Shell vs Emacs as a computing environment - Printable Version
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Shell vs Emacs as a computing environment - NetherOrb - 19-12-2016

A question I posed on r/emacs

I was hoping for perspective from people here who use the shell as their environment over emacs.

In essence, why one over the other? Is it merely preference? Historical context of use? Reluctance to move to the other? One offering 'better' workflow experience than the other?

RE: Shell vs Emacs as a computing environment - z3bra - 20-12-2016

Being a non-emacs user, I prefer the shell. But even when I was still using vim, I prefered the shell over all the plugins vim offered (autocompilation, quickfix window, ...).

The main reason to this is that, whatever you could say, the shell is much more modular than a "plugin language", even elisp. It is made to run external programs, and glue them together. There are a lots of programs that can be used for development, and most (if not all) of them are written for shell usage. By exploiting them like this, you avoid the need to wrap it in some kind of plugin for your editor. Also, if that editor isn't available, you'll still be able to work.

RE: Shell vs Emacs as a computing environment - pranomostro - 20-12-2016

Also, emacs is another computing environment, and one has to be quite explicit about interacting with the rest of the computing environment (for example, there are emacs plugins for email, a web-browser, directory browser) and that embodies the spirit of emacs to integrate (which means reinvent) everything.

I used emacs a bit, and liked it, but I prefer the shell. I is unix, and emacs and unix come from two different computing cultures.

RE: Shell vs Emacs as a computing environment - NetherOrb - 20-12-2016

Right. I believe this is the main idea here; two ideas representing a culture. Marshall Mcluhan was quite right about these global electronic communities.

From using both over a span of a year I have to say that I enjoy both.

Within emacs I can set up an email retrieval, client, notifications, etc, etc with less than 40 lines of elisp. Unification is easy to achieve.

Yet the same can be true within a shell environment. More similarities than differences exist from what ive seen. Which the joke on emacs vs vim appears to be a strawman; its more of a case of shell vs emacs. Each are command processors yet go through slightly different means to use them.