From the author of jEdit:

Subject: Re: [ jEdit-users ] Q: Is there anyone who moved from Emacs to jEdit? Your reasons?

A long time ago, I used emacs (among others).

I found I could never get emacs configured the way I wanted to; M-x custom is useless, so one usually resorts to copying and pasting Lisp code from other people's .emacs files. Also it bothered me that only a tiny fraction of emacs commands could be accessed from the menu bar. Finally, all the useful features like wheel mouse support, syntax highlighting, saving the buffer list between sessions, etc. are disabled by default. Of course I could spend several years writing an ~/.emacs that would suit me, but why bother?

Now that jEdit is mature, I don't have to worry about all this, because I have an editor that (mostly) behaves exactly like I want.

Interesting to me on a few counts. First, we've got an obviously fairly good Java programmer (he wrote the vast majority of jEdit, after all) who wants his commands in menus. I like menus as a rule, but to have every VIm -- and presumably emacs (I've only used the former) -- cmd in a menu would be quite a smorgasbord. What this tells me is that the jEdit author prefers having the Windows-way of doing things as a fall-back at the very least, and is not sold-out to the the cmd line/pure keystroke method for his "ultimate editor".

To me, that's strange. Let's pretend for the moment that he doesn't use the mouse to get to the menus for daily operation (alt-f-s usually saves most anywhere, for example)... Just the fact that the menus need every command, as I've hinted above, suggests a limited number of functions. I think VIm gets to the point that even its comprehensive manual is, at times, useless b/c of it's bulk, but I'm sure the VIm cmds I use 90% of the time are different from the next user, which are then in turn different from the next guy. Unless we've got smart-menus that learn what to display at certain times, you've got a mess of menu items.

It also speaks towards why people write open-source software, which I was wondering about a while back. Seems this fellow just wanted a text editor done the way he thought best for his own personal preferences, and that he's, while doing so, matched his prefs with a number of others.

That's what I've done with my trialware app. I subscribe to a ton of email digests, and got tired of wasting three minutes a day wading through all the lists to find the posts I wanted to read. Poof. "The Digest Handler" is written. (Released? No. But written, sure. ;^D I use it almost daily.) The hope is that there are other similar people out there with the same need.

I do wonder why jEdit is open-source, however. What's the advantage over trialware smack? Is it b/c it's easier to find web hosting with unlimited downloads on Sourceforge (that alone has tempted me to open-source The Digest Handler)? B/c there are no expectations of support? B/c the author never expected jEdit'd bring in much money even if he did release it (though Ultra-Edit seems to suggest otherwise, at least with text editors)? I'm not sure, and might actually bug the author some day.