2010-08-13

emacs on Windowns: Alt or Win for Meta?

Uday S Reddy writes:

> Hi guys, I am not sure where this discussion is headed. Whether these
> applications of the windows key are "useful" or not is for the users
> to determine, is it not?

Chong Yidong wrote:
> The problem is that Lennart's proposed solution seems to be the wrong
> one. If you want to rebind the Windows key to a modifier key, the
> conceptually correct way to do it should be via a separate program,
> separate from Emacs. That is exactly how it is done on GNU/Linux (where
> conventions like Alt-TAB are commonly respected, nowadays).
>
> If there is any technical reason why this cannot be done on Windows, I
> have not yet seen anyone argue it.

Emacs on Mac all allow either Cmd or Opt to be Meta though.

doesn't matter which choice, they step on the OS's function. Cmd is Mac's primary modifier (e.g. copy is Cmd+c, open is Cmd+o), and Opt is for inserting special chars (e.g. like AltGr).

same can be said on Windows. Both Alt and Win key have OS purposes.

doesn't matter which key emacs uses a meta by default on either Mac or Windows, they intrude the OS keys. Doesn't make sense to me to say setting Win key as Meta is not stepping on OS operation while setting it to Win is.

(personally i prefer Alt as Meta on Windows and i don't agree with Lennart or Uday that Alt is more critical than Win in Windows. I think they are both rather important, and i use both heavily on Windows outside of emacs. Win key in general is for system-wide operation, and Microsoft in last few years has more and more emphazied that key's importance thru Windows Vista and now Windows 7. Alt is importance because it provides a system wide method to access any app's menu by pressing key sequences. Quite efficient and is commonly used by power users (e.g. programers).)

Overall, i don't think there's any conclusive argument whether by default Alt or Win should be Meta, but providing this choice to user i think is critical for emacs.

Xah

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