Emacs 23 is a real improvement from the previous release (GTK+, xft, faster with DVCS, etc) and with a bit of tuning (it's still Emacs , it's again better:
- the rendering of anti-aliased fonts is strange in Emacs 23 but the Terminus font is really great IMHO:
(setq default-frame-alist '((font . "terminus")))
- the post Recipe: Bearable Emacs is a must-read and provides the wonderful Wombat theme.
- the on-the-fly syntax checker, flymake, is also really pleasant to use when you code in Python. I've copied the configuration from the Emacs Wiki and added this line to limit the use at Python
'(flymake-allowed-file-name-masks (quote nil))