12.03.20

Nobody Needs to Write a Text Editor (or Use Geany)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux at 3:03 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

Executive

Summary: “If free software really benefits from education, then telling people not to learn more about creating software by working on a simple text editor project makes no sense at all.”

No need to bullshit: Geany is a nice text editor. If you’re happy with gtk (I’m not) and you want a tabbed editor, Geany is probably about as nice as it gets. I know developers who love it, who tell me about its cool features. I also know artists who love Geany.

Pity then, that Geany is developed on GitHub. Though I didn’t want a tabbed editor — when I was still using Windows 16 years ago, and looking for a replacement for Notepad, I didn’t want Notepad++. I wanted a simple Notepad replacement. I like my editors small, stable, one process and one window per file.

“I generally only use heavier software when it’s justified or there is no alternative.”This means my window manager is in charge of which file I’m working on, not my editor. It means each process I have open doesn’t load a larger program than is needed. I use dwm, you know? I use a variety of older, sometimes newer hardware — I like the stuff I use to accommodate that and to be lightweight. I generally only use heavier software when it’s justified or there is no alternative.

When I used Leafpad (alas, GitHub) my favourite feature was that I could pipe text to it from the command line. Most editors won’t let you do this, though the one I use now does. Plus I don’t want to depend on gtk, Qt or KDE if I can help it. For me, this puts Geany out of the race — though the real message here is there are lots of text editors, right? Nobody needs to write a new one. There’s a text editor for everybody already. Just stop writing them!

It’s funny how people talk about Free Software, but when you want to write something for your very own purposes under a free license, people act like you should either choose an existing editor (or whatever sort of tool we are talking about) or work on someone else’s project that may never go in a direction that suits you. That’s freedom, is it?

“I would say that it comes from Open Source, because that’s a bait-and-switch scam that treats all free software programs more like a corporate product than community-based project.”“The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.” — from the Free Software Definition

“…change it so it does your computing as you wish”. But if it’s easier or simpler to write it yourself so it does as you wish, don’t — because that won’t help any EXISTING projects, right?

In a world where software is a product, I would get this attitude. I would say that it comes from Open Source, because that’s a bait-and-switch scam that treats all free software programs more like a corporate product than community-based project.

I would blame Open Source for this attitude, except I’ve seen it from the GNU Project itself (even from Stallman). Yes, I love blaming Open Source for things when it fits — and it often does — but not when I know better. Not when I’ve read Stallman on the GNU mailing lists saying similar things (albeit a very long time ago).

If computing is really about our freedom, then telling people not to make another text editor makes no sense at all. If free software really benefits from education, then telling people not to learn more about creating software by working on a simple text editor project makes no sense at all.

“If free software really benefits from education, then telling people not to learn more about creating software by working on a simple text editor project makes no sense at all.”Sure, there are projects you could be helping, though creating a text editor really doesn’t hurt them unless you’re contributing your new software to some hostile cause, like Open Source or Microsoft GitHub.

Besides, if the GNU Project is going to do self destructive things like have an (ongoing!) coup around Codes of Censorship, or introduce Microsoft HarfBuzz into Emacs as it did very recently, then you are only helping by creating projects that avoid such problems.

ExecutiveYou may want an editor for example, that uses Tk instead of gtk or Qt — no HarfBuzz! Of course some jerk will probably make Tk require HarfBuzz in the future, just like the jerk who added it to Emacs, which is why sooner or later we will probably need a new GNU-like Project — one that actually respects your freedom, instead of selling it out to Microsoft and people like the GNOME Guix traitors.  (Since the GNOME leadership and Guix leaders have worked together to take over GNU for corporations, we might as well call it GNOME Guix as it’s the same evil force).

“…if the GNU Project is going to do self destructive things like have an (ongoing!) coup around Codes of Censorship, or introduce Microsoft HarfBuzz into Emacs as it did very recently, then you are only helping by creating projects that avoid such problems.”This isn’t really about Geany and it isn’t really about text editors — but they are perfectly good examples — real examples that demonstrate the issue being talked about.

This is about freedom, and what it really means. Yes, of course you should be free to change the software. But when did that start being interpreted as don’t bother writing your own when you want to? I know from the dated resources I’ve looked at, it started a long time ago. I really can’t imagine why.

Long live rms, and Happy Hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

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A Single Comment

  1. Canta said,

    December 3, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Oh, for the love of…
    Not Geany man! It’s a fantastic editor! It worked marvelously on my pentium 3 about 14 years ago, and it’s still my editor of choice over anything else that came after. I use it for everything!

    And why the hell does that guy on the picture have so many Beowulf stuff!? Am I missing a meme here?

    Whatever, this “it touches github” thing is getting out of hand fast.

    And about the issue of not doing your own, the very “NIH syndrome” is part of that. Is a mix of stuff, context related. I don’t believe it means “screw your liberty”, but it’s about that thing of reinventing the wheel.
    I like to reinvent the wheel, thank you. What I don’t like is HAVING SOME DUDE ON INTERNET TELLING ME NOT TO USE GEANY. SERIOUSLY DUDE… IT’S F$%&·$ING GEANY.

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