[Assist] Personal advice [was Re: General advice beyond Org]

edgar at openmail.cc edgar at openmail.cc
Sat May 19 20:49:40 BST 2018

I think that I have answered everything so far. THank you all. I still 
have to decide what to do about this, but now I have a wider perspective 
thanks to all of you!

On 2018-05-19 16:00, help-gnu-emacs-request at gnu.org wrote:
> Today's Topics:
>    2. Re: General advice beyond Org (Gene)
>    4. Re: General advice beyond Org (tomas at tuxteam.de)
>    5. Re: [O] General advice beyond Org (Marcin Borkowski)
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 16:27:12 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Gene <gene.sullivan at gmail.com>
> To: help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <c0d9b12d-3dd0-477c-8a55-1907864b0b86 at googlegroups.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> On Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 8:29:06 PM UTC-4, ed... at openmail.cc wrote:
>> Hello,
>> _I_ need help. I am in graduate school, and I keep having issues with 
>> my
>> advisor for my strong inclination to use free software.
> That you see it or characerize it this way might be part of your 
> problem.
> I've experienced similar problems when employed as a software and
> firmware engineer when The Pointy Haired Boss dictated which computer
> language to use.
> Or was that to submit source code in?
> This is no moot point ... for me THEN or YOU NOW.
> Your perviser proclivities

did you mean perverse? I am not familiar with perviser, I'm sorry.

> to use free software may be masked by
> whatever superficial formating of whatever file you provide to her as
> the fruits of your labor.
> It's none of her effin' busyness how many intermediate steps occurred
> between your initial efforts and what her superficial highness SEES as
> the end results of your scholarly ever so academic efforts ... is it?

I wished that was the case, but it is not. She has even said that she 
does not want me to use other software when we collaborate on a 
document. Her argument on this is that she does not want me to spend 
time on the conversion. I have tried to explain the advantages of doing 
it my way, unsuccessfully (otherwise we would not be having this 
delightful conversation).

> Open Office can read and write many Monopoly$oft Office formats.

Naturally, I prefer LibreOffice, but yes.

> So why not regard it as a laundering `compatibility' black box to
> which you can insert `content' generated by a wife variety of free
> software apps of your choosing?

I usually do. There are some little things which cannot be converted, 
obviously (that is their strategy, right?). I try to solve whatever else 
that my lack of abilities with Lisp, Emacs, Org and Pandoc prevent me 
from achieving.

> That you're using org-mode means you have access to the lisp engine at
> the heart of emacs and can thus offload the steps used to automate the
> generation of the superficial files you hand over to your `advisor' --

I really need to devote time to learn Lisp properly

> indentured servant MASTER --

I'm sure that she has a different way of looking at her self; that if 
she understood how far this stretches into her own freedom and the well 
being of society, she would possibly not be asking this from me. 
Freedom, however, is not a path that everyone is willing to transit.

> NOW ... as you're rehearsing the practice
> for re-use if/when you get out into the Real World where EVERY Pointer
> Haired Boss can demand this, and micro-manage that.

I lost track, sorry. Yes, the way I see this process they call school is 
to be prepared for the future, not only solving the little issues that 
suddenly appear (they ought to be there for that greater purpose).

> That you even mention the perverse proclivity to use free software
> puts you at risk for `special treatment'.

I definitely do not see it as perverse. Quite the contrary.

> Do you have any idea how many in positions of authority to constrain
> your freedom of choise OWN Monopoly$oft stock and have no qualms about
> misusing their positions of authority to specify proprietary products
> which benifit them as stock holders?!
> Don't EVEN go there!

Very good and strong point. I hadn't seen it from that perspective, 
actually. Thank you for showing me yet another reason to try to find a 
better solution to this matter. I think that I understand your point. I 
am just concerned about the practical matter of having a long-term 
manner for procuring goods (in the form of a salary, possibly).

> Just learn how to generate what they want to SEE and learn how to back
> progate changes you make to the bogus `official' documents as
> red-lined by THEM ... we know WHO they ARE.

I am definitely trying. I don't want to be in their way, and I would 
appreciate if they did the same.

> And indentured servant my any other name ...

If I understand correctly, what you are saying is that I act as a 
servant. Correct me if I am wrong. I would agree for the most part, but 
it's not what I prefer. It's hard when they have the power to seize my 
computer without trial or consent, and dictate what programs I use (but 
you are aware of this, I sense). I am not so skilled. I like science 
very much, and would be satisfied if I could practice it for a very long 
time. However--this may come as a surprise to you, but I am honest--I 
don't know how to independently make a living from it in combination 
with free software. I mean, I know programming languages that I have 
used to the extent that I needed them, some of which I learnt in school 
and never used again (Python, C, R, whatever little Lisp, 
microcontroller assembler, etc.); I know how to format and encrypt; put 
computers apart and rebuild them (for the most part; never ventured into 
flashing a device, e.g. for LibreBoot), but it's not like I am a Richard 
Stallman (with my highest respects to him), who was selling software at 
an early age. I hope you excuse my digression, it's just that I would 
also appreciate advice on that: not being a servant.

> Rookie!  Keep your perversions to yourself.
> Stop scaring the women and children needlessly.


> Ummn ... in your HEAD and computationally within your computer 
> equipment.

You mean our heads?

> Think about it.
> The more factors you have ANDed together the harder it is going to be
> to find the Goldly Locks `just right' solution you're looking for.

Thank you for that.

> What makes emacs so wonderful is not org-mode, it's the elisp which
> props org-mode up.

This may sound silly to you, but I had not grasped that so well until 

> One can load packages to facilitate the activities one exploits
> towards generating the eye wash The Boss needs to SEE to keep one's
> stipend flowing.
> One can cobble together a specialized configuration to facilitate the
> special blend of functionality one requires.

Again, I really need to devote time to this endeavour (of learning 

> Let's suppose you know enough Latin to get you by in academia
> U = No
> topia = place

Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, 
every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been 
labelled utopian.
		-- Emma Goldman

What is a utopia? A dream unrealized, but not unrealizable.
		-- Joseph Dejacque

It's not like I'm very avid to literature: these are just quotes that I 
get with the fortune program :D .

> Utopia == No Place
> Pinch yourself; you're dreaming.

It does seem like that. This whole thread is a way of a reality check 
for me.

> Otherwise?
> Funny stuff.
> Those with the `right stuff' to BE a good researcher naturally
> resonate with the ethos underpinning free software -- the empirical
> method can be used to tweak the source code on an as-needed basis as
> with any other lab equipment.

Keep in mind that there are many who are in research not really for the 
goal of increasing understanding or improving methods, as much as to 
make a living. How they achieve the latter is not so important. If they 
were offered a bigger salary somewhere else, they would possibly jump on 

> Right.  As I mentioned earlier, get used to this.
> Get used to translating from YOUR ipsative inner world -- extended by
> use of free software -- into something or other which results in your
> SELF either `voluntarily-prostrating or involuntarily being-prostrated
> onto THEIR Procrustean Beds.

To me, it goes beyond translation, but being able to collaborate 
effectively. I think that I am now at a point where I can do a fairly 
good job at "translating" without much pain (thanks to the tools that 
the free software community provides).

I also think that it is important to give them the chance to see the 
other side and informing people.

> Please think of free software a belonging on YOUR side of the fence.
> It's all weird and wonderful when we find those statistically deviant
> to share in our fetish.

You are funny too! :D .

> But you're heading for disappointment and frustration hoping or
> expecting IT to displace Pop Culture, Business Culture, Mainstream
> Culture.

I like to look at the broader spectrum of freedom, which may include all 
of these.

> You are FREE to think what you want and believe what you want.
> Though when you EXPRESS as per `freedom of speech/expression' others
> have the same freedoms of expression to PUSH BACK, respond
> accordingly, etc.
> Thus my suggestion to keep it to yourself and your statistically
> deviant friends.

I try, and also extend the helping hand when needed (informing is 
included), but avoid pushing it onto people.

> As long as you can send and receive files in the formats of THEIR
> WORLD they have no grounds for `special treatment'; however IF YOU
> seek `special treatment' in the form of THEM accommodating YOUR
> deviant practices it's YOU are throwing the rock through the
> metaphorical hornet's nest.

One problem is that they are not always compatible. In this situation, 
that is not the case (fortunately).

> I hope my two cents had at least 1 cent of value for you.
> Cheers!

They certainly are. Thank you very much!

> ------------------------------
> Message: 5
> Date: Sat, 19 May 2018 09:18:57 +0200
> From: Marcin Borkowski <mbork at mbork.pl>
> To: hymie! <hymie at lactose.homelinux.net>
> Cc: emacs-orgmode at gnu.org, help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: [O] General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <87tvr4i04e.fsf at mbork.pl>
> Content-Type: text/plain
> I, for that matter, do not use any proprietary software to do my taxes.

Oh, no! me neither!

On 2018-05-18 11:10, help-gnu-emacs-request at gnu.org wrote:
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> Today's Topics:
>    2. Re: General advice beyond Org (tomas at tuxteam.de)
>    3. Re: General advice beyond Org (tomas at tuxteam.de)
>    5. Re: General advice beyond Org (edgar at openmail.cc)
>    6. Re: General advice beyond Org (Yuri Khan)
>    7. Re: General advice beyond Org (S. Champailler)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 10:15:49 +0200
> From: <tomas at tuxteam.de>
> To: help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <20180518081549.GF4556 at tuxteam.de>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; x-action=pgp-signed
> Well, because in a way, it *is* political. As the stance to "keep
> out politics" at all costs is political too.
> I've been able to cope with that to some extent by using Org mode
> as a "hub" -- I can export as LaTeX for my viewing pleasure and as
> (LibreOffice) ODF, which can be converted into Word for other people's
> viewing pleasure.

Yep, that's the way I roll (Pandoc also helps).

> Now a way back from Word to Org would be bliss, but is more thorny...

I usually have a sense of guilt, because I know that if I invest enough 
time (years?) I would possibly be able to make something like that work 
(reading the thousands of specifications for DOCX, learning Lisp at a 
proficient level, etc.). Thus I am very, very grateful to those who 
produce the bulk of free software. Can you imagine what would be 
possible if a fraction (5% ~ 10%) of the money which is spent on 
proprietary software by governments, individuals, companies and 
education institutions would go to the development of free software? and 
the benefits it would bring!

> Now I just try to (help) lobby politicians to drop proprietary
> formats. We're 1 against 1000 (perhaps even worse if you count
> dollars instead of people), but we're getting better!

Hey! it worked with NATO, right? I think that it also pushed 
Monopoly$oft to disclose the DOCX format.

> This is a very important point, and one without which no change
> will be possible: Whenever I try to convince someone to change
> her tools I just imagine how I would react if someone tried to
> pry my beloved Emacs from my hands.

I don't try to convince people, I offer my help if they need, let the 
door open for them to ask and inform them as much as I can without 
pushing the topic.

> Cheers
> - -- tom?s

> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 10:20:55 +0200
> From: <tomas at tuxteam.de>
> To: help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <20180518082055.GG4556 at tuxteam.de>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; x-action=pgp-signed
> Hash: SHA1
> I don't know about the others, but I find this topic extremely
> interesting, since it touches many of us. In my concrete example,
> I was submerged in a corp for six years and ultimately moved on,
> just because of this issue.

Thank you.

> And your approach to the topic is even-headed and clear: I'm
> able to learn a lot from it, so thanks!

That is a very nice compliment! Thanks!

> Cheers
> - -- tom?s

> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 08:23:11 +0000
> From: akrl <akrl at sdf.org>
> To: help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: prevent hook vanishing
> Message-ID: <xjfo9hdnzio.fsf at sdf.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain
> Hi all,
> How do I prevent emacs from removing a hook I've installed using
> something like:
> (add-hook 'after-change-functions 'render-buf nil t) in case of an 
> error
> occur executing it?
> I would also be fine in being able to reinstall it somehow afterward.
> Bests
>    akrl
> --
> akrl at sdf.org
> SDF Public Access UNIX System - https://sdf.org

> ------------------------------
> Message: 6
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 17:54:45 +0700
> From: Yuri Khan <yurivkhan at gmail.com>
> To: edgar at openmail.cc
> Cc: Org-mode <emacs-orgmode at gnu.org>, help-gnu-emacs
> 	<help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org>
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAP_d_8VPt_Meyq_c3yGY8KFZAq2uy=zqOJNtEqzD=HtnKAGZXw at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> On Fri, May 18, 2018 at 7:29 AM <edgar at openmail.cc> wrote:
> Are you required to pay for licenses for proprietary software you are 
> asked
> to use? Chances are, your school is getting academic discounts, and you 
> get
> to use it for no charge.

Dear Yuri,

Freedom is more important than price to me.

> Your instructors and professors probably have a lot of experience with
> those tools. They are understandably reluctant to switch, because the 
> tools
> work well enough for them.

I agree.

> Also, as a student, you do not have sufficient influence to convert
> everybody at your school to free software.

I agree as well, but I believe that change will happen little by little 
(or quicker; have you noticed people leaving spybook?).

> The point of education is to get exposed to many tools, techniques and
> workflows. By limiting yourself to free software only, you will miss 
> out.

I don't think that I am missing out. Example: in a class, we were using 
SAS to do statistics. I did learn how to use it precisely for that 
point, but then I will not use it, because I do statistics with R. The 
teacher was kind enough to let me work without SAS.

> Be a scout in the proprietary camp. Learn the tools your instructors 
> are
> willing to teach. Learn what it takes to achieve the same results with 
> free
> software. Learn the difference in workflows and user experience.

I do. In this particular case, it's easy for me to know that typing 
software from Monopoly$oft is no longer competition to free software.

> You will find something you can do with free software that you don?t 
> know
> how to do with proprietary tools. Ask your teachers. They will either 
> point
> you at something you missed (and then you can study it); or they will 
> admit
> that feature is nice but their tool doesn?t have it (and then you have
> demonstrated the merits of free software); or they will say it?s not
> important.

In this case, it seems like an impasse to use free software when working 
on a document together. Not even LibreOffice is an option. I agree with 
the broader scope of the comment.

> You will also likely find more than a few points where non-free 
> software
> delivers better UX. Use that knowledge to improve free software so that 
> it
> can compete with proprietary software on UX terms, not only on the 
> issue of
> freedom.

That is certainly one of my goals.

Thank you very much for your comments.

> ------------------------------
> Message: 7
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 13:10:29 +0200 (CEST)
> From: "S. Champailler" <schampaillerspam at skynet.be>
> To: Org-mode <emacs-orgmode at gnu.org>, help-gnu-emacs
> 	<help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org>
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID:
> 	<388980089.343281.1526641829368 at webmail.appsuite.proximus.be>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> This is a super wise advice :
> Comparing stuff in scenarios you don't invent yourself is super
> enlightening. Once you don't define the scenario, all sorts of
> edge/unexpected situations arise.
> For example, if you work with math stuff, I'm sure you'll find
> interesting differences between computations results (e.g. matlab
> equations solving versus say Octave).
> stF

The example is good. If I may expand on it, it seems as if C is still 
faster (https://julialang.org/benchmarks/).

Furthermore, I believe that the development of society is fostered by 
keeping an open eye to good ideas, from wherever they may come (without 
hindering human and/or nature development).

> End of help-gnu-emacs Digest, Vol 186, Issue 26
> ***********************************************


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