The Problems I have with Org Mode and Emacs


I love Org Mode. After years of resistence due to my reliance upon Vim, I discovered Spacemacs and my switch to Emacs-based editing was off and running.

Org Mode can do anything I’d ever need when it comes to writing, organizing, searching, and publishing documents of any kind. With its powerful Agenda it can manage my entire GTD process. Spacemacs makes using Emacs palatable for me, so everything should be hunky-dory. It is pretty great. But…

Emacs began to eat my world. It does email!? Cool, spend a weekend figuring out Mu4e and isync and a million other bits and I’ve got a darn fine email system. It does Git? Neat! I’ll just figure out Magit next weekend so I can have a powerful source code management tool, right in Emacs. TwitterIRC, and so on, forever.

The thing I realized was that I _already have_ software and systems for nearly everything that Emacs/Org Mode can do. What’s worse, with Org Mode, I’m _required_ to use Emacs. This should be fine, even desired, but after years of keeping nearly everything in Markdown files, I started to miss the flexibility of using whichever editor suited me at the moment.

For example, I’m writing this in Ulysses, which is a marvelous writing environment. For prose, Ulysses is way better than Org Mode. Even so, if I get bored, I’ll switch to BBEdit or Vim or Spacemacs to edit Markdown files.

So, as flexible as Emacs and Org Mode are, they remove the flexibility of using the tools I already know and love. I’ll keep Org Mode as part of the tool kit, but I may be done trying to use it (and Emacs) for everything.