GNU Zile

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This article is about the software development framework. For the Turkish city, see Zile.
Developer(s) Reuben Thomas
Stable release 2.4.11 / February 26, 2014; 14 months ago (2014-02-26)[1]
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Text editor
License GNU General Public License

Zile is a free software, Lua-based toolkit for developing text editors. Zile stands for Zile Implements Lua Editors.[2]

Originally written in C by Sandro Sigala, it is now rewritten in Lua and maintained by Reuben Thomas.

Zile's goal was to behave like GNU Emacs using less resources. Zile still uses the same names as Emacs does for its functions and variables, but some of the internal data structures and API are evolving to suit a more general purpose.


Zile started out as a lightweight Emacs clone in April 2008.[3] It was written in C, then it got rewritten in Lua.[4] In 2014 it began evolving into a software development framework for developing text editors.[2]

The lightweight Emacs that was Zile is now Zemacs. In the tradition of recursive acronyms, Zile stood for Zile Is Lossy Emacs. Zemacs is distinguished by a RAM Memory footprint, of approximately 100kB. It is 8-bit clean, allowing it to be used on any sort of file that doesn't require Unicode support.[5]

Zemacs' keyboard shortcuts are similar to those of Emacs. It incorporates many standard Emacs features, including:

  • Multi buffer editing with multi level undo
  • Multi window
  • Killing, yanking and registers
  • Minibuffer completion
  • Auto fill (word wrap)

Zile produced a Vi clone, Zi.

A fork of Zile became Zee, a command line editor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Reuben (2014-02-26). "zile-2.4.11 released" (Mailing list). info-gnu. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  2. ^ a b Libre Planet
  3. ^ Savannah
  4. ^ Where Lua is Used
  5. ^ GNU Project: GNU Zile

External links[edit]