Emacs the Powerful

Nov 27, 2016 00:00 · 603 words · 3 minutes read Emacs text-editors


Emacs is a very powerful(perhaps one of the most powerful) text editor out there in the wild. It is customizable and can be extended in so many ways. Sexy and cool is how I would describe Emacs. I’m most sure its the text editor the gods use. Well, I’m sure so many Vim fans out there will definitely cringe at my last remark:)

Emacs is an [1]extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor.

Why Emacs?

Well, with Emacs, you can do a gabajillion and one things. From text processing needs, internet, hacking, coding, managing your life. Heck, emacs can even provide you with “psychological counselling” - try M-x doctor lol!). You can rely on Emac’s superb editing capabilities to do anything withing your realm of imagination[maybe?].

I love Emacs. I’m like Talia Al Ghul[Batman Rises] and Emacs is my Bane. Emacs gives me power. It intuits what I am trying to do.

A little bit of history

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

George Santayana,
Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner’s, 1905, page 284

GNU Emacs wase originally written by Richard Stallman a.k.a. /St. iGNUcius/a.k.a. *RMS*. You know, the dude who came up with the GNU project. He is the reason you can enjoy free software: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.

GNUEmacs was the first [2] program in the nascent GNU project. It is completely free to modify, edit and distribute. You can mould it- which you should- to comply to your crazy needs. Chances are there is already a mode[3] for anything you would have ever wanted to do with an IDE or word processor(or pretty much any thing in the wild).

Why should you learn how to use Emacs?

… Emacs, which might be thought of as a thermonuclear processor


Emacs is extensible. Imagine playing with plasticine. Imagine what and how you’d want to work with it. The limit to how you use it is limited only by your imagination(and effort). So is Emacs.

If you are a professional writer – i.e., if someone else is getting paid to worry about how your words are formatted and printed – Emacs outshines all other editing software in approximately the same way that the noonday sun does the stars. It is not just bigger and brighter; it simply makes everything else vanish.
–Neal Stephenson- In the Beginning… was the Command Line

Many people shy away from text editors because they(maybe?) have misconceived ideas that text editors are for programmers or people who use the computer for “technical stuff”. Many people are hooked to word editors like MS Word because it’s easier and much more comfortable to use. Well, this is true. However, text editors like Emacs are not for just “techies”(and hipsters). It’s something that can be used by anyone. Thing is, you have to be willing(just like in learning other tools) to learn the basics.

Onwards …

Emacs makes life so much easier. I’ve taken my time to learn it and I am still learning it. For all it’s worth, learning Emacs has made work faster and more productive. I try to use it in every single text editing I do(and also viewing images, reading e-mail, viewing pdf- yes you can do that).

Should you try using Emacs? That, I know not. It is up to you. I however do believe that you will gain something positive by spending your time with Emacs.


[1]: Emacs description from ArchWiki
[2]: Emacs History
[3]: A mode is analogous to a plugin in other environments.

Useful resources

  1. Why use Emacs
  2. Emacs Manual
  3. Emacs is sexy
  4. How to learn emacs