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June 3, 2004Featured article candidatePromoted
November 12, 2006Featured article reviewDemoted
Current status: Former featured article

Emacs vs. GNU Emacs[edit]

This article is supposed to be about Emacs, the *class* of editors, but significant sections start to assume that it's about specifically *GNU* Emacs. Such sections should be moved to specifically GNU Emacs article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 4 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I second this. As things stand now, the infobox at the beginning of the article implies that GNU Emacs - the project linked to in the infobox - was first released in 1976, which is incorrect (as per the body of the article, which states that "Stallman began work on GNU Emacs in 1984 ... [and] the first public release, was made on March 20, 1985." I suggest that the infobox be removed from the article altogether. Thoughtactivist (talk) 10:36, 16 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's fully annoying. The article also seems to indicate that Emacs is a single program. Emacs has over 2,000 built-in commands? Which Emacs? Emacs Lisp? Not all Emacs editors use Emacs Lisp. GNU Emacs and XEmacs use Emacs Lisp and are for the most part compatible with each other? What does 'most part' mean? Emacs and vi are among the oldest application programs still in use? Is Emacs a program or a family of editors. Given that Gnu Emacs was written in the mid 80s, it's definitely not among the oldest programs still in use. For example Macsyma development started in 1968 and bits of that code are still in Maxima (whose latest release is from November 2015). Which would make Maxima a full 16 years older than GNU Emacs. Joswig (talk) 22:50, 14 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In the list of forks and clones, it mentions that MicroEMACS is the editor that is used by Linus Trovalds. Is that bit of information really needed or useful in this context? It seems like a bit of random piece of fanboism that, although might be useful in the editor's own article, is just superflourious here. IMO I think that the sentence should be removed Zen Clark (talk) 23:50, 7 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removed the ”Torvalds” part.

Link to downloads[edit]

A good link to a list of binaries would be appreciated (especially for Windows as emacs is installed in Unix/Linux anyhow) --Hirzel

I have added a link to the GNU Emacs FAQ For Windows, which has instructions for getting the Windows binaries. I think it is inadvisable to link directly to the binaries, or even FTP directories, as those are subject to change. ---CYD
Thank you! --Hirzel

Wikipedia emacs mode needed...[edit]

What we need is a Wikipedia Emacs mode, that allows pages to be viewed and edited with the greatest of ease...

Wikipedia mode for Emacs. --Fredrik (talk) 18:38, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Emacs First Aid or Using Emacs[edit]

This section should not expand into a howto. I would be willing to go there but for that it does not feel encyclopedic. I suggest the bare minimum be included. I see nothing wrong with titleing the section "Using Emacs", and having it be a minimal introduction, but my preference would be to have the table titled "Emacs First Aid" and have it contain the 'get out of trouble' commands. To that end I'd include only the original 3 appearing in the table save-buffers-kill-emacs, undo, and abort. Seems to me that expanding the table beyond this to include file-find, save-some-buffers, kill-buffer means that C-x 1 delete-other-windows, C-x o other-window, C-x b switch-to-buffer, C-x C-b list-buffers must also be included.

So, should the table be "First Aid" or a repertoire of basic commands?

The trouble with emacs is that occasionally you wander into some part of the program you're not familiar with and 'get stuck'. This is why it's useful to include some "First Aid" in the Wikipediea, the goal is a useful article. Delete-other-windows, other-window, switch-to-buffer,and list-buffers are very handy to get out of trouble as you can fairly easily accidentally get into 'buffer land' before you know what to do there. I'd include these in a 'First Aid' table, but the question is where to stop. My initial critera, leading to the list: save & exit, undo, and abort, was to consider what situation could not be recovered with just "save & exit".

Perhaps a link to a short list of emacs commands should be included in the external references. Googling for "emacs cheat sheet" comes up with some useful ones. (My vote for least appreciated command goes to C-x q.)

I think that a link to external non-encyclopedic information should be used rather than including it in the encyclopedia.

Additionally, I found two errors: an omission of a word in the Internals section (apparently the author felt that no verb fit the purpose, and thus decided against using one); and the fact that Emacs considers multiple buffers in the same frame to be windows. The term frame was used incorrectly in that regard. A text-mode Emacs has exactly one frame, while a graphical-mode Emacs has one or more frames, which are displayed as separate windows on the user's system; Emacs 'windows' are separate buffers visible simultaneously within one frame.

Actually, text-mode Emacs does support multiple frames, at least as Emacs understands them. All frame-related commands will work. Of course, only one frame is visible at a time. In practice, it is similar to having a set of easily recallable window configurations.
That sounds like a project for WikiBooks! --Maru (talk) Contribs 18:43, 4 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Emacs is self-documenting. It contains its own help system[edit]

'Self documenting'? Surely not? Containing its own help system surely doesn't mean that it 'self documents'? --The Recycling Troll 02:31, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

"Self documenting" has been part of the Emacs description for, approximately, ever, including back when build-in documentation was the rare exception. If you feel the phrase is wrong, you need to come up with better arguments than "surely". --Per Abrahamsen 06:47, 2004 Oct 5 (UTC)
His comment is based on the fact that emacs is not self documenting in the sense that emacs itself does not write its own documentation, but rather the people that maintain it. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 08:23, 2004 Oct 5 (UTC)
Indeed. The meaning of 'self-documenting' has changed; most applications have help files now. (The help files for vim are now larger than the application ...) --David Gerard 15:21, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I was not aware of this new meaning. Is Javadoc code considered self-documenting? Or "literate programming" in general? Apart from a large "help file", Emacs is also "self-documenting" in the sense that each function and variable has an easily available documentation string which is part of the code, rather than in a seperate file. Emacs will even show some documentations for a function that lack such a string, like the fact that it exists, where it is defined, and what arguments it takes. --Per Abrahamsen 16:14, 2004 Oct 6 (UTC)
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the phrase 'self-documenting' may have meant something specific, i.e. an application which includes the helpdocs inside itself, at least on platforms where Emacsen were prevalent (PDP/Multics/LispM/UNIX/etc). However, starting in the 1980s with DOS, programs that included the helpdocs inside themselves were dubbed as having 'online help'. Both types of terminology are easily mis-interpreted nowadays, by folks that have never heard the phrased used in the old-school fashion. Nowadays, when the phrase 'self-documenting' is taken literally, it would mean a program that wrote its own documentation, i.e. Strong AI; Emacs is not quite *that* powerful yet. Nowadays, when the phrase 'online help' is taken literally, it would mean a program which does not include *any* documentation internally, but merely links to helpdocs which are hosted on the internet; this is the opposite of the 1980s meaning for DOS and Win3x programs such as Microsoft Word (but paradoxically the helpdocs in modern versions of Microsoft Word *are* served via the internet!). Suggest the article on Emacs should be modified to explain the meaning of the traditional slogan (including the self-documenting part) to modern ears, which would prolly mean something like "Emacs is the self-documenting ... editor (where in the 1980s the phrase 'self-documenting' was understood to mean that helpdocs were built into the program itself -- as opposed to only available from printed-on-paper guides/manuals/etc)." (talk) 17:01, 19 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Church of Emacs[edit]

This article should make at least a passing reference to the Church of EMACS and the Editor war. Or has the see also category at the bottom of articles dissapeared? --metta, The Sunborn 13:00, 5 Oct

Editor wars is linked in the intro. Church of EMACS is a redirect to Editor wars. --David Gerard 15:21, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess. I would prefer it if there was an actual mention that there was parody religion based on the editor. However, it is perfectly fine as is. --metta, The Sunborn 22:59, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Emacs and hypertext[edit]

Could anyone tell when and by whom Emacs began to do with hypertext? --KYPark 16:19, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Emacs uses the tops-20 hypertext system, so I suspect it was in that period it was added. --Per Abrahamsen 07:28, 2 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The original EMACS had "INFO" mode, which was a simple hypertext mode. Documents were tree-structured but you also had inter-document and external-document hyperlinks. You could invoke it (as a separate program) as "INFO", but I think that just ran Emacs and jumped into INFO mode. On ITS there was a central directory of toplevel INFO files that would be opened by default. It was mainly used for system *and application) documentation. People did not author much other content that I ever saw. (It would have been possible for them to do so, but the user community just didn't do that, culturally.)
I don't know what the TOPS-20 hypertext system" was -- I don't remember any such thing, although (non-Emacs) programs were eventually implemented on other operating systems to read EMACS INFO files. EMACS INFO predates the existence of TOPS-20.Dicirnah (talk) 20:36, 18 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dicirnah, the last version of INFO is indeed just a specially built version of EMACS. Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 12:57, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just checked with RMS. INFO originated on ITS; he wrote it in 1975 in TECO (before Emacs). (That was a year before TOPS-20 existed.) But like I said, not sure if this is the "hypertext system" being referred to here. I don't recall anything else on ITS that might be called hypertext during the years after that when I was an ITS hacker.) The main hypertext systems I remember were on the Lisp Machine (and they were original there.) Dicirnah (talk) 02:20, 20 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per Abrahamsen, can you clarify what you had in mind by the "TOPS-20 Hypertext system" above? Are you perhaps referring to BBN's port of NLS to Tenex (in about 1970)? Emacs's Info mode was self-sufficient, and its implementation had nothing to do with NLS, though it may well have been inspired by it. --Macrakis (talk) 03:52, 20 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dicirnah, I have searched MIT's backup tapes for the first TECO version of INFO. The earliest I find is from February 1977. Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 13:03, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
KYPark, it was also brought up here:


"Some people make a distinction between the lower-case word emacs, which is used to refer to Emacs-like editors (particularly GNU Emacs and XEmacs), and the capitalized word Emacs, which is used to refer to GNU Emacs."

Is GNU Emacs emacs or Emacs ? --Humpback 01:48, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I haven't seen the distinction used as described in the article. I rewrote it as I use the distinction. --Per Abrahamsen 07:35, 2 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Would it be appropriate to note that the only plural given by the Collins English Dictionary is emacsen? --Twid 20:29, 11 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added.--Per Abrahamsen 07:26, 2 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you explain: does the Collins English Dictionary have an entry for "emacs", and state the plural in that entry? or does it say "stuff ending in acs can be pluralised by adding en"? or something else? The current sentence implies that there is a dictionary entry for "emacs" - I find that hard to believe, so I was going to remove it and ask for a reference to be cited if it's to be re-added. --Gronky 19:44, 11 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply] --Per Abrahamsen 21:03, 11 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wow, thanks. I've noted it in the article. --Gronky 00:22, 12 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm going to revert the reference to mg just inserted in the first section. There are zillions of light-weight Emacs clones around. If they should be mentioned, it should be in the history section, or in a separate section (maybe even a separate article about Emacs clones, with a reference from here). --Per Abrahamsen 06:54, 2 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Instead of deleting mg, I moved it to a list of noteworthy light reimplementations in the end of the history section. --Per Abrahamsen 07:22, 2 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Most portable?[edit]

The article claims EMACS is one of the most portable non-trivial programs. While it may be one of the most ported - due to great desires on the part of its users - I'm not sure that portable (easy to port) is quite true. Certainly not for a long time - does anyone remember the dump/undump process of building Emacs, which was completely UNPORTABLE and had to be rewritten for every machine architecture/operating system combination? (I have heard that Emacs no longer requires this process - is this correct?) --—Morven 19:54, 3 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Even if the assembler code and the custom crt0.o file have been removed, Emacs is no more portable than autoconf based programs in general. I changed the word to ported, which is better anyway. The paragraph talks about how many platforms Emacs runs on, not how easy it is to get it to run on a new platform. --Per Abrahamsen 06:04, 4 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Far be it from me to hate on a comment by Per Abrahamsen, but my understanding was always that the 'most portable' accolade was a comment on the nature of the implementation, where the central core is in reasonably-portable C, but the vast bulk of the program (including most editing-modes and extensions and so on -- most of what makes Emacs qualify as 'non-trivial' in the MIT/Stanford jargon-sense) is in 100% portable-with-no-special-effort eLisp. Therefore, while it is true that the C portion is not necessarily any more portable than the average autoconf app, the C portion is not the point: the extension language, and everything implemented therein, is automagically ported to the new platform, as soon as the (relatively small) core portion has been ported. Note that this is a relative statement; porting Emacs is far more difficult than porting a ten-line app; the phrase is specifically about 'non-trivial' apps aka million-line-apps that do something complex. Suggest that the phrase "one of the most portable non-trivial programs" be replaced with something less jargon-heavy, such as the paragraph below. (talk) 16:47, 19 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Because about three-fourths of the stock Emacs distro (1270 kLOC as of 2013-09-19) is written in the eLisp extension language[1], and this set of features is automatically supported once the C core (aka temacs at 299 kLOC) which implements the eLisp interpreter has been ported, porting Emacs (including the stock eLisp plus a large variety[citation needed] of third-party eLisp extensions) to a new hardware platform is considerably less difficult than porting a project consisting of 1500 kLOC of code that must run on the target platform. This type of layered design is also used to make Java language programs (and other languages that target the JVM) easily portable across many types of hardware; see also p-system and CLR. James Gosling, one of the chief designers of Java and the JVM, wrote the GosMacs port of Emacs (the first Emacs written in C -- with MockLisp as the extension language -- see also Multics Emacs and EINE/ZWEI of the late 1970s which were the first Emacsen written in LISP) around 1981. RMS implemented eLisp in 1984 and 1985 on top of a C core, with a full-fledged LISP called eLisp as the extension language.

One of the links above is a project, active as of 2012 and 2013, to port the C core of Emacs to the Clojure-slash-JVM world[2] which illustrates the idea that you only need to port the C core (aka temacs) rather than all those millions of lines of eLisp. (The project in question is difficult, because it is trying to 'port' the hand-tuned C into the JVM ... rather than onto a bare-metal platform which already has a C compiler, which is the traditional way in which Emacs would be ported to new hardware, i.e. using autoconf and gcc.) Various other emacs-like projects, such as Hemlock, which do *not* support eLisp on top, are not really ports of Emacs, but merely reimplement the keybindings and the look-n-feel. See also, pico and similar tiny-emacsen projects. (talk) 16:47, 19 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Heh. Using the crude metric of KLOCs, the implementation of Emacs as compared to the implementation of Vim. (talk) 18:54, 19 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would take issue with the statement above that "Various other emacs-like projects, such as Hemlock, which do *not* support eLisp on top, are not really ports of Emacs, but merely reimplement the keybindings and the look-n-feel."

Hemlock is absolutely a version of Emacs. Also, it is written entirely in Lisp, with no underlying C. (Of course, you have to have a Lisp runtime already there...similar to how you must have C runtime libraries for other implementations.) Just because something does not support GUN Emacs elisp does not mean that it is not Emacs. Otherwise, the original version of Emacs (written in TECO) is not Emacs, nor are the other Lisp implementations of Emacs. GNU Emacs is just one version of Emacs, and by the way, it is definitely not the best one. Not by a longshot. But it looks good on "worse is better / good enough who cares to do the right thing" Unix.

The problem is the word "port". One could talk about Emacs having many implementations. In "A Cookbook For An Emacs", which was someone's thesis I read around 1982, the lightweight versions of Emacs (typically with no extension language) were called "ersatz Emacs". So if we're talking about implementations, it certainly is important to differentiate between full-blown Emacs implementations and lightweight/ersatz Emacs versions.

The article should say that (1) Emacs has been implemented many times since 1976; (2) Many of the implementations were totally or partially in Lisp, which makes them highly portable; (3) Emacs implementations descended from the GNU Project is partly written in Lisp and includes its own Lisp runtime (which is written in C and so must be ported). (4) GNU Emacs has been ported to...whatever it has been. (Elided my rambling recollections of many systems that I have used GNU-maybe? Emacs on in the last 36 years.) Fun fact: I originally started using Emacs when it was first written on ITS, used it continuously and almost exclusively since then in many incarnations, ... and used the original (TECO) version on ITS again in recent years. Cuz ITS runs on full emulation (!) Wheeeee! Dicirnah (talk) 02:58, 20 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Misleading keybindings?[edit]

The small list of keybindings states that M-w is copy and C-w is cut; while it's not wrong, it may be a bit misleading, since it's not the copy/cut that people commonly know (to clipboard), it just saves a region within the application...

In the operating system I use, copies and cuts from Emacs carry over to other applications.

-- 18:40, 10 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah- Emacs uses the OS clipboard in my experiences. (But not always; for instance, in my Debian linux, there are two clipboards, one for when text is highlighted, and one for explicit copy and pastes- Emacs uses whichever is more recent.) --maru (talk) contribs 00:02, 11 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I think we should amend the introduction to state that GNU Emacs is currently the most popular version, and not merely as popular as xemacs. I've been around a fair bit on the Emacs IRC channels and the Emacs Wiki, in which most of the discussion is about GNU Emacs; and the Debian Project's Popularity Contest has GNU Emacs-related packages ranked higher[3] in popularity/installed base than the xemacs-related packages. --maru (talk) contribs 23:34, 26 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Popularity' is arguable, regardless of user base. ;) I think it is best staying in its current state. ~LinuxeristTux.svgNuvola apps emacs.png E/L/T 02:54, 20 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, maybe "popularity" is not a good word for this context - how can we ever judge if it is wrong? I looked into development activity and usage statistics, and found that XEmacs is behind on the latter, far behind on the former, and is increasingly losing ground. I put a fuller explanation on Talk:GNU Emacs. Gronky 10:59, 7 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merging in GNU Emacs[edit]

The Emacs article contains more information about GNU Emacs than the GNU Emacs article does. Also, the content of the GNU Emacs article is mostly duplicate information. GNU Emacs is the most widely used and most actively developed Emacs, so talking about it in the Emacs article is natural. The merge will be simple because the GNU Emacs article contains very little new information. For those same reasons, merging in GNU Emacs will not increase the size of the Emacs article much. (If this is a concern, then another path can be found, such as splitting elisp into a seperate article.) Gronky 15:13, 6 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Merge GNU Emacs into general Emacs article. Needs to respect the historical development of Emacs, though, and give appropriate weight to other Emacsim than GNU. Waitak 13:56, 7 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Merge I agree with Waitak. --kop 07:01, 9 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Redistribute information into two articles. The Emacs article would deal with the history of emacsen and the familial similarities among all emacsen, while the GNU Emacs article would deal with that particular breed. --FOo 05:55, 10 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • This is what we have been trying. It was a good idea to try, and I think I supported it originally, but the outcome has been lousy. Gronky 07:30, 12 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Merge --Per Abrahamsen 10:21, 2 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Merge. The current setup simply does not work. - Corbin Be excellent 23:24, 3 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure what the consensus was here, but I tried merging the distinct information at GNU Emacs into the Emacs article. One of the last outstanding things to do is move the infobox. If, and when, it becomes merged there will be still more work to do. --Ashawley 02:29, 20 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm doing this merge now. There is more discussion on the Talk:GNU_Emacs and there is clear consensus among those who've commented. Gronky 20:24, 6 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Responsiveness of Emacs[edit]

The article states: "However, modern computers are fast enough that Emacs is seldom felt to be slow." I use emacs for most of my work, on multiple platforms. It is noticeably unresponsive when compared to most modern applications. For instance, it commonly takes a new frame more than a second to appear, and sometimes another second to become useable. This is pretty snappy by 1990s standards, but the two main commercial OSs put a huge emphasis on having a more responsive 'feel'. Two seconds for a new window would be considered unacceptably slow. (Then there's the issue of the lack of threads -- anyone ever had to wait to edit a buffer until emacs finished talking to your mail server?) kraemer 21:01, 11 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Might be how it is used, I usually have one process per frame, meaning one Emacs dedicated for mail and news. It might be different for people with a MS-Windows background, where the common idiom seems to be to only have one instance of an application running at the same time.
Anyway, (new-frame) on on my laptop (an 1.2 GHz Pentium M running XP + Cygwin/X11 + Emacs) takes 0.15 seconds. --Per Abrahamsen 10:19, 2 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Comparing the performance of GNU Emacs with that of Netbeans on my old ThinkPad X30 (Pentium M 1,2 GHz, 768MB RAM), shows that Emacs is several orders of magnitude faster than Netbeans in everything it does. And opening new frames in Emacs has no noticeable delay. Perhaps your Emacs setup is broken? Boelthorn (talk) 13:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find Emacs to be very responsive, but the lack of threads does cause problems. Having a separate copy of Emacs for email would cut off the benefits of an integrated evironment (not sharing a kill ring and buffers would be annoying). --Gronky (talk) 17:46, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since switching between frames typically requires a trip through the window manager, I don't feel a great loss from relying on the window system for cut and paste of an occasional code sample between the frames. Try it. You might like it :-) --Per Abrahamsen (talk) 09:45, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately, I'm not a coder. Most of my work and non-work is email related, so copying in an out of mails is the norm rather than occasional. BTW, while we're offtopicly talking about emacs and productivity, I just saw this firefox plugin to make it use Emacs keybindings for editing:[4] --Gronky (talk) 10:25, 25 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chiming in 13 years later I will state that GNU Emacs on my Mac Mini (but it's a machine from 2004, which is contemporary to the above comments)... is fast as hell (even on the 2021 version of MacOS). But really, the point ought to be that (1) Once upon a time, long ago in the mid-1980s, Emacs was considered too expensive to run on overloaded student time-shared minicomputers and (2) On personal computers it is considered highly responsive, and faster than most IDEs for example.

It might be noted that the main loop is single-threaded, which limits internal operations (but not external programs, such as command shells) to the single focused window.

But be sure its clear that we're talking (in the modern era) about GNU Emacs. (The old ones from 1985 on TOPS-20. and I think BSD and VMS) were not GNU Emacs.) It is not that "Emacs" was considered slow on some systems, or that modern Emacs is always GNU Emacs. It's that long ago, "big" (multiple megabyte !) programs were expensive, and now they are not.

Actually, is there anybody still alive that thinks Emacs is slow because they used some ridiculously underpowered computer back in school in 1984 or something and still hold that opinion? And if so, do they use Wikipedia? Or are we having this whole discussion for people who are going to read it over Gopher? Is this still a myth or misinformation that needs correcting? What, do people who like IDEs or vi or something claim that Emacs is slow? Or is this just something random that Emacs fans think they need to put in the article? "Emacs is good because it is fast?"

I marked my remarks as a Minor Edit to this talk, because I couldn't find a checkbox for This Is A Stupid Edit. Dicirnah (talk) 03:27, 20 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Emacs Pinky[edit]

Sigh, my first edit war. I think that the links to the blog called "Surviving Emacs" [5] [6] [7] [8] are very useful, and informative, so they deserve to be on this article. User:Femmina thinks they are linkspam and vandalism. I don't even know the author of that blog, and I have no personal interest in putting those links in this article. Does anyone think they're useful? Should they be included? I won't bother trying to insert them again if everyone thinks it's spam. I'm sorry if I've (unintentionally) been vandalising this page. --Shreevatsa 18:20, 1 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am not the person who reverted your edits, and I would not classify them as link-spam. I think, however, that Clementson's blog adds little value to this page and is not very specific to Emacs. — Tobias Bergemann 20:03, 1 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fine then, I'll stop. Come to think of it, I agree with you on both counts.
I'm sorry about having deleted a large section of this page earlier; I think it's a bug (or limitation, or incorrect configuration) in Firefox, or in my internet connection, that sometimes, not all the text of the page loads in the edit box. I've been bitten by this before, and I should have been more careful. I realise this is very offtopic here, but is this a known problem? Thanks, and sorry, Shreevatsa 20:18, 1 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's discussion related to that problem at the Wikipedia:Help desk. — Tobias Bergemann 21:19, 1 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is Emacs?[edit]

Is it really a text editor, or emacs really emacs? Anything beyond that is assumption and possibly POV. Coderx 03:44, 4 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm pretty sure it is a text editor. Most of the references vet that. Do you think the references are inadequate? Do you think they are pOV? -- 05:08, 4 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AFAIK, it is conventional to describe Emacs as an "editor", not any particular sort of editor (e.g. "text editor"). Both GNU Emacs and XEmacs ship with dired included, so it would be just as accurate to call them "directory editors" as "text editors". Just drop the adjective and call it an "editor". 18:12, 16 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You'll have to take this up at Talk:Text editor, because we've made the same "inaccuracy" at text editor. -- 16:19, 17 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Emacs has been jocularly called an "operating system". But a better description is that it is an "operating environment", much like desktops like GNOME and KDE, but using a text user interface. This covers the usage of Emacs for doing all kinds of activities like operating on files, web browsing, email/news reading, audio/video editing, program development etc. Calling Emacs a "text editor" is remarkably old-fashioned. The article doesn't do justice to what Emacs really is. Here are some references: zacharypinter wordaligned comp.os.linux.misc --- Reddyuday (talk) 11:47, 17 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The lead still has "text editor." You could do a little research and document the evolution, then write something like "Emacs was designed as a text editor and is still used as such. Over the years, it has been extended to the point that it commonly used as an IDE and can serve as a full-fledged operating environment that is capable of file operations, web browsing..." However, you have to use citations that are more reliable than the newsgroups and blogs that were mentioned. Dementia13 (talk) 10:29, 5 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Screenshot - misleading?[edit]

I think the screenshot on the Emacs page is misleading. This shot is from an unstable branch featuring anti-aliasing and nice GTK interface. This is not what the current, official and stable Emacs is.

Why not a shot of Emacs-in-use, like Image:Emacs-editting-emacs-article.png? --maru (talk) contribs 01:16, 7 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That screenshot is hideous, but it's the right idea. I don't mind the GTK stuff, as much as I feel the splash screen with the Emacs logo is not representative. How about something comprable to the screenshot at Vim (text editor)? -- 01:53, 7 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hey, that's my preferred setup you're disparaging there! :( --maru (talk) contribs 02:36, 7 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My point is: Someone reads the article and of course sees the shot. So they go to the Emacs page, download it, run it and see something completely different (the same idea, the same splash, no anti-aliasing, ugly menus, ugly scrollbars, etc.). That's Emacs and it's still a great editor. It's just that particular screenshot. Maybe someone could add another screenshot of the real Emacs and mark the GTK+-one as "Beta" or so. By the way, the Vim screenshot is the real thing, no unstable branches there. Blender 22:00, 9 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree, changed screenshot to the default graphical interface. Teh l33+ 09:02, 20 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I changed the description (syntax highlighting) Protocol 001 20:04, 21 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that the most appropriate image to have for the screenshot would be one of Emacs running in the most recent release of gNewSense (talk) 23:51, 29 September 2009 ----who the lonely freeman


The article has nice shape for a 2 years old Featured one, but time have passed, and there have been some advances since then. The most important one are footnotes, which would do this article much good. I suggest begin adding them. See m:Cite/Cite.php. -- ReyBrujo 03:35, 12 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It has seven now, but could use more. Obviously, the other references (now under the "Bibliography" section) vet the article with pretty good references even though there are no direct citations to them. -- 19:45, 28 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, it is better, although as I stated, there are two years to catch up. -- ReyBrujo 19:49, 28 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just a "me too" - I think many more References are needed in this article. I will give some help by adding {{fact}} to mark what should be referenced. Gronky 14:40, 5 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links[edit]

Well, since it seems I can't edit this article, I suggest really cleaning the external links section, as right now is a bunch of unnecessary information (there is no need to have forums or fansites, chinese sites, IRC or newsgroups, and I have moved some links to the references section, following the guidelines found here.

If nobody does, I will do it again soon. If I am reverted with those kind of summaries, I will take that as a personal attack, as I am acting in good faith. -- ReyBrujo 12:31, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not following this issue, but don't take reverts as personal attacks. If someone follows you around wikipedia reverting many of your changes, that might be a personal attack. Maybe trying doing your cleanup piecemeal. Remove the 1-4 of the most inappropriate links, pause, repeat. Gronky 14:06, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I did take it as a bad joke. If I am reverted again with that kind of summaries (vi users should not edit emacs.), then I will take it as a personal attack (Using someone's affiliations as a means of dismissing or discrediting their views — regardless of whether said affiliations are mainstream or extreme.). -- ReyBrujo 16:17, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I removed links to sites that can also be found on the official home page as on obvious start point. Oh, and the Chinese language wiki, a link to that would belong to the Chinese language Wikipedia.
The links in the history section should probably be converted into references. --Per Abrahamsen 14:19, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Emacs for MS Windows and Mac OS subsection is not necessary. Per guidelines, forums are not necessary and should be avoided. I agree that the History section should be improved as reference, a section that looks pretty naked. I think a Featured Article Review may help getting some feedback about what to do with this article to conform with the current Wiki advantages. Lack of inline references alone is enough to remove the featured article status, so better to start referencing everything. -- ReyBrujo 16:17, 13 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I removed the irc and usenet external links. The platform links could be references from the platforms section.
Asking for a FAR would be a rude waste of he reviewers time, unless someone here is willing to put in the effort to follow the recommandations. Especially since there are obvious points to improve (references), which we don't need a review to tell us. --Per Abrahamsen 16:16, 14 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I assure you that no FAR is a waste of time. The individuals there try to keep the Featured articles as the best articles in Wikipedia, according to the featured guidelines. Having a featured article that is not worth the nomination (even though it may have been at the time it was featured) may be offensive for some when they are actively working trying to fix articles they maintain to get them into featured article. Also, references are the hardest part of writing an article, and I am sure the article could spend another couple of years without anyone caring about them. Unluckily, I don't know enough about Emacs to fix the article, so someone else should do it. -- ReyBrujo 17:38, 14 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That was not the goal you stated originally.--Per Abrahamsen 03:50, 15 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pardon me? I was pretty clear in both previous talks that lack of references is enough to demote the article to a former featured article, I suggested taking it because, besides lack of references, there may be other problems, and that someone should begin working in the article to fix it before it is sent to the review. -- ReyBrujo 05:05, 15 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This was your third explanation. I give up.--Per Abrahamsen 09:13, 27 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Link per link verification[edit]

Here are the current external links section. I will explain, one at the time, whether each should stay or be removed. Feel free to contest my reasoning in this talk page.
  • Yes check.svg (The GNU Emacs homepage)
No objection.
  • X mark.svg (GNU Emacs FAQ For Windows 95/98/ME/NT/XP and 2000)
Since anyone is able to access this link from Emacs home page, it is not necessary.
  • X mark.svg (Emacs installer for Windows)
  • X mark.svg (EmacsW32 MS Windows integration for Emacs)
  • X mark.svg Aqua Emacs. (major emacs implementation for Mac; with Mac oriented GUI)
  • X mark.svg Carbon Emacs. (major emacs implementation for Mac)
It is not necessary to have these versions individualized. Someone may later come and add the DOS version, then the Windows Vista version, then the Atari version.
  • Yes check.svg (Multics Emacs: The History, Design and Implementation)
Can be upgraded to reference.
  • Yes check.svg (List of Emacs implementations)
  • X mark.svg (The Craft of Text Editing or Emacs for the Modern World)
Repeated external link. The first one can be replaced with the new one, The second can be accessed through the first one. Can be upgraded to reference.
  • Yes check.svg (An Emacs timeline)
Can be upgraded to reference.
  • Yes check.svg (EmacsWiki)
It could stay as an external link, since it can't be used as reference.
  • X mark.svg (Emacs 中文站] Chinese Emacs Wiki)
It should be removed, this is the English Wikipedia, and is talking about an English software. If it were a Chinese software, the link may have stayed. But right now, that wiki is not necessary.
  • X mark.svg (Emacs Nabble Forum)
Per guidelines, forums are not good external links. This one in particular has only 15072 threads, which is a pretty low amount when compared with others.
  • X mark.svgirc:// Emacs IRC Channel on
  • X mark.svgnews://comp.emacs Emacs newsgroup
These two are problematic. Note that links requiring special software to be accessed should not be included. It may be possible to name them inside the article, but external links that, when clicked, throw a warning or error are not useful for a casual user.
Feel free to object any of my comments here, and we can discuss even more. If nobody objects in some days, I will understand the changes have been implicitely accepted, and apply them. Thanks. -- ReyBrujo 14:57, 17 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

eMacs bashing[edit]

eMacs gets bashed a whole lot online. Shouldn't there be a section or something in regards to this, under Criticism or the like?

Linkage: search on eMacs

It is hard for me to find any centralized hate or criticism websites on the topic but this seems to at least show that this has a fairly bad reputation among users. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ihmhi (talkcontribs) .

"eMacs" is an Apple MacIntosh model. "Emacs" is the text editor this article is about.
"whole lot" is not NPOV - it's rather biased. The criticism is a extermely tiny amount of the crticism online, even of computer programs.
There are already WikiLinks to the Emacs vs vi Editor Wars, and a Comparison of Text Editors. But a well-written, NPOV section on the pluses and minuses of Emacs and it's user interface would be a good addition to the article. "Evaluation of the Design" is a better section name then "Criticism". Finding good references could be a chore. Might need work with paper sources in a good research library - Lentower 15:24, 9 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One notable criticism with references is the large size of a distribution and the overhead of using a Lisp interpreter. An outdated criticims, it is still included in the article. The other criticism in the article is "Emacs pinky".

IRC logs aren't reputable sources of criticism. -- 01:23, 10 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I believe Editor wars summarized most of the criticism.--Per Abrahamsen 12:27, 10 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Weasel words in "Licensing" section[edit]

The "Licensing" section was recently marked as containing weasel words. I assume this was because of the following prose:

This requirement by the GNU Emacs maintainers is assumed to affect contributions. Some people claim that it even affects performance, e.g. the inability of GNU Emacs to handle large files in an efficient manner could be blamed on the mentioned requirement repelling any serious developer.

I'd tend to agree that "assumed", "some", "could" is a bit of original research. Maybe we can take care of this and the dreaded use of the abbreviation "e.g.". -- 16:10, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just removed it, the whole subparagraph was unfounded speculation, and even if proper sources were found, the discussion would belong in copyleft, not here.--Per Abrahamsen 16:57, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On Portal:Free software, Emacs is currently the selected article[edit]

Just to let you know. The purpose of selecting an article is both to point readers to the article and to highlight it to potential contributors. It will remain on the portal for a week or so. The previous selected article was ZFS. Gronky 13:21, 5 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The selected article box has been updated again, Emacs has been superceded by PaX. The PaX article needs references. It has featured article status, but it got that status back when standards were lower. Four free software articles have already lost their featured article status recently (including Emacs!), so if you're looking for something to do, considering helping the PaX article to maintain its quality. Gronky 22:57, 11 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What is the size of the active user base? Is there a "market share" figure for computer programmers? -- Beland 17:41, 12 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Apart from a text editor, "Emacs" is also a brand of computer power supply, often seen in servers. See:

Suggest a link to a disambiguation page at the top of this article. 02:52, 20 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Kitchen sinks and jokes[edit]

There's an XKCD comic about emacs:[9]. When I saw this, I searched the article for discriptions about Emacs' status as being a do-everything editor, but I can't find anything. Jokes about Emacs having commands for obscure things are common, so they should be mentioned, but I thougt I'd ask her first to see if it's already in the article. Maybe I just missed it. --Gronky (talk) 15:47, 6 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It might be amusing to mention that in Rick Cook's Wizardy series, one of the first things the protagonist Wiz does in magic is code up an Emacs daemon to edit his spells with. --Gwern (contribs) 18:29 10 February 2008 (GMT)


In the Emacs Pinky section I replaced fat-finger with fat-finger (a link to the Jargon File). Before, the link simply redirected to Typographical error with no explanation of the term. It is still somewhat vague and does not solve the citation issue. Also I'm not sure what the policy/standard on placing external links inside article content is—I've never seen them in non-stub articles—but this seemed appropriate. D'Agosta (talk) 19:21, 10 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Time to split?[edit]

We're at 39k and the intro goes into contortions trying to differentiate between Emacs-as-a-concept and GNU Emacs. I think it's time we split GNU Emacs to its own article, a la XEmacs. This article can then describe the union of all Emacsen. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 20:52, 6 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And thus the circle is closed. --Gwern (contribs) 21:18 6 July 2008 (GMT)
Heh. It's a perfectly typical cycle. The merge was over eighteen months ago: the situation was different back then. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:45, 7 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think the intro reads badly. What problem do you see?
I don't see any way to split GNU Emacs out of this article. For almost all practical purposes, GNU Emacs is Emacs. XEmacs has been gathering dust for years, so the trueness of this is increasing over time. Skimming it now, I think what the article really needs is some quality review. There are plenty of non-encyclopaedic (howto-style or advertisement-style) sentences in there:
The Emacs help system is useful not only for beginners, but also for advanced users writing Emacs Lisp code. If the documentation for a function or variable is not enough, the help system can be used to browse the Emacs Lisp source code for both built-in libraries and installed third-party libraries. It is therefore very convenient to program in Emacs Lisp using Emacs itself.
Should be replaced by something like: "Emacs includes a built-in documentation system which provides information about the functions and variables used by Emacs." --Gronky (talk) 12:52, 7 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wasn't so much thinking about XEmacs (which has its own article anyway) as the early Emacsen. That's where all the interesting stuff is anyway, what with Emacs's release cycle now resembling that of mother elephants.
The problem with the intro is that it is distinctly referring to two different things: all Emacsen, and one Emacs. It's awkward.
You're certainly right about the article text. Your suggestion is a good one. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:18, 7 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I didn't notice Hemlock among the EMACS-like editors. It's an interesting editor. Elisp can be extended to work like common lisp. Hemlock takes the opposite aproach. As there's already a Wikipedia article here...

...all that would be needed is a brief mention and a link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 13 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for pointing this out. The omission must have just been an oversight. I've added Hemlock to Template:Emacs which is included in this article and in other related articles. Gronky (talk) 19:27, 28 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Created wikia page about setting Emacs up[edit]

Hi, I created an article about how to install and configure GNU Emacs at Set up and get started Wiki. I’ve already covered quite much, including variables, the .emacs file and some different commands, but you can gladly add more to the article since it’s a wiki. --Kri (talk) 14:18, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Emacs in popular culture[edit]

We might want to consider what to put in such a section; the script of The Social Network mentions Emacs multiple times, and in dialogue too apparently. --Gwern (contribs) 01:19 16 May 2010 (GMT)

Or perhaps 'famous users'? eg. Vernor Vinge ( --Gwern (contribs) 23:27 19 September 2010 (GMT)
Yukihiro Matsumoto (a/k/a "Matz", developer of the Ruby programming language) wrote a slide presentation called "How Emacs changed my life".[10] Neil Stephenson also has a riff on Emacs in In the Beginning... Was the Command Line:

I use emacs, which might be thought of as a thermonuclear word processor. It was created by Richard Stallman; enough said. It is written in Lisp, which is the only computer language that is beautiful. It is colossal, and yet it only edits straight ASCII text files, which is to say, no fonts, no boldface, no underlining. In other words, the engineer-hours that, in the case of Microsoft Word, were devoted to features like mail merge, and the ability to embed feature-length motion pictures in corporate memoranda, were, in the case of emacs, focused with maniacal intensity on the deceptively simple-seeming problem of editing text. If you are a professional writer--i.e., if someone else is getting paid to worry about how your words are formatted and printed--emacs outshines all other editing software in approximately the same way that the noonday sun does the stars. It is not just bigger and brighter; it simply makes everything else vanish. (talk) 18:36, 24 June 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"In Popular Culture" sections amount to little more than fanpages and are frowned on by Wikipedia. They turn very quickly into trivia dumps and rarely add any pertinent or useful information. There's even a cleanup tag to be added to pages that include them. If the idea really, really intrigues you, then get some free web hosting and set up a page of your own. Dementia13 (talk) 09:45, 5 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just a piece of old lore. There was once a newsgroup news.alt.emacs. There there was a question posted "What is the proper punishment for not using EMACS?" Answer: "There is no punishment, not using EMACS is punishment enough!"Seniorsag (talk) 15:29, 21 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


We must find a way to include the acronym Generally Not Used, Except by Middle Aged Computer Scientists —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pantergraph (talkcontribs) 20:51, 2 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


You might want to add the Mew email client to the Extensibility section, in addition to Wanderlust and Gnus. See .Williamsonday (talk) 03:13, 29 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clones list should be split into active / dormant / dead[edit]

Of the twenty clones and forks listed, it would be great if someone could split the list into actively developed and dormant/dead projects. From the current list, it's impossible to tell how vigorous the Emacs phenomenon is (or isn't) outside of GNU Emacs. Gronky (talk) 01:22, 7 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

what does emacs mean really ?[edit]

in the old day we said emacs means eight megabytes continosly swaping, had to do with virtual mashine's limitation of memoery, but might have been a lot of work knitting the code...

maybe or not derived from ? "hello world". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:50, 31 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article refers to it somewhat obliquely in the lead section: it was originally a contraction of "editor macros", being originally a set of extensions for TECO. This should be expanded in the article body. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 13:42, 13 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The TECO macros were originally called ? or ?MACS. On this day 46 years ago, it was changed to E or EMACS. I can find no support for the commonly cited "Editor MACros" in contemporary sources. Do you have a reference that is not based on recollections from long after the fact? Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 07:54, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stallman wrote in 1978: "The name E was chosen because I saw that E was one of the remaining single-letters left which didn't traditionally abbreviate anything. From E, EMACS followed. That it might confuse Stanford people was a bonus but not the fundamental motivation." Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 08:36, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To give some context for Stallman's quote: in ITS, many programs have single-letter aliases. So e.g. you can start TECO using it's full name "TECO", but also the single-letter "T" alias. Likewise, F is FINGER, L is LISP, M is MAIL, N is NAME, P is PEEK, W is WHO, etc. It is desirable for commonly used programs to have such an alias to make them easy to start. Many letters were taken, but E was free. Which was lucky, because E is a good abbreviation for an editor, and that was also the case over at Stanford. Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 17:17, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is also a story that Emacs started as a set of useful macros that was stored in the E q-reg, and that's how the editor got its name. Since I have access to files from MIT PDP-10 backup tapes, I have searched for evidence of this. So far I haven't found any TECO code that refers to the E q-reg in this manner. Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 10:15, 13 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Splitting Emacs and GNU Emacs a bad idea[edit]

As I just wrote on Talk:GNU Emacs, I think the recent split of Emacs and GNU Emacs is a bad idea. Was it even discussed somewhere? Previous discussions have lead to merging and not splitting.

There is no thing called "Emacs". The term refers to the project(s) lead by Richard Stallman, and the great majority of his work has been on GNU Emacs. GNU Emacs surpassed all other Emacsen combined in terms of userbase, developers, etc.

The current split is just artificial and confusing.

If there are two topics, then the article besides GNU Emacs should be called something like "Emacs family of text editors".

But that latter article should be written rather than just taking half the content out of the GNU Emacs article and pretending that it is somehow general information.

GNU Emacs defines "Emacs" because all the other Emacsen are either forks or inspired by Stallman's work.

I could go on, but this split is just clearly a bad idea so I'm guessing I don't have to. Gronky (talk) 14:53, 1 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Still a bad idea. I've no time to merge them but I wish someone would. Gronky (talk) 16:13, 15 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lead Screenshot[edit]

Shouldn't the lead screenshot for emacs be something more representative of what emacs is actually used for, like editing a text file? And preferably not with a color mode that looks like clown barf? Either of the screenshots in the "history" section are much better. hbent (talk) 19:23, 3 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Blacklisted Links Found on Emacs[edit]

Cyberbot II has detected links on Emacs which have been added to the blacklist, either globally or locally. Links tend to be blacklisted because they have a history of being spammed or are highly inappropriate for Wikipedia. The addition will be logged at one of these locations: local or global If you believe the specific link should be exempt from the blacklist, you may request that it is white-listed. Alternatively, you may request that the link is removed from or altered on the blacklist locally or globally. When requesting whitelisting, be sure to supply the link to be whitelisted and wrap the link in nowiki tags. Please do not remove the tag until the issue is resolved. You may set the invisible parameter to "true" whilst requests to white-list are being processed. Should you require any help with this process, please ask at the help desk.

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If you would like me to provide more information on the talk page, contact User:Cyberpower678 and ask him to program me with more info.

From your friendly hard working bot.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 17:24, 17 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why not mentioning Org-mode more prominent?[edit]

I personally experienced many new Emacs users solely because of Org-mode. Many of them are using Emacs only for Org-mode and not for anything else. Org-mode is the only reason why I did re-start using Emacs (together with vim) in the first place as well.

Therefore, I'd suggest to mention this very important extension of Emacs more prominent. Or at least once - so far there is no single hint to it on the Emacs page.

Novoid (talk) 15:35, 1 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I support this. Most of my Emacs usage is inside Org mode. -- Jorge (talk) 21:08, 1 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

gnus, erc, magit, etc are also not mentioned. i don't see why org should get special treatment. the article is about emacs, not any of the popular extensions of one particular variety. — Preceding unsigned comment added by N34tttttttt (talkcontribs) 14:24, 22 April 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My point is that Org-mode seems to get almost more attention than Emacs itself. People looking for an editor are using vim, UltraEdit, and so forth. New cooperative and stylish editors get bigger user-base within shorter period of time. However, Org-mode (and of course others as well) are the main attraction factor for Emacs these days. The current page on Emacs does not reflect the modern usage of it at all. Its (interesting) internal structure and some other things are not that important for the masses because it emphasizes the wrong picture. I even wrote an article which emphasizes the fact that the editing functions are - in my opinion - the most relevant ones regarding to Emacs as an application platform, most prominently Org-mode. Therefore I wrote my comment: I tried to make the Emacs article less boring and irrelevant as it seems to be. Besides the fact that Emacs has an interesting history being a dinosaur of the computer history, its modern and quite unique extensions are the ones that make the platform that interesting and worth trying. I can live with "this article has to be boring because we only want to fetch historical elements" or "this must not seem to be like an advertisement". However, almost neglecting the main use cases of this wonderful tool was disappointing to me. gnus, erc, magit, etc are great tools as well. I doubt that they are used by as many people as Org-mode. Unfortunately, I can't prove it with hard numbers. It's just my impression from being part of the community. Novoid (talk) 08:49, 24 April 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that at least the general importance of extensions should be mentioned. Almost all the people I know use emacs because of some extension. There is a lot of other editors available today, many of them more modern. What makes emacs different and still very relevant are the extensions. Anybody (talk) 19:42, 24 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is there an advertise banner?[edit]

I've skimmed the article and checked the Talk page and I can't see any justification for the Advertise banner, so I'm removing it per the guideline. It's been sitting there since November 2015.

If someone wants to re-add it, please add a section here to say what parts of the article need review. That way the banner can better serve its purpose. Great floors (talk) 23:22, 7 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Three mails from 1976, 78 about Emacs history[edit]

By David Moon, Richard Stallman, and Guy L Steel:

Might be something there worth adding to this article.

(I see there's old discussion about there being no consensus for splitting GNU Emacs out of the Emacs article, and that they should be merged but no one bothered to do it. Just like to say I agree redirecting GNU Emacs back to Emacs.) Great floors (talk) 23:28, 7 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Over 2000" commands?[edit]

There is no source given for this assertion. It might well be a wild guess. Actually counting the number of commands defined in Lisp (i.e. excluding those defined directly in C) with:

   $ find . -name '*.el' | xargs grep '(interactive' | wc -l

gives as a result (on a recent development snapshot) 11,171. I'd put this into the article, but it would probably count as "original research" :-(.

Where did this "over 2000" come frome? AMackenzie (talk) 17:51, 24 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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"stable release" in infobox is years old[edit]

I looked to change it but nearest I could find was this:

| latest release version = <! -- Please don't place a version here, as this article is about all editors in the EMACS family. Instead, you may wish to update or add version information to specific software project articles. -->

| latest release date = <! -- Please don't place a version here, as this article is about all editors in the EMACS family. Instead, you may wish to update or add version information to specific software project articles. -->

So either remove it or update it, but I don't think letting this go stale is the right answer. (talk) 19:19, 21 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I must pick a nit w.r.t. the history section. TECO was never a line editor. It was always a character-based programmable text editor. Yes, it had commands that operated on lines. But it was just as easy to work on a character basis.

"DEC standard TECO" was included with PDP10 and PDP11 operating systems (and later VAX/VMS). TECO on the ITS systems at MIT evolved well beyond the DEC-supplied version and is rightfully refered to with a separate name -- ITSTECO.

And yes, TECO did only work on one page at a time, but you could append more pages to the buffer, limited by the amount of memory available. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:58, 1 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the community I was in, which was MIT, "TECO" always meant ITS TECO. Which was forked way back on the PDP-1 (not PDP-10) by the way. The crappy old variety that other people used was called "DEC TECO". I also worked at BBN and other places, but by then only a few people used TECO at all. But they did refer to it as "ITS TECO". Two words. I never saw anyone use the ITS "TECO" program on other systems, so I don't know if there was an invocation named "ITSTECO". Because anyone with sense on a TENEX/TOPS-20 system just ran EMACS. However, there was a whole world of PDP-11 users in the real world, Unix or VMS, and I know some of them used DEC TECO and had never heard of nor referred to "ITS TECO". TOPS-10 people, I dunno. I don't remember if EMACS ran on TOPS-10. SAIL obviously knew about it, but they used "E", their "TV editor". Dicirnah (talk) 03:43, 20 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From what I hear, but this may be wrong, Bob Clements brought an early PDP-6 TECO over to DEC and this is what became "standard" (i.e. DEC) TECO. But I could well believe PDP-1 TECO had some influence as well.
Found this in Murphy's TECO paper Although there were numerous other ports for other machines in the following years, most of them were much more basic and similar to the PDP-1 version. Even the version of TECO included by DEC in its initial release of the PDP-10 (DecSystem-10) was more basic. Bob Clements (at DEC at the time) had taken a relatively early version of the PDP-6 AI TECO, stripped it down to remove things that were not available on most installations (e.g., the expensive CRT display) or to timesharing terminal users, and that became the version shipped by DEC on the PDP-10 and later PDP-6 installations. It was also the version that came into my hands when Bolt Beranek & Newman (BBN) got a PDP-10 (1969), which I would evolve from then through about 1986. Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 06:13, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
TECO was in use at SAIL, but not much after E came along I'm guessing. Lars Brinkhoff (talk) 12:14, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

About the definition of "Emacs" / the credibility of sources.[edit]

The first paragraph in this article refers to one person's work which is quoted in the references:

For an editor to be called “emacs” the main requirement is that it be fully extensible with a real programming language, not just a macro language.

Based upon this claim, the article states that Emacsen are "characterized by their extensibility". If this is taken seriously, both Acme (extensible with all programming languages which can write text into files over the 9P protocol) and Vim (can be compiled with various programming languages like Perl, Python and Racket) are Emacsen. I'm sure that this source should probably not be used to define what an Emacs is. Tuxman (talk) 17:50, 5 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I understand your point: not all extensible editors can be called Emacs. But "characterized by their extensibility" doesn't quite say that. Saying that Rolls-Royces are characterized by their comfort doesn't say that all comfortable cars are Rolls-Royces. --Macrakis (talk) 18:53, 5 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Doom Emacs / Spacemacs / Other Popular Configs[edit]

Should some mention be made of Doom Emacs / Spacemacs and other popular "distros" of Emacs be included? They seem to have gotten popular enough to be worth mentioning to me. If there are no objections within the next few week I might create a section describing Doom / Spacemacs / Prelude. Amolvaidya06 (talk) 03:22, 21 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]