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A small number of better defaults for Emacs
Emacs Lisp
Branch: master

README.md

Better Defaults for Emacs

There are a number of unfortunate facts about the way Emacs works out of the box. While all users will eventually need to learn to write Emacs Lisp in order to customize it to their particular tastes, this package attempts to address the most obvious of deficiencies in uncontroversial ways that nearly everyone can agree upon.

Why not just fix Emacs? Suggesting a change to the defaults of Emacs usually results in a long thread in which people who have been using Emacs for decades loudly complain about how the change would be disruptive to their habits and how it's just one line for people to get the improved behaviour in their own config files. While I would love to see each of these changes become part of Emacs, I don't hold a lot of hope for it.

Obviously there are many further tweaks you could do to improve Emacs, (like those the Starter Kit and similar packages) but this package focuses a few changes that have near-universal appeal, lovingly hand-selected by inhabitants of the #emacs channel on Freenode. The approach of the Starter Kit and co. is problematic in that when users add in a big pile of unrelated functionality it's difficult to debug when it goes wrong, and it's hard to tell where a specific piece of functionality came from if it turns out to be undesired.

Usage

Installing this library (using M-x package-install after adding Marmalade to your package sources is all that's required.

You can run from source by placing a checkout on your load-path and running (require 'better-defaults).

Normally it's recommended to use autoload instead of require in your init file, but since better-defaults is such a small library it loads quickly enough not to impact startup time.

New behaviour

  • ido-mode allows many operations (like buffer switching and file navigation) to be enhanced with instant feedback among the completion choices. If you like ido, you should check out ido-hacks and smex. Sometimes when creating a new file you'll want to temporarily disable ido; this can be done with C-f. You may also want to look at ido-use-virtual-buffers.

  • The toolbar, menu bar, and scroll bar are all turned off.

  • The uniquify library makes it so that when you visit two files with the same name in different directories, the buffer names have the directory name appended to them instead of the silly hello<2> names you get by default.

  • The saveplace library saves the location of the point when you kill a buffer and returns to it next time you visit the associated file.

  • A few key bindings are replaced with more powerful equivalents: M-/ is hippie-expand instead of dabbrev-expand, C-x C-b is ibuffer instead of list-buffers, and C-s and C-r are swapped with regex-aware incremental search functions.

  • show-paren-mode highlights the matching pair when the point is over parentheses.

  • Under X, killing and yanking uses the X clipboard rather than just the primary selection.

  • Apropos commands perform more extensive searches than default.

  • Mouse yanking inserts at the point instead of the location of the click.

  • Backups are stored inside user-emacs-directory. (Usually ~/.emacs.d)

  • M-z (formerly zap-to-char) is replaced with the far more useful zap-up-to-char.

  • require-final-newline is set to avoid problems with crontabs, etc.

  • Setting load-prefer-newer prevents stale elisp bytecode from shadowing more up-to-date source files.

  • Ediff is set up to use the existing frame instead of creating a new one.

  • indent-tabs-mode defaults to nil.

Copyright

Copyright © 2013-2014 Phil Hagelberg and contributors

Licensed under the same license as Emacs (GPL v3 or later) unless otherwise specified.

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