New Emacs hint [or replacement for the old one]

Andy Andreas.Klauer at
Tue Aug 7 09:43:48 PDT 2001


the emacs-editor.txt Hint was not very useful to me -
so I wrote a new one.

It's called emacs.txt and I attached it to this mail.

Andreas Klauer
-------------- next part --------------
TITLE:		GNU Emacs 2
AUTHOR:		Andreas Klauer <andykl at>

	Downloading and Installing GNU Emacs 2


I.   What it is

All information you need can be found at the GNU Emacs page:

There is also a FAQ available:

Here is a quote:
Emacs is the extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display
editor. If this seems to be a bit of a mouthful, an easier explanation is Emacs
is a text editor and more. At its core is an interpreter for Emacs Lisp
(``elisp'', for short), a dialect of the Lisp programming language with
extensions to support text editing.

Some of the features of GNU Emacs include:
 o Content sensitive major modes for a wide variety of file types, from plain
   text to source code to HTML files.
 o Complete online documentation, including a tutorial for new users.
 o Highly extensible through the Emacs Lisp language.
 o Support for many languages and their scripts, including all the European
   ``Latin'' scripts, Russian, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai,
   Vietnamese, Lao, Ethiopian, and some Indian scripts. (Sorry, Mayan
   hieroglyphs are not supported.)
 o A large number of extensions which add other functionality. The GNU Emacs
   distribution includes many extensions; many others are available
   separately -- even a web browser.

Please note that this hint doesn't cover the extensions, just because there are
far too many of them - Emacs is an operating system that comes with an editor
included ;o)

If you want any extensions, visit the GNU Emacs page.

II.  Where to get & What to get

You can get all these files on or on one of its mirrors
(visit for a complete mirror list)

Required: emacs-20.7.tar.gz (around 15 Megabytes)

Note: If there is a newer version available, take the newer version -
      if this hint does no longer work with a newer version, please send me
      an E-Mail, so that I can update it: andykl at

Description: This package contains the Emacs editor ;o)
             It comes with a very good README and INSTALL - File, which should
             make this hint unneccessary; but the old emacs hint wasn't good
             enough to help a newbie out.

Optional: leim-20.7.tar.gz (around 3.3 Megabytes)              [requires X11]

Note: The package should have the same version number as the emacs package.

Description: LEIM stands for Libraries of Emacs Input Methods.
             This package supports Chinese & Japanese and other input methods.
             You should read the INSTALL file that comes with the emacs package
             and the README that is included in this package if you are
             interested in it.

Optional: intlfonts-1.2.tar.gz (around 25 Megabytes)           [requires X11]

Note: This package can be installed after the installation of Emacs.

Description: It contains a whole bunch of X11 fonts - Chinese, Japanese, but
             also European (Greek etc.) and other fonts.
             Get it if you plan to use Emacs in X11 and want support for those
             languages. Otherwise, Emacs will print hollow boxes if there is
             a font missing.

III. How to install it

I unpacked my sources in /usr/src and was root all the time during the
installation. You can put the sources somewhere else and don't need to be root
when installing, just as you like.
But please don't forget: When I'm talking of /usr/src, I mean the directory
                         where your sources are located.
                         If you encounter weird problems without being root,
                         switching to root may help - I don't know exactly
                         where root privileges are required and where not.

1. Unpack the emacs tarball:

   > cd /usr/src
   > tar xvfz /usr/src/emacs-20.7.tar.gz

   This will create a directory /usr/src/emacs-20.7/ and put the emacs sources
   in it.

   You probably should read /usr/src/emacs-20.7/README and
   /usr/src/emacs-20.7/INSTALL now.

2. If you decided to download LEIM, unpack it:

   > cd /usr/src
   > tar xvfz /usr/src/leim-20.7.tar.gz

   The LEIM package will create a directory /usr/src/emacs-20.7/leim.
   It will be automatically included in the Emacs installation.

3. Run the Emacs configure script

   > cd /usr/src/emacs-20.7

   Please read the configure help first:
   > ./configure --help

   This gives you a list of all possible options.
   Please choose the options that fit your needs.

   [ Optimization note:
       If you want gcc to be run with any optimization flags,
       you should run
       > export CFLAGS='-yourflags'
       I used: (may not work on your system)
       > export CFLAGS='-O2 -march=i686'

   I used the following command (may not work on your system):
   > ./configure i686-unknown-linux-gnu --prefix=/usr --with-gcc --with-x

   This will install Emacs in /usr/* and not in /usr/local/* and also use GCC
   and enable the Emacs X11 interface.

   I also specified my host type: i686-unknown-linux-gnu
   Information on available host types can be found in:

   If unsure, just use the following:
   > ./configure --prefix=/usr

   Emacs will then be installed in your /usr directory.

[3b. This part is hard for newbies :o( ]

   The installation instructions that come with the emacs package now recommend
   to look at /usr/src/emacs-20.7/lisp/paths.el.

   The file contains paths to various external programs (sendmail p.e.).
   If those are not correct and you want emacs to be able to use them, you
   should modify the file site-init.el (not the paths.el file).

   For further information read /usr/src/emacs-20.7/INSTALL

   In most cases (especially on your LFS system), the paths in paths.el should
   be correct - it looks for the binaries in the /usr/bin and /usr/local/bin
   directories and checks all 'usual' locations.

   It is quite safe not to look at paths.el, unless you've installed programs
   like sendmail in unusual locations.

[ Note: There are a few more steps you could do if you want, such as adding
        special termcap entries and so on.
        I didn't need any of those, so I just say that the normal user won't
        need them; but you may take a look at the INSTALL file if interested ]

4. Compile Emacs

   Now this should be quite easy:

   > cd /usr/src/emacs-20.7
   > make

   If the configure - script ran without errors, the make shouldn't produce any,

   If make exits with an error message, it may be due to some optimization flags
   that you may have added in Part 3. Then try to remove them and run configure
   and make again.

   If that doesn't solve the problem, send it to the lfs-apps mailing list to
   get help.

   The compilation took 10 Minutes on my PII-233.

5. Install Emacs

   Just run:

   > make install

   This installs Emacs in the directories you specified in the configure call
   (Default: /usr/local/..., with --prefix=/usr in /usr/... and so on)

   prefix/bin now contains:

     emacs, etags, ctags, b2m, emacs-client, rcs-checkin
     (Sorry, I'm too lazy to describe them, go to, there's the
      manual, FAQ, just everything)

   prefix/share/emacs/VERSION/ contains the emacs lisp library and other emacs

   There also should be manpages installed - read the INSTALL file for further

   If 'make install' was successful, you can delete the sources if you want to:
   > rm -R /usr/src/emacs-20.7

For the people who decided not to install the intlfonts:

  Congratulations, you've done it!
  If this hint helped you out, I'd be glad if you'd send a short note to
  andykl at, so that I know that this work had some use ;o)

For all others:

6. Install intlfonts

   You'll have to unpack the intlfonts package first.

   > cd /usr/src
   > tar xvfz intlfonts-1.2.tar.gz

   This will create the /usr/src/intlfonts-1.2/ directory.
   Go into this directory and run the configure script:
   [If you used a --prefix= parameter when installing emacs,
    you probably should use the same prefix option here!]

   Note: You may also want to take a look on ./configure --help first;
         Type1/TTF Fonts are not installed by default - if your X
         supports those, you may want to install them, too.

   > cd /usr/src/intlfonts-1.2
   > ./configure

   The fonts will be installed in the prefix directory you specified
   (Default: /usr/local): /prefix/share/emacs/fonts.

   To do this, you need to run:

   > make install

   Now, the X server needs to know about the new fonts.

   This is done by adding /prefix/share/emacs/fonts to the known font paths.

   I did it by adding FontPath "/usr/share/emacs/fonts/" to my XF86Config file.
   But this depends on how you configured your X. You may want to add
   xset +fp /usr/share/emacs/fonts/ in some .xinitrc Files instead.


Congratulations, you now have a running emacs.

Manuals, FAQs, How-to-Configure and similar stuff can be found at:

I hope this hint helped you a little :)

Andreas Klauer
Also known as:  menaures at
E-Mail: andykl at

If you manage to get the Emacs Webbrowser running and you speak german,
visit ;o)

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