Why do I use Emacs?

Table of Contents

I often get asked why I use Emacs, I feel like I have to defend myself because they often hit me the "Why not just use Vim or Neovim?", I plan to send them the reply through this article.

The Beginnings and Past

So let's start from the beginning, according to my git logs (of my Emacs configuration) I started using Emacs in the August of 2023(at least), so it has been 8 months since I have started with Emacs, before this I was using Spacemacs for 4 months as far as I remember, and before still I was on Neovim, Vim and Codium (Free Vs code basically).

I think it should be noted that I didn't actually configure Vim at all and I just used a distribution for Neovim. The same I did with Emacs through Spacemacs, but I felt that Emacs was worth investing my time into, so I started writing my own Emacs Configuration for Programming and Writing(ECFPAW).

Dissatisfaction with previous editors

I will now try to go to over each.

Markdown didn't just work with previous things

Markdown was just a pain for me, especially making tables was a pain, exporting the documents into formats like PDF, and HTML was painful. And then I switched to org-mode, all these things are literally built in. Why wouldn't I switch to it?

It has come to my notice that Neovim has extensions to do these things, but it still seems inferior to the facilities in Org-mode.

Language Server were a pain with Neovim

I was using a distribution of Neovim but it was still a pain to use a language server in Neovim. In Emacs, I found LSP mode, and later Eglot, to be very simple to use.

What really sold Emacs to me.

What really sold Emacs are two things:

  1. Resilience
  2. Extensibility

If I am going to invest my time into something, I want it to last for at least my life time, I don't want to be in a situation where I invest a lot of time into learning a tool and a few years later it is deprecated and I have to switch to something else.

We have seen this happen recently with Atom, which was often touted as the Emacs successor has been sunset-ted. I can inductively assume that Emacs will not die in the next 5 years by looking its (GNU Emacs) 40 something years, it almost feels like a miracle that this thing is still going strong!

Some of you might feel that Vi also satisfies this condition as it's just as if not more older than Emacs (they were released in the same year 1976). If you are reading this article carefully you might have noticed an inconsistency, I say Emacs is 40 years old but 1976 is 48 years in the past. Yes, because Vi is not used today, but GNU Emacs is still used today, in fact Vim is being replaced by Neovim as more and more people seem to switch to it, so my point about a continuous system is not true for Vi/Vim/Neovim.

I feel the reason for this is the fact that Emacs is very extensible. It by design more extensible than Neovim because it is implemented as a Emacs lisp interpreter, and most of the functionality is implement in Emacs lisp, this means that practically every feature can be implemented in Emacs! So there is no reason for me to use any other text editor when this can do everything! And I have found this to be practically true, here is an example😉.

So this, friends, is why I have become a saint in the Church of Emacs
(well, I technically still use some non-free software, I said that for
comedic effect).

Author: tusharhero (tusharhero@sdf.org)

tusharhero's pages is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0

Date: 2024-03-29 Fri 04:01

Site built at: 2024-05-18 Sat 13:59

Emacs 29.0.50 (Org mode 9.5.5)