This is the story of a man and his favorite text editor.
In 2001, I was a freshman in college, which meant the closest thing to
highspeed internet that I had hitherto experienced. Which upped my time
surfing the web. One of the delightful sites I lighted upon was
One day, I dug through Ftrain’s archives and found Emacs
Notepad. I was intrigued. Having
exclusively used Word (and Notepad to edit HTML - ha!) up until that point,
this Emacs thingy sounded fascinating. I downloaded a Windows version right
I soon found that the Windows port of Emacs was stuck on version 19, and the
rest of the Emacs-lovin’ universe was using version 21 on some posix-compliant
operating system. I decided to hope and pray that soon the Emacs developers
would take a little time out to help us poor souls using Windows.
It was a long wait. A long wait in which I could not get LaTeX to work. So
long, in fact, that the next fall, with the aid of a new dorm-mate, I dual-
booted Red Hat 9 Linux.
What’s great about Emacs, and about free software in general, is that I have
as much control as I desire over my computer. I haven’t taken the time to
install Linux from scratch, but if I wanted to, the tools are there, and there
aren’t any proprietary hindrances or DRM snafus to thwart my progress. My
limited ability to understand maths may hinder me, but my software isn’t.
So actually, I am indebted to Emacs for not only making my computing life much
easier and more productive, but from freeing me from the limitations of
Microsoft. Although I see I didn’t really describe just how it has made my
computing life easier, or more productive. I’ll have to remedy that in a
DISCLAIMER: I never said it was a good story of a man and his favorite text