The end of an era?


Yesterday I noticed it has been a while since I wrote something here. I can easily blame the lack of time and concentration, point the finger at my cinema obsession, or even rant against Plato and Hegel for the energy-draining efforts they require from me. Or I can simply be honest and say the truth out loud: my journey with Emacs has come to a halt. Before calling me names and put the GNU police on my back, hear me out.

After years on a constant tinkering diet, my configuration has reached a point where everything I need from it is covered. The key word in the previous statement is everything. What is this everything I use Emacs for? Well, contrary to the popular Emacs-centric workflows of many fellow Elisp lovers, everything is just prose (Markdown, LaTeX) and Clojure programming with some Elisp on the side. What happens outside of my beloved text editor is up to Firefox, Thunderbird, GNOME Terminal on some occasions, Slack for work and Gajim for personal use, and KeePassXC. 99% of the times this is what my computing is about these days.

Although Emacs can be used for some of the things the afore-mentioned external programs do, I am fine with this setup for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I like to keep my configuration as simple as possible. It used to sport over 200 packages, but refinement after refinement has taken me to half that number. It’s even a smaller total if I don’t count the package dependencies for which there is no use-package snippet in my init.el. I am still far from minimalism but maintenance is much easier now, because I know what I want from Emacs and I want it to do just that.

Secondly, but maybe more importantly, I don’t want any kind of distraction in my text editor. This may be just me, but most of the times the Web, reading emails, and messaging interfere with my concentration without adding real value. Emacs is my peace of mind. I turn to it just for writing, knowing well it is not ready to fetch emails or chatting with my wife or a co-worker because that’s how it is set up. There is no technological secret here. It’s all about the psychological pleasure of a maximized Emacs window with little more than my precious text in it.

This line of reasoning has led me to an Emacs configuration that does not require that much fiddling with any more. I have to admit that not seeing buffers from my .emacs.d always presented by helm-mini feels a bit strange. At the same time, though, I am sure they will pop up again as soon as the next irresistible package will reach ELPA or MELPA. Until then, Elisp can go on a well-deserved holiday and have a couple of drinks on me.