Greta Goetz

EmacsConf2021: Emacs as design pattern learning

This updated post links to my talk at EmacsConf2021.

The implied “deterritorialization” of computing through terms like “the cloud” suggests the scale of the contextual change to computing, once limited to “local drives”. It further confirms the need to establish an explicit and extensible systems-/design-theory approach in both teaching and learning to help us articulate our local place within these networks.

My talk emphasizes the importance of Emacs’ free core, which has technical, philosophical, and pedagogical significance can can be seen to value shared power and authority as well as care for human work and relations.

French philosopher Bernard Stiegler warns that that we don’t make it our job to produce digital therapy through non-toxic social and artificial tools and organization. In 2021, we still have a choice of what software we use. Even non-techies can still do the work to practice general, personal computing, for example. But we may look back on this age one day and be shocked by how much freedom we had – and went on to squander.

Emacs at once teaches us design pattern learning and models it, and stands as a tool for further free design pattern learning extensibility. This point is not new. For example, it was covered again this week in irreal’s post on Why Emacs.

Disclaimer about the talk: it should be noted that I am learning to code in public, defended as a practice here.

My conference video was created through hacking through what turned out to be bug #1231 in Kdenlive, and I am only a consciously incompetent programmer. The experience only confirmed the view of my talk: It was an incredibly valuable learning experience to participate at EmacsConf2021: sending warm thanks to all of the conference organizers!

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