Leaving Emacs

Joe Gregorio

All other things being equal, avoid empowering lunatics.

I have been an emacs user for close to 8 years now. That is about to end. After reading about James Clark's new nXML Emacs XML editing mode I decided to give it a try. Lo and behold it requires emacs 21.X and here I was languishing in a backwater at 20.7.1. So I head off to ftp.gnu.org to get the latest windows binaries for the latest release of emacs. But instead of finding binaries I found a slew of back-RSNs. What, pray tell, are back-RSNs? Little text files explaining that the stuff you are looking for will be back Real Soon Now. They're gone because:

A root compromise and a Trojan horse were discovered on gnuftp.gnu.org, the FTP server of the GNU project. The machine appears to have been cracked in March 2003, but we only discovered the crack in the last week of July 2003. [MISSING-FILES.README]

Here's a clue, one month does not qualify as Real Soon Now. One month later and all the windows emacs binaries are still missing and so are the latest emacs sources. Both the slipshod detection and languid pace of repair make me think they're aiming to give Microsoft a run for their money on security.

I am now looking for a new text editor. I would prefer something I could run on both Windows and unix boxes. Reasonably full featured and with a decent scripting language. Suggestions are welcome.

search for ntemacs.

i think they have their own archives, etc.

Posted by Adam on 2003-10-06

I believe you can also install the latest Emacs through Cygwin if that interests you.

Posted by Rafe on 2003-10-06

How about vi?

Posted by Mark on 2003-10-06

Maybe you should try XEmacs at www.xemacs.org - a lot better than plain Emacs, IMHO, and with a much nicer Look and Feel. Although, sadly enough, nXML mode is one of the very few packages that doesn't run in XEmacs.

Posted by Stefan Tilkov on 2003-10-06

Which version would you like?

The security remark (and the thing about empowering lunatics, but that sort of goes without saying) seems to me to be really missing the point.  If they were aiming for that level of security they could have left the binaries and all the rest online for everybody to enjoy.

How they got hacked, how long it took them to find out they had been hacked and how they feel about things like root or the wheel group... Now there's something to discuss.

Posted by Arien on 2003-10-06

I can recommend Lugaru's Epsilon (http://www.lugaru.com). Inspired by Emacs, fast, fully featured, extensible, scripting language exactly like C.
Not free (beer or speech), but worth every penny.

Posted by Mike on 2003-10-06

Try vim, its vi compatible but can be scripted with a host of languages. Python, Perl, Ruby to name a few.

Posted by Anu on 2003-10-06

I've heard good things about something called Microsoft Word, although I've never used it personally.

Posted by Mark on 2003-10-07

I use CVS Emacs, but if you install and use cygwin, that works great.  I run the X server in multiwindow mode automatically after I log in and have a short vbs file set up to launch emacs when I need it.

But, yeah, the ftp.gnu.org thing needs to be fixed.

Posted by Mark A. Hershberger on 2003-10-07

I'm kinda stuck on Xemacs.  You know, "old dog new trick".

SlickEdit is suppose to be good, runs on Windoze, Unix and Linux.  And it's developed in your backyard (Morrisville, NC).  Try the free demo and let me know how you like it...  Then maybe you can teach an old dog how to use it.

Posted by Damon on 2003-10-07

  Thanks, I did not know that about VIM. I will give it a try.

And thanks to everyone that stopped by with comments, this has been very helpful.

Posted by joe on 2003-10-07

A lot of emacs die hards I know didn't wean themselves off of emacs till jEdit - as you can achieve the same and more even if you have to write/download addins.  I still use SciTE too for quick and dirty like last post mentioned.

Posted by anonymous on 2003-10-07

you will come crawling back

Posted by anonymous on 2003-10-07

Started out emacs, still use jed for console editing, but jEdit is so good. It's the shit, really.

Posted by Dusty on 2003-10-08

Try jEdit [1] and J [2] (both in Java).
very good even for an emacs user (like I was)

[1] http://www.jedit.org
[2] http://armedbear-j.sourceforge.net/

Posted by Fred on 2003-10-09

Reading other people's comments here, I could easily be persuaded to say that if all you want is an editor, yeah, check out nedit, vim, or jedit.

Posted by Mark A. Hershberger on 2003-10-10

Real men compile their own Emacs... Then again real men don't use Windows



Posted by Kevin Burton on 2003-10-12

Many people are happy with other editors, and I can't say whether you would be better off with a different one, but this strikes me as a particularly dumb reason to switch.  There are a zillion places you can grab source or binaries of most major free software programs, including both flavors of emacs.

Posted by lunatic on 2003-10-13

jEdit is nice (earlier commented)
It runs on many platforms (A fine example of good Java coding).
I use it on my Windows (work) and Linux, *BSD boxes (home), and I know people that use it on the MacOSes.

It runs in a GUI (not command-line), so stick with VIM if command-line is a requirement.

Posted by sean on 2003-10-17

Reading other people's comments here, I could easily be persuaded to say that if all you want is an editor, yeah, check out nedit, vim, or jedit.

Posted by Dusty on 2003-12-08

another plug for Epsilon. I've used it since v3, and they (well, he) are now on v12.

feature-rich, highly scriptable, emacs-y, and very fast in Windows - something that always drove me nuts about Emacs.

Posted by todd on 2003-12-10

Why aren't there any editors that have anything close to Emacs cc-mode?  It seems like every editor I've found is like using notepad with syntax highliting.  When I hit tab on a line I want it to line up exactly where it should be lined up.  And how do Slickedit and Epsilon get $300 and $250 for their products.  I want a product I can afford to use at work and at home.  $100 would seem much more reasonable for a program like this.  Visio requires a lot more programming and costs less than a code editor.

Posted by Eric on 2004-07-28

Depending on what you usually develop, MonoDevelop might be a good IDE. It grows incredibly fast, and gets support for more languages almost every month, it seems.

I haven't tried it extensively yet, but it should be possible to run both on Linux and Windows with Mono installed.

Posted by Asbjørn Ulsberg on 2004-07-28

The Zeus programmer's editor if sciptable using Python, Lua, Java Script or VB Script and even has an emacs keyboard emulation:


but it only runs on the Windows platform :(

Note: Zeus is shareware.

Posted by Jussi Jumppanen on 2005-08-26

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