[OS X Emacs] Aquamacs Meta key

7stud 7stud at excite.com
Sat Mar 11 20:48:39 EST 2017

-----Original Message-----
From: "Elliott Roper" [elliott at yrl.co.uk]
Date: 03/11/2017 01:13 PM
To: "Emacs on Mac OS X Mailing List" <macosx-emacs at email.esm.psu.edu>
Subject: Re: [OS X Emacs] Aquamacs Meta key

> On 11 Mar 2017, at 15:51, 7stud <7stud at excite.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> About every half hour when I'm using Aquamacs, I (mis)type a key sequence, and my Meta key, which is the default Option key, changes to "Option for composed characters", which can be seen in in the Auqamacs menu bar under:
> Options > Option, Command, Meta keys > Option for composed characters
> Thereafter, every time I hit a Meta key sequence, e.g. M-p, a mathematical symbol, e.g. pi, gets entered into the buffer--rather than the emacs key sequence doing the expected operation.  This is very irritating.  Is there a way to permanently set the Meta key to my Option key? I don't want anything I type ever to be able to change which key is the Meta key. 
> And, I would encourage the Aquamacs implementers to remove this "feature" forthwith.   Do you have any idea how frustrating it is when someone is trying to learn emacs, and the Meta key randomly changes, causing emacs key sequences not to work as described?? Do you think that beginners are going to be able to figure out why certain key sequences don't work, i.e. that their Meta key suddenly stopped being the Meta key? 

Well, speaking as a fellow beginner, it seems that 'meta key randomly changes' is a tiny bit harsh. You have to type C-; to toggle between meta and composed sequences and it says so in the submenu you quote from. As far as I can see (1) that's the only sequence that toggles it by default. Given that there are several thousand Emacs key sequences to learn, one more should not be a great burden. There are plenty of others that toggle similar properties, the most delightful of which is C-\ which toggles between your two favourite input modes. You get similar surprising behaviour after forgetting you have done so and are not yet in the habit of watching the minibuffer status line like a hawk.

Errr, speaking of the minibuffer - keep it watched as you toggle C-; It might lessen the pain. If ever there was truth in the saying "no pain, no gain" It is true of Emacs

Note 1. There is almost certainly a way to turn off C-; doing the toggle you detest by clawing your way through the Emacs manual.
(a few minutes later)
I'm nearly there, I think it involves rebinding the global keymap for C-; in your initialisation file for a permanent fix. Get started with C-h k C-; which will reward you with some help regarding rebinding the C-; key

It's the first time I have tried hacking elisp for my init file, so I may be gone some time (grin).

Elliott Roper

>You have to type C-; to toggle between meta and composed sequences and it says so in the submenu you quote from<

I'm pretty sure I never type C-;  but I guess it's possible.  I am using a language that uses semi-colons to terminate lines.  The last couple of times my Meta key stopped being a Meta key, I did notice  the message in the minibuffer saying "Option key is not Meta".  Thanks for the tips. 

I still believe  the default should be that the Meta key can never change by typing anything--if you want the Option key to serve multiple functions, you should have to add something to your Preferences.el.  I was pretty much ready to abandon Aquamacs because of my Meta key problem, but I got tenacious and I did a lot of searching--something I don't believe many people will put up with, and I finally found a blog post about some unrelated issue that showed a screen shot of the "Options> Options, Command, Meta key" menu.  A beginner should never be faced with such a huge problem with any software.

Alternatively, the very FIRST thing a beginner should read about Aquamacs is that the Meta key can randomly change, and show beginners how to get out of that quandary.  But, if your software has to start with a warning like that, then you probably shouldn't be writing software.  

I spent a week with Aquamacs, and I can't take it anymore; I'm going back to macvim.  I can no longer find the Shift key with my left pinky, so my typing has been thoroughly thrown out of whack.  The fact that copying a line in emacs requires the sequence:

C-a C-SPACE C-n M-w C-y

pretty much closed the deal for me. 


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