2023-06 Austin Emacs Meetup

There was another meeting a couple of weeks ago of EmacsATX, the Austin Emacs Meetup group. For this month we had no predetermined topic. However, as always, there was mention of new modes, packages, technologies and websites that I had never heard of, and some of this may be of interest to you as well.

One thing before we go forward: My schedule has changed slightly. There is an event I have started attending that occurs every Wednesday. I can still attend the EmacsATX calls, but I will only be able to stay for one hour. So future write-ups might not contain information for the whole meeting.

#1 was one of the organizers; he used to live in Austin and now lives in East Texas. He was only on for a few minutes.
#2 was the other host.
#3 was the Esteemed Gentleman From Oklahoma.
#4 was a developer in South America. Now all we need is someone from Africa, and we will have had attendees from all populated continents.
#5 was a developer in Seattle.
#6 was our developer in Australia.

Here is a list of the modes and packages that were mentioned (I will not list the big ones here, like Org, Doom, Spacemacs):

Non-Emacs Topics:

  • Linux in general
  • Pop!_OS in particular
  • The hard truth about running a user group
  • Cyprus Preppers

At first it was just myself, #2 and #3. I mentioned that I had not done a whole lot with Emacs in the past month. The hard drive on my laptop died. I spent some of my time backing up the data (there were signs it was not long for this world before the end) and I got a new laptop from System76 (post here, shameless unpaid placement here). I think it is important to support Linux vendors, and I am tired of installing operating systems. The only thing I ever learned from it is that I hate doing it and I get nothing out of it.

The version of Pop!_OS that is on both of my systems is based on an LTS version of Unbuntu, and the version of Emacs on them is 27.1. I will not get the latest and greatest for a while, but I am okay with that. The OS has an alert when there are updates to any packages, and I just install them when they come up. I am trying to not be one of those people who spends more time configuring Emacs than getting things done with it.

#4 introduced himself. He is in a developer in Colombia. He started getting into Emacs recently, and is interested in Org mode.

#3 said he is in Org all day; he keeps notes on meetings and everything else in Org. This is the way. [Reader repeats: “This is the way.”] He keeps longer notes in Denote (Github repo here, manual here) a mode by Protesilaos Stavrou, aka “Prot”. I have a link to his Emacs Youtube playlist on my Emacs page. I have heard of him, and I know a lot of people respect him, but I have not watched any of his videos yet; it is another item on my ever-growing TODO list. #3 said that one of Prot’s projects was to build a hut to live in somewhere in rural Cyprus. Perhaps he was building it out of parentheses. Perhaps Emacs 30 will have a M-x build-hut function. The admin for the Emacs Mastodon server had a coaching session with him recently.

#5 had recently came back from Europe, and had been working on a presentation about Org-Reveal. He gave us a preview. The plan is that he will finish it and present next month, so I will not say too much about his presentation now.

#2 asked if anyone wanted to do a presentation on tree-sitter, and this led to discussion of a lot of stuff that only works on Emacs 29, like tree-sitter-langs and combobulate, and an article about it all at Mastering Emacs. #3 said from user perspective there is not a lot to tree sitter. Someone mentioned dumb-jump, another navigation package; it helps you find the definition of a function. There is also a package called smart-jump. I have not tried either, and I do not know how they are different.

You’re welcome.

I give people numbers since I do not know if they want their names in this write-up. Think of it as the stoner’s version of the Chatham House Rule. I figured that numbers are a little clearer than “someone said this, and someone else said that, and a third person said something else”. Plus it gives participants some deniability. People’s numbers are based on the order they are listed on the call screen, and the same person may be referred to by different numbers in different months.

I am not the official spokesperson for the group. I just got into the habit of summarizing the meetings every month, and adding my own opinions about things. The participants may remember things differently, and may disagree with opinions expressed in this post. Nothing should be construed as views held by anyone’s employers past, present or future. That said, if you like something in this post, I will take credit; if you don’t, blame somebody else.

Image from an 11th century manuscript housed in the Bavarian State Library (Wikipedia page here); manuscript here, information here, citation link here, image assumed allowed under public domain.