multiply-overloaded F-key UI to be hard to use. I could use
it, but I didn't like it.

However, for its time, WP 4.2 was a classic app. Blindingly fast, the
best printer support in the industry, used everywhere, and powerful.
It had good rich font support, when leading WP apps like MultiMate
didn't even support the "high-end" feature of proportional spacing.

WP 5.0 was a big buggy but for many people, WP 5.1 was the classic
version. I personally preferred it, because it had decent usable
drop-down menus if you didn't know all the function keys. Also you
could switch WP weirdnesses off (Esc was "repeat character", F3 was
Help (normally F1); in 5.1 you could switch F1 to Help and Repeat Char
to F3, thus freeing up Esc to mean "cancel the last operation", its
more normal operation, and more similar changes.)

But an early hero of mine, later a friend, the late great Guy Kewney,
wrote of WP 5:

"WordPerfect 4.2 was like a bicycle. It was perfect. It did everything
you could want, while being simple, reliable and fast. So what they
did is, they said 'we have the best bicycle in the world, as everyone
says. So what we're going to do is, we're going to put seven more
wheels on it."

(I quote from faint memory, and probably wrongly. Any attempt to
Google it merely finds me quoting it elsewhere.)

I have WP6.2 for DOS at home. Most people thought WP6.x was a
Windows-only app but there was a DOS version in the package too.

It's interesting because as well as the classic character-mode WP,
still fast and clean and efficient, you can also switch it into
graphics mode. Then it has a rather Windows-3-ish full rich GUI, all
drawn in DOS with no Windows present. It renders WYSIWYG fonts, bold
and underline and italics, and on a 21st century PC, it's *fast*.

Here's what it looks like:

<a href="" title=""></a>

If you enjoy that, he mentions more screenshots but the link 404s.
They're these, I think:

<a href="" title=""></a>

But as Guy pointed out later:

<a href="" title=""></a>

WP was so dominant and so many people knew its keystrokes that the
first few versions of Word for Windows had a "WordPerfect mode" which
set the text to white on a blue background and understood most of the
WP function key commands. (!)

Well, not AIUI... along with Lotus, WordPerfect Corp was one of the 2
big players who bought into the OS/2 dream. WordPerfect was released
on OS/2 before Windows, as was Lotus 1-2-3. I think the OS/2
WordPerfect was the first true GUI version with WYSIWYG... I recall
WordPerfect for the Atari ST and for the Commodore Amiga, running
natively under those OS's GUIs, but AFAICR it didn't support actual
GUI operation -- it was still basically a text-mode app in a window.

Here are some pics of the only native Linux version, WP 8:

<a href="" title=""></a>

I personally rather liked it. I did get it working on Ubuntu 8.
Nothing later, though.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/15/2018 - 09:42

On 15/10/18 08:27, Liam Proven wrote:
That is good news. It was always a better wordprocessor than Word,
particularly for long or complex documents — possibly the only
wordprocessor to create publishable the time.

And, one has to add, ignorant.

IMHO that was a mistake. It slowed it to a crawl and introduced
dependencies that it didn't need.

Same macro language I can't argue with: compatibility was an issue.
Same style of buttons is exactly the kind of thing you can fool gullible
marketing people with, though.

What they failed to understand was that very influential technical
people -- almost all of them with a background in the UNIX/Linux field
-- would have killed for a functioning Linux wordprocessor and would
gladly have been very vocal in praising it. Trashing WP8 for Linux was a
marketing gaffe of the first order.

I actually hated it.

Rivalled only at the time by PC-Write, whose printer support was equally
good, and it supported proportional-width fonts. But it was shareware,
and businesses didn't understand it.

By this time I was using Pandora, the typesetting industry's fork of WP
for DOS, which could Save As...SGML and had the best tables editor in
the business. Plus the marching display of tags in the footer, so that
you knew where in the document you were, structurally. That folded when
Elsevier switched to XML and made their typesetters find software
Good grief. I remember Guy from his time at PCW, one of the funniest and
most literate guys you could meet. I believe your quote is accurate.

Sorry, I didn't make it clear I was talking about their SGML/XML editor.
Another instance of having a really excellent product and junking it
right at the moment it would have been a killer app. The only other
product to rival that was Microsoft's SGML Author for Word, which,
despite the name, was a conversion program, not an editor. They killed
it just as people started to ask for conversion from Word to XML and
back because it could convert to "real" SGML, not the stuff you find
inside a .docx file these days. But that's a whole other story.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/15/2018 - 10:10

On Mon, 15 Oct 2018 at 15:44, Peter Flynn < ... at silmaril dot ie> wrote:

It held on in the legal field in the UK for _decades_ and that made me
a little bit of money fixing balky systems.

When you're charging several hundred pounds per hour or per page for
documents, you want a _very_ accurate word count.

MS Word counts words in the main document. It does not (or did not)
include headers, footers, auto-generated or imported text, etc.

WordPerfect tells you how many words. All of them. With _no_ exceptions.

It also sometimes leaves bits of deleted or edited-out text in the
saved files, which can be extremely legally embarrassing.

(Due to a very clever algorithm by Charles Simonyi, which was
responsible for the program's good performance in some areas:

<a href="" title=""></a>


WordPerfect doesn't. Not ever.

So, lawyers stuck with it until well into the WinXP era.

Another boat that WP missed, therefore.

Can't entirely disagree.

They were also Mormons, I think. Any particular connection there may
or may not be is left as an exercise to the reader.

Yes, agreed, but it _was_ an early legitimisation of both Linux and
indeed of WINE.

Also, it was how Mac Office was produced for quite a long time,
possible still, and what made it work was the combination of hardware
speed improvements, Mac OS X and some cosmetic polish, rather than any
big technical backtrack.

MS Word 1 through to 5 were native Mac apps.

6 and later were from a single code base -- in other words, they were
effectively Windows ports. Microsoft ported its class libraries to
MacOS and that enabled a large amount of Windows code re-use.

I think some of the code in Word for DOS might be traceable back to
Visual BASIC for DOS. It has the same look-and-feel. I suspect Word 6
for DOS was a pig too, but nobody noticed at the time and now any DOS
app runs like lightning on a modern PC.


But the cost was too high.

If you use a whole different office suite, you probably don't really care.


Yes yes yes. So much yes.

OK, OK, me too. I was attempting to be a bit tactful.

That I did not know. I dabbled experimentally with it, no more.

I didn't know that one, but I only encountered XML professionally from
2014 onwards.

I am *not* a fan.

Yes, absolutely. Lovely chap. Bowel cancer got him but he faced it
with remarkable bravery and fortitude.

I was very proud that he occasionally phoned or emailed me for tech advice.

Oh, I see! Well, I can't comment as I never saw it -- but I much
admired your write-up there -- but since the idea occurred to me
recently, I suspect it was probably pretty good.

Well, yes... :-)

I am still learning to produce clear, readable DocBook, thanks in part
to some occasionally-crunchy feedback from my more expert colleagues.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/15/2018 - 12:43

the UK for _decades_ and that made me
Excellent. Always good to take lawyers' excess money :-)

No longer, fortunately.

On 15/10/18 17:13, Jim wrote:
It is, and not just for compatibility. Many lawyers (including mine) now
use Word, but those working in some specialist areas apparently still
have a copy of WP. And those using the latest legislative drafting
systems may actually be using OpenOffice, although they are probably
unaware of it, because its XML format allows all kinds of fun bells and
whistles for our elected representatives to query and change.

On 15/10/18 15:10, Liam Proven wrote:
Most office workers have only the vaguest idea of the software they are
using. Microsoft's marketing in this area has been really amazing,
firstly convincing people that if it looks pretty, that automatically
means it must be right :-) and secondly ironing out the seams between
applications and between the applications and the OS interface so that
people no longer know nor care whether they are using Word or Excel or
Edge, and wouldn't be able to describe the difference anyway.

That on its own is the one reason that Linux (including Mac OS X) will
not (indeed cannot) supersede Windows (barring some world-shattering

Since I retired from my last 9–5 job to concentrate on consultancy I
have stopped being so tactful :-) If a program is a dog — or worse — I
will probably say so, unless a client thinks it's wunnerful...

No, it's not a technology that you should ever need or want to know.
Unfortunately [see my rant about editors the other day] it's still
missing some software, so users are still exposed to the pointy
brackets, which is silly. When it was being written, the assumption was
that the software would grow up with it, and that's only partially true.

I use it for pretty much everything except actual Humanities texts, for
which TEI is designed. And I'm still learning DocBook's oddities :-)


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/15/2018 - 13:07

On Mon, 15 Oct 2018 at 18:45, Peter Flynn < ... at silmaril dot ie> wrote:
Heh. It was a fun peek into another world.

I guess. Not sure the price was worth it. Zipped XML with embedded BLOBs? Yuck.

I have rescued many word processor documents from disk corruption.
With all these compressed formats, data is indistinguishable from
I think Google is semi-accidentally doing a home-run around the whole
thing, and I'm amazed that nobody is copying them.

First came Gmail. Webmail that was good enough it was _better_ than a
local client.

Then came Google Contacts and Google Calendar. Nowhere near as good,
but the device sync was good enough and then some. Now my PIM was in
the cloud and synched onto all my devices.

Just now I got a call from an unknown number. I spoke with them and
needed to SMS some info.

So on my work PC, I signed into my Gmail, Googled the company name,
copied-and-pasted the company info into a new entry in my Google
Contacts... and by the time I picked up the phone to text, it was
there in the phone's address book.

And it's not even a Google OS, it's iOS.

OK, the copy-pasting bit needs work -- I would very much like a magic
"add this company's contact info to my address book" button, please.
In fact gContacts is appallingly clunky, but it works, and it works
better than anything I've seen in the FOSS arena.

It does the important stuff Exchange Server plus Windows Server plus a
client with Windows in the same domain plus Outlook does, and it does
it quicker, simpler, for free for personal use, across devices, and
all without actually trying to emulate or copy what Exchange does.

*THAT* is what the FOSS people didn't even fail to do -- they didn't even try.

But it's here now, and it works on Linux. It runs on Linux at the server end.

ChromeOS delivers that. It gives you a world-leading browser, an OS to
run it, and some cloud apps that are Just Barely Good Enough. This is
a core Agile principle:

<a href="" title=""></a>

For their first few years, ChromeBooks looked too limited to be of
interest to me. (So did tablets.)

But now, I could probably work on one.

A few months ago, I took the plunge and bought my first tablet. A
cheap Chinese one. It's great, I use it almost every day, sometimes
for hours. I've made a dent in my movies-to-see directory. It's ideal
for surfing. My girlfriend loves it too.

But Android on a tablet is limiting. Especially the browser. It can't
do stuff I *need* from my desktop browser.

Neither can Safari on my phone, come to that.

Chrome OS, though, can.

Now ChromeOS can run on little "net top" thin client like things, it
can run Android apps, it can run local Linux apps, it can run virtual
desktop sessions to Windows servers, and it can run on tablets and

Suddenly a lot of the stuff in Windows (and macOS and iOS) seems a bit

Google Apps are not actually very good, but we've passed the Pareto
Principle now. Most people don't use the famous 20% of Office's
functionality. They use 2% or less.

Google Apps can deliver that 2%, and ChromeOS delivers it in a small-f
free Linux-based OS, on cheap hardware, with a good rich app selection

And suddenly it looks like the writing might be on the wall for
Microsoft and for Apple, because this really is all most people need.

It may be that the PC (and desktop Mac) will become a high-end tools
for power users. Workstations.

Most people will be fine with a convertible ChromeOS device that can
become a just-barely-good-enough laptop, and most business staff will
be fine with a thin-client type thing that doesn't actually need a
company server at all -- it just talks to Google-hosted servers.
Google don't sell you the hardware, or the software. Some 3rd party
sells you cheap client devices and you pay a subscription fee for the
services and all those maintenance and support issues just go away.

It's what Oracle tried to do 20 years ago.

It's here now and nobody's noticed.

And neither Ubuntu nor Red Hat has anything like it, and I'm not sure
that they've realised that they _need_ anything like it yet.

Heh. :-D I applaud and salute that, while being a bit more careful
still myself...

I regard it as a bit like HTML. In 1996 I said this was something that
humans shouldn't need to fiddle with, like Postscript.

I stand by it. Where I was wrong is that I didn't realise it would
all be generated on demand...

And by something as ugly as PHP. :-(

:-D Thank you! I am relieved...

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/15/2018 - 16:56

On 15/10/18 18:07, Liam Proven wrote:
Yes to yuck, but no more embedded BLOBs, and at least it's easily
accessible to mortals: no more binary formats. Mind you, there are still
problems: four different and mutually-incompatible ways to do hyperlinks?

Yes, if the zip file itself gets corrupted. I haven't seen one of those
in many a long year, fortunately. But a tiny price to pay for a document
in a logic-based format.

Doing no evil?

Loathsome to me, but I have unusual needs (like Redirect)

Those are essentials.

That's the key (devs, if you're reading). It's got to be not just a
little bit better than commercial software but HUGELY better.

I've never tried Gmail for that. I'm using Hiri for Exchange and Tbird
for the rest (and it's all replicated in mutt just in case). I just hate
the web mail interface...stuff just disappears and can't be found again,
and it takes up soooo much space.

They didn't know if was a thing. It's one of the brakes on FOSS
development: we don't have the money to do real LARGE-SCALE user
surveys, so we don't actually know for sure what people want/don't want
or like/hate. It's all guesswork

I'm looking at it. Cloud-dependency is a problem, though: I have clients
in areas with no Internet access and a poor phone signal.

I bought a big phone and it does me fine for the little I need.

You wouldn't have a source for that, would you?

My inner sceptic says wait :-)

Not achievable the way things stand in both those fields, either.

Exactly, although it would be closer to say that HTML is a bit like XML
:-) Moot anyway, now that the W3C has washed its hands of HTML, XML, and

Serious backends use rather more reliable software than that, fortunately.

I also abuse it shamelessly. In an environment where content and format
are kept separate, and there is no visual baggage attached to any of the
elements, using DocBook to write a book about typography and formatting
meant inventing one of the missing wheels.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/16/2018 - 09:55

OK, I defer to your evidently superior knowledge. TBH I avoid Office
Is it? Hm. OK.

In extremis I would just dump damaged disks to files and cut-and-paste
the text out of the result, with a high success rate. No longer viable
with compressed data.

Ah, they've dropped that now.

Google's strategy of hiring lots of smart people and giving them time
to develop new stuff has worked well, but led to a lot of blind alleys
-- notably its clueless wild flailing around in social networks.

Android was bought in, of course. It started as a better Blackberry
clone and was hastily reworked as an iOS clone when they saw the
original iPhone.

ChromeOS was an experiment to do a cheap Linux laptop. It's *way* more
successful than any other user-facing Linux distro ever, I think.

So Google has the #1 and #2 user-facing (i.e. non-server) Linuxes now.

By 2016 ChromeBooks outsold Macs.

<a href="" title=""></a>

By 2017 it looked like they were responsible for all the growth in the
otherwise-shrinking PC market.

<a href="" title=""></a>

They're projected to do better and better:

<a href="" title=""></a>

Meanwhile Windows is doing very badly indeed, shrinking quite fast:

<a href="" title=""></a>

So, yes, the OS market is shifting substantially, and most people
aren't paying much attention.

Google is also sponsoring not one but _two_ Linux-replacement projects
-- one for phones and devices, Fuchsia:

<a href="" title=""></a>

And one for containers, Gvisor:

<a href="" title=""></a>

Both are new kernels, written in Go.

Android apps run in a Java-like runtime engine. Portability is not a
big issue there, if the underlying OS has a compatible VM.

ChromeOS, of course, barely has apps; mainly it just needs the Chrome browser.

So the future is definitely not clear, but it is looking cloudy, if
you will excuse the pun.


Sadly, the stuff MS does well is stuff FOSS and Unix people don't really want:

* network-wide directories
* remote admin of large numbers of user workstations
* rich groupware that is heedless of open standards

I am not aware of any FOSS vendor that's every seriously addressed
these things. There have been many stabs at groupware but nothing I
personally rate as acceptable quality.

Google has just ignored the whole question and solved it using bits of Linux:

* no directories or admin, just web-based single-provider single-sign-on
* no remote admin, just self-updating clients made as simple and
bulletproof as possible
* no fancy groupware, just good solid standards-based webmail plus
diary and address book
* a bit of a token effort at a minimally useful office suite
* a basic but good-enough remote drive

I find it fascinating that without trying to compete head-on with MS
or any other office/groupware solution, they have seemingly stumbled
into the only really viable competition there is.

I find the comparison with Linux itself fascinating. All the
proprietary Unices failed: either they ran on expensive proprietary
hardware which was too expensive, or they ran on commodity kit but
were expensive and even so everything was an expensive optional extra.

The BSDs have always been in their own little world. E.g. they don't
play nice with PC/DOS/Windows style disk partitioning -- oh no, like
some weird old proprietary OS such as Netware or something, you need a
big primary partition and they do their own weird thing inside that.

Linux just shrugs and gets on with it. DOS partitions? Fine. DOS
filesystems? Fine. I can install into that, or I can mount it for you.
Windows filesharing? Fine. Windows wifi drivers? Fine. Windows
binaries? Fine. Reverse-engineering Windows-only kit to make Free
drivers? Fine. And it's all GPL or nothing.

Result, Linux plays nice on PC networks. BSD doesn't. You have to do
BSD the BSD way or GTFO.

Linux exploited the PC ecosystem. BSD fought against it and adopted as
little as possible, as reluctantly as possible. Result: Linux won.

Google has just ignored the MS ecosystem and tried to be the best or
at least the cheapest at search engines, webmail, browsers, phones,
etc. And it's worked and made them big enough that now they're a
credible rival.

I'd never even _heard_ of Hiri before, but I don't operate in the
Windows world much and I'm much happier for it.

I used to hate webmail. I stuck with T'bird for over a decade. But
Gmail sucked me in. It's as good or better, and with no need for a
local server or local clients, it works on all my computers on all my
OSes. I can hop between Windows, Linux and Mac, multiple times a day,
and Gmail is always available.

The convenience won me over.


What the enteprise vendors know is what their server OS customers
want. There's no money on the desktop.

But Google found a way around that...

That's what puts me off, too.

I've been using one for ~8 years now. The tablet is in some ways more

No. I'm afraid it's just based on my own (horrified) observations of
just how little of Office people understand.

In my last UK job, the staff produced multi-page reports by...
copy-and-pasting all the formatting, line by line, from their old
reports. They had never even heard of templates or stylesheets. They
couldn't understand why it gave me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

Well, yes...

I am not sure. Red Hat bought CoreOS.

CoreOS is a server derivative of ChromeOS. ChromeOS is very distantly
based on Gentoo.

It doesn't really _have_ package management. It maintains 2 root
partitions: one updates the other, then reboots into it. If everything
works, #2 updates #1 and next time reboots into that. The entire OS
image is synched down from HQ as a whole, like a phone update. You
_can't_ add local packages. Everything you add must be in a container.

It's totally unlike how RH works.

At first RH planned to replace all this with traditional RH
infrastructure, drawn from its (*very* loosely compatable) Project

I think now they're learning how well the CoreOS approach works and
reconsidering this.

RH may end up moving its future distro versions to something more
CoreOS like than the other way round.

SUSE is working on something broadly similar.



Well yes. But sadly not all of them. FB is PHP, for instance. :-(

* Big grin*

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/16/2018 - 17:44

On 16/10/18 14:55, Liam Proven wrote:
Not superior, just bitter experience :-)

Wise choice.

They want to own headspace for the average user, and that's a good way
to do it.

If that's a declining % share of a growing market, it may not be as bad
in volume terms as it looks.

"Most people" neither know nor care.

Interesting choice.

It certainly is, and you are excused :-) Fortunately most of the
business I deal with is OS-independent.

I can only speak wrt my former employer, a university, where the IT
sysadmins are almost all well-experienced in FOSS/Unix/Linux but have
implemented all three of the above from Microsoft because they reduce
the administrative overhead. I would add "for the moment", but mine was
a voice in the wilderness. It all works, even works quite well, but the
only one of interest to me was Word, and so long as that continues to
use XML inside, documents can be re-used in more meaningful systems
without the need to call in external expertise or software.

Simply too big to tackle, and would require herding cats.

Users are asking for it because it appears simpler and less restrictive.
It remains to be seen if the dead hand of corporate IT can be animated
into acceptance.

Not for want of telling: my unit ditched Sun when they started shipping
*without* a C compiler. They eventually went back on that decision, but
by then it was too late.

It has to or it would die.

They just spotted that by now, the average user just wants a browser and
a phone that work. Everything else is a bell or whistle.

Hiri is a new, cross-platform, Exchange-only client. Completely
different look and feel, very simple (IMHO too simple) but originally
targeted at managers, whose idea of a long message is three lines.

(I have accounts with clients who are Exchange-only, and won't turn on
IMAP just for me, so Hiri is an easy answer. Plus it's written locally
to me.)

As it will eventually everyone, I suspect.

Bummer. I suspect I will have to eat my own dogfood and actually do some
real research.

Their company (and their managers) have plenty of time and money but
everything except training.

If you need central control this is ideal.

The charters of a load of working groups and projects have run to
end-of-life and won't be renewed. HTML5 has no schema, and you can add
custom elements as much as you like, so it's ceased to be any kind of
standard, just tag soup. Fortunately it doesn't matter because
absolutely no-one with any serious information stores it in HTML: you
store it in XML, or a triplestore, or in some cloud NoSQL system
somewhere, and you create your web site by sprinkling it with pixie dust
and unicorn poo to generate the HTML-du-jour that browsers support.

I did say "serious" :-)


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Jim Byrnes at 10/16/2018 - 13:04


Been following this very interesting discussion. Could you expand on
this. I thought that they were the standards setters in the HTML & CSS area.

Regards, Jim

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By MR ZenWiz at 10/16/2018 - 16:50

Can you either 1) take this offline or 2) open a new thread?

this has almost nothing to do with the original topic.



On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 10:06 AM Jim < ... at comcast dot net> wrote:

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/16/2018 - 17:46

On 16/10/18 21:50, MR ZenWiz wrote:
Yes, I'm afraid we've been guilty of running wildly off-topic except for
Liam's most recent post about OSs.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Jim Byrnes at 10/15/2018 - 12:13

On 10/15/2018 09:10 AM, Liam Proven wrote:
This reminds me that about 10 years ago I was in my lawyers office and I
somehow noticed he was using WP. I had just assumed that professionals
would all would be using MSWord. He said no. If you wanted to exchange
documents you had to be using WP, especially in small firms. I don't
know if it is still that way.

Regards, Jim

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/12/2018 - 12:02

On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 17:51, Peter Flynn < ... at silmaril dot ie> wrote:
Oh really? I didn't know. I have a copy around here -- I must try it!


Now I understand. Thanks.


Rarely happens to me any more, TBH. Very rarely. Ubuntu is a bit
better than openSUSE in that respect.

Hold that thought...
[1] Do they run on your phone? 8-)

[2] ChromeOS now can run Linux apps in a sandbox -- so yes, it can.

Disclaimer -- I haven't got a Chromebook (yet) and haven't tried. But
the current and last few versions not only run the handful of native
apps, they also run Android and standard Linux apps.

You might find my FOSDEM talk from last year interesting, then:

<a href="" title=""></a>


<a href="" title=""></a>

Deserves to be very widely-known.

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Peter Flynn at 10/12/2018 - 14:47

On 12/10/18 17:02, Liam Proven wrote:
<a href="" title=""></a>

Yep. Although my current phone is now so full of Samsung crud it's
becoming unusable.

That might fix the problem.

Very. Thank you.

Sadly, yes.


Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By Liam Proven at 10/10/2018 - 09:43

On Wed, 10 Oct 2018 at 15:14, Chris Green < ... at isbd dot net> wrote:
Heh! Excellent -- well played! :-D

I'd give you the secret handshake but I've forgotten it.

Fair call.

The thing is, though, that Vi or Emacs style UIs weren't taken up by
many other apps -- e.g. on the DOS playform, Wordstar commands
dominated for a while. (E.g. early releases of DR-DOS had a text
editor that understood Wordstar commands, while MS-DOS still only
offered Edlin.)

There were too many competing standards -- Vi, Emacs, Wordstar, old
Windows keystrokes, old classic MacOS ones, etc.

Which is why CUA came along.

<a href="" title=""></a>

It took the idea of the exceptionally rigorous Apple HIG (Human
Interface Guidelines) and extended them in a more PC-centric way.
Basically _everything_ since then has conformed to them -- Windows and
OS/2 directly, Apple indirectly as it adopted most of them in Mac OS
X, Linux because all the leading desktops are copies of Windows 95 &
its accessories, so accidentally grandfathered in the same UI.

I learned the CUA stuff around 1989-1990 and every editor since then
adopts it by default. I remember a handful of older things --
including Ctrl-U to clear a field -- but happily I've let my muscle
memory of all else fade away since then.

Which is why I don't like Emacs or Vi, despite nearly 30 years of
reluctant Vi usage. They don't conform. But these days I use Tilde
instead, which does and is fine. As a non-programmer I need nothing

Well, fair call. Remembering both might be a bit much for almost anyone...

Re: 'Emacs style' delete line shortcut (CTRL/U) doesn't work cor

By oxy via ubuntu-users at 10/10/2018 - 09:32

10 October 2018 at 14:12, Chris Green wrote:
Re: 'Emacs style' delete line short (at least in part)

Boring Green text, that new fangled White text or the odd Orange text?