Emacs22 in Ubuntu

I’ve been a Emacs fan ever since I was told to read the entire Emacs tutorial (i.e. ever since I learnt how to use it). Emacs is a marvelous concept. Emacs rulz.

But emacs font support is bad, that is not news. I find that the strain on my eyes is little too much. And I’ve always wanted to use Bitstream Vera Sans Mono on Emacs. That is a darling font for coding.

I installed emacs-snapshot through the ubuntu repos, unfortunately it does not seem to have Xft support by default (that gives anti-aliased fonts). But I can use BVSM through the command line:

 emacs-snapshot -fn '-*-bitstream vera sans mono-medium-r-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*'

But the font rendering is dissapointing, I guess BVSM does not look that great without anti-aliasing. When I get time I’ll get the CVS snapshot – maybe emacs23 – and compile it with Xft support – but I’m afraid of doing that since emacs is my editor for contest coding, and I don’t want to find bugs at critical times.

So what are the most obvious new features that I like: It has an optional GTK based interface – nice integration with gnome. Finally it has a window icon! Strange as it may seem, a window icon is critical during TopCoder contests, since Topcoder applet windows don’t have icons and it becomes difficult to distinguish between emacs and them. It has a greedy delete option in C++ mode… I’ve seen this somewhere – I think KDevelop. Greedy delete deletes indent characters with a single backspace stroke, its logical: enter key adds a newline and some 2-3 tabs for indenting, therefore backspace should delete all of them. Also, I can now make the cursor not blink, blinking cursor is an irritation especially when we close brackets.

My wishlist: I’m still wanting line numberling on the left (like KDevelop, Kate etc). Drop down autocompletion (KDevelop, Eclipse, and ahem… Visual Studio) its nice to know all valid member functions, a nice project browser (Speedbar is only very minimal) – infact making it a full fledged IDE like eclipse would be cool.


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