emacs -nw keypad, tpu-edt.el, and C-h

Ken Brown kbrown@cornell.edu
Thu May 28 23:04:00 GMT 2009

On 5/28/2009 1:10 PM, Andy Koppe wrote:
> Could the default for the terminals be changed? Yes, easily, but only
> at the cost of breaking any applications that always expect ^H for
> Backspace.

Sorry, I guess I haven't been expressing myself very well.  I wasn't 
suggesting any particular course of action, and I certainly don't want 
to break other applications.  I'm simply describing the symptoms and 
asking what can be done to make emacs work as well as possible for 
cygwin users.  I'm thinking of users who are experienced with emacs on 
other platforms and are startled when C-h doesn't work as they expected, 
as well as new emacs users who see a splash screen telling them to type 
C-h for help and then find that it doesn't work.

Let me start over and try to be more clear.

I almost always use emacs under X, where, by default, C-h is the help 
key (as advertised on the emacs splash screen) and the Backspace key 
behaves the way one would expect.  If you start emacs under X and type 
'C-h k <backspace>' (which is asking emacs to tell you what the 
backspace key does), you get the following response:

	DEL (translated from <backspace>) runs the command...

So emacs knows you've hit the backspace key and knows how it should be 
interpreted, whereas C-h (pressing h while holding down control) is 
treated as the help key.

In the course of trying to debug Tim's problem that started this thread, 
I had occasion to use emacs in various text terminals, and I was 
surprised to find that, by default, emacs behaves differently in that 
setting.  (One has to use F1 for help instead of C-h, and there's no 
distinction between C-h and <backspace>.)

This difference does *not* occur in the one linux system that I have 
access to (which happens to be Redhat linux).  If I log into the console 
on that machine and start emacs (with no window system running), C-h is 
help and <backspace> is DEL.

It would be nice if we could get emacs on cygwin to work the same way it 
does on other platforms.  If it can't be done without breaking other 
things, so be it.  In that case, as I said before, I'll try to change 
the splash screen to say that F1 is the help key (when emacs is started 
in a context where C-h doesn't function as the help key).  It might 
actually be an emacs bug that this doesn't happen automatically; I've 
asked about this on the emacs-devel list 


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