Why did emacs “stick” this time?

Note: This is a re-post of an earlier entry recovered from another blogging system.

After innumerable attempts and false starts, I am now using emacs on a regular basis. What is different about this latest effort?

It’s a bit of a puzzler, but after thinking about it a bit, here are a few things that might be different this time.

  1. Repeated Exposure. Maybe after all of the other attempts, I am finally “ready” to grasp emacs.;-)
  2. Lisp Cabinet. This time, I installed emacs using Lisp Cabinet and it “just worked”. There was not the usual configuration and setup hassle. And it supports several Lisps, Clojure, and Racket.
    The color scheme is nice. Indentation is automatic (in Lisp anyway). It is intended to work with Windows. It just seems easier to use.
  3. Land of Lisp. I started using emacs to work through the examples in Land of Lisp. The examples are long enough that they require actually learning some of the command keystrokes, but short enough that it doesn’t feel like a typing lesson.
    A few years ago I worked through Practical Common Lisp, but it didn’t stick. In fact, I referred back to the early part of PCL to recall some of the emac keystrokes I needed to enter the LoL stuff. I used (the no longer supported) Lisp-in-a-Box for a bit, but it didn’t stick. The Lispbox project has tried to take up the slack, but it didn’t work for me when I tried it and I went down the usual configuration rabbit hole without getting it to work as I wanted, then gave up. (Again.)

So, after years of starts and stops and unmeasurable amounts of frustration, I’m finally getting comfortable with emacs.