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Perhaps your confusion arises from not having used an actual terminal. Back when serious computers were the size of several upright refrigerators, a terminal communicated with a central computer over a serial cable using characters and characters only. The characters were part of some standardized character set, e.g. ASCII or EBCDIC, but typically ASCII. ...


You can indent the region, to do this for the whole buffer: mark whole buffer with C-x h (or M-x mark-whole-buffer) run indent region with C-M-\ (or M-x indent-region)


Terminals transmit characters (more precisely: bytes), not keys. When you press a key or a keychord like Ctrl+;, this information has to be encoded into a sequence of bytes. Keychords that represent a character, like A or Shift+A or À, are sent as that character: a, A, à (the last one being one or two bytes depending on the terminal's character encoding). ...

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