Back into Emacs

I’m a huge Emacs nerd. I first used it in university computer science courses, where they would provide commands and structures for everything you needed (at first). Later on I found that it was a decent text editor, and used it for such.  Throughout my time there, that was pretty much all I had used.

Fast forward about 5 years. I got my first real IT job at a large enterprise company supporting Solaris servers. First week on the job, I logged into a server I had to make a simple change on, and ‘emacs /etc/hosts”.  I received “emacs: command not found”. Oh right, the normal community doesn’t use Emacs, it’s considered pretentious, bloated, and completely unnecessary for everyday sysadmin work. So with that, I had to use vi. (At that time, vim was not even installed on Solaris by default — and might still not be.) I had never used vi in my life, so I pumped out some quick Google-fu and found the basics, insert mode, command mode, and “wq” to write (save) and quit. Got it. Now I was a vi/vim user.

Fast forward a few more years. Damian Conway, noted Perl expert/lecturer, came to my workplace to give a perl workshop. The last day of the workshop, however, he ran out of material for perl, so he proceeded to give us a “one day vim crash course” and showed us how entirely awesome vim could be. I was astounded. I wanted to increase my skills and become more efficient. Over the next couple years I added a few tweaks here and there, nothing groundbreaking, but just a couple things.

Then I met up with a couple former co-workers who were heavy Emacs users, and I started to realize what I was missing out on during all those vi/vim years. Little bit little they would discuss things like tramp, jedi, el-get, various major modes, and org-mode. I quickly got back into it. I found Sacha Chua’s Emacs blog, another heavy Emacs  user, and started following her as well, learning quite a bit more.

Today I’ve successfully set up el-get, and even handier tool, allowing easy installations of various “recipes”, including github projects, and many others. The wonder keeps growing and growing.

Not too long ago I remember thinking that there is no way I will remember all of the Emacs commands, but so far, I’ve been surprising myself over and over again. I’m glad I took the step, and that I know I’m only scratching the surface of what Emacs has to offer.

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