GNU Emacs Installation Guide
Copyright (c) 1992, 1994 Free software Foundation, Inc.
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BUILDING AND INSTALLATION:
(This is for a Unix or Unix-like system. For MSDOS, see below; search
for MSDOG. For Windows NT or Windows 95, see the file nt/INSTALL.)
1) Make sure your system has enough swapping space allocated to handle
a program whose pure code is 900k bytes and whose data area is at
least 400k and can reach 8Mb or more. If the swapping space is
insufficient, you will get an error in the command `temacs -batch -l
loadup dump', found in `./src/Makefile.in', or possibly when
running the final dumped Emacs.
Building Emacs requires about 70 Mb of disk space (including the Emacs
sources). Once installed, Emacs occupies about 35 Mb in the file
system where it is installed; this includes the executable files, Lisp
libraries, miscellaneous data files, and on-line documentation. If
the building and installation take place in different directories,
then the installation procedure momentarily requires 70+35 Mb.
2) Consult `./etc/MACHINES' to see what configuration name you should
give to the `configure' program. That file offers hints for
getting around some possible installation problems.
3) In the top directory of the Emacs distribution, run the program
`configure' as follows:
./configure CONFIGURATION-NAME [--OPTION[=VALUE]] ...
The CONFIGURATION-NAME argument should be a configuration name given
in `./etc/MACHINES'. If omitted, `configure' will try to guess your
system type; if it cannot, you must find the appropriate configuration
name in `./etc/MACHINES' and specify it explicitly.
If you don't want X support, specify `--with-x=no'. If you omit this
option, `configure' will try to figure out for itself whether your
system has X, and arrange to use it if present.
The `--x-includes=DIR' and `--x-libraries=DIR' options tell the build
process where the compiler should look for the include files and
object libraries used with the X Window System. Normally, `configure'
is able to find them; these options are necessary if you have your X
Window System files installed in unusual places. These options also
accept a list of directories, separated with colons.
To get more attractive menus, you can specify an X toolkit when you
configure Emacs; use the option `--with-x-toolkit=TOOLKIT', where
TOOLKIT is `athena' or `motif' (`yes' and `lucid' are synonyms for
`athena'). On some systems, it does not work to use a toolkit with
The `--with-gcc' option specifies that the build process should
compile Emacs using GCC. If you don't want to use GCC, specify
`--with-gcc=no'. If you omit this option, `configure' will search
for GCC in your path, and use it if present.
You can build Emacs for several different machine types from a single
source directory. To do this, you must use a version of `make' that
supports the `VPATH' variable, such as GNU `make'. Make separate
build directories for the different configuration types, and in each
one, run the Emacs `configure' script. `configure' looks for the
Emacs source code in the directory that `configure' is in.
The `--prefix=PREFIXDIR' option specifies where the installation process
should put emacs and its data files. This defaults to `/usr/local'.
- Emacs (and the other utilities users run) go in PREFIXDIR/bin
(unless the `--exec-prefix' option says otherwise).
- The architecture-independent files go in PREFIXDIR/share/emacs/VERSION
(where VERSION is the version number of Emacs, like `19.27').
- The architecture-dependent files go in
(where CONFIGURATION is the configuration name, like mips-dec-ultrix4.2),
unless the `--exec-prefix' option says otherwise.
The `--exec-prefix=EXECDIR' option allows you to specify a separate
portion of the directory tree for installing architecture-specific
files, like executables and utility programs. If specified,
- Emacs (and the other utilities users run) go in EXECDIR/bin, and
- The architecture-dependent files go in
EXECDIR/bin should be a directory that is normally in users' PATHs.
For example, the command
./configure mips-dec-ultrix --with-x11
configures Emacs to build for a DECstation running Ultrix, with
support for the X11 window system.
`configure' doesn't do any compilation or installation
itself. It just creates the files that influence those things:
`./Makefile', `lib-src/Makefile', `oldXMenu/Makefile',
`lwlib/Makefile', `src/Makefile', and `./src/config.h'. For details
on exactly what it does, see the section called `CONFIGURATION BY
When it is done, `configure' prints a description of what it did and
creates a shell script `config.status' which, when run, recreates the
same configuration. If `configure' exits with an error after
disturbing the status quo, it removes `config.status'. `configure'
also creates a file `config.cache' that saves the results of its tests
to make reconfiguring faster, and a file `config.log' containing compiler
output (useful mainly for debugging `configure'). You can give
`configure' the option `--cache-file=FILE' to use the results of the
tests in FILE instead of `config.cache'. Set FILE to `/dev/null' to
disable caching, for debugging `configure'.
The work of `configure' can be done by editing various files in the
distribution, but using `configure' is supposed to be simpler. See
the section called "CONFIGURATION BY HAND" below if you want to do the
4) Look at `./lisp/paths.el'; if some of those values are not right
for your system, set up the file `./lisp/site-init.el' with Emacs
Lisp code to override them; it is not a good idea to edit paths.el
itself. YOU MUST USE THE LISP FUNCTION `setq' TO ASSIGN VALUES,
rather than `defvar', as used by `./lisp/paths.el'. For example,
(setq news-inews-program "/usr/bin/inews")
is how you would override the default value of the variable
news-inews-program (which is "/usr/local/inews").
Before you override a variable this way, *look at the value* that the
variable gets by default! Make sure you know what kind of value the
variable should have. If you don't pay attention to what you are
doing, you'll make a mistake.
5) Put into `./lisp/site-init.el' or `./lisp/site-load.el' any Emacs
Lisp code you want Emacs to load before it is dumped out. Use
site-load.el for additional libraries if you arrange for their
documentation strings to be in the etc/DOC file (see
src/Makefile.in if you wish to figure out how to do that). For all
else, use site-init.el.
If you set load-path to a different value in site-init.el or
site-load.el, Emacs will use *precisely* that value when it starts up
again. If you do this, you are on your own!
Note that, on some systems, the code you place in site-init.el must
not use expand-file-name or any other function which may look
something up in the system's password and user information database.
See `./PROBLEMS' for more details on which systems this affects.
The `site-*.el' files are nonexistent in the distribution. You do not
need to create them if you have nothing to put in them.
6) Refer to the file `./etc/TERMS' for information on fields you may
wish to add to various termcap entries. The files `./etc/termcap.ucb'
and `./etc/termcap.dat' may already contain appropriately-modified
7) Run `make' in the top directory of the Emacs distribution to finish
building Emacs in the standard way. The final executable file is
named `src/emacs'. You can execute this file "in place" without
copying it, if you wish; then it automatically uses the sibling
directories ../lisp, ../lib-src, ../info.
Or you can "install" the executable and the other Emacs into their
installed locations, with `make install'. By default, Emacs's files
are installed in the following directories:
`/usr/local/bin' holds the executable programs users normally run -
`emacs', `etags', `ctags', `b2m', `emacsclient',
`/usr/local/share/emacs/VERSION/lisp' holds the Emacs Lisp library;
`VERSION' stands for the number of the Emacs version
you are installing, like `18.59' or `19.27'. Since the
Lisp library changes from one version of Emacs to
another, including the version number in the path
allows you to have several versions of Emacs installed
at the same time; in particular, you don't have to
make Emacs unavailable while installing a new version.
`/usr/local/share/emacs/VERSION/site-lisp' holds the local Emacs Lisp
files installed for Emacs version VERSION only.
`/usr/local/share/emacs/site-lisp' holds the local Emacs Lisp
files installed for all Emacs versions.
When Emacs is installed, it searches for its Lisp files
in `/usr/local/share/emacs/VERSION/site-lisp', then in
`/usr/local/share/emacs/site-lisp', and finally in
`/usr/local/share/emacs/VERSION/etc' holds the Emacs tutorial, the DOC
file, the `yow' database, and other
architecture-independent files Emacs might need while
running. VERSION is as specified for `.../lisp'.
`/usr/local/com/emacs/lock' contains files indicating who is editing
what, so Emacs can detect editing clashes between
`/usr/local/libexec/emacs/VERSION/CONFIGURATION-NAME' contains executable
programs used by Emacs that users are not expected to
`VERSION' is the number of the Emacs version you are
installing, and `CONFIGURATION-NAME' is the argument
you gave to the `configure' program to identify the
architecture and operating system of your machine,
like `mips-dec-ultrix' or `sparc-sun-sunos'. Since
these files are specific to the version of Emacs,
operating system, and architecture in use, including
the configuration name in the path allows you to have
several versions of Emacs for any mix of machines and
operating systems installed at the same time; this is
useful for sites at which different kinds of machines
share the file system Emacs is installed on.
`/usr/local/info' holds the on-line documentation for Emacs, known as
"info files". Many other GNU programs are documented
using info files as well, so this directory stands
apart from the other, Emacs-specific directories.
`/usr/local/man/man1' holds the man pages for the programs installed
If these directories are not what you want, you can specify where to
install Emacs's libraries and data files or where Emacs should search
for its Lisp files by giving values for `make' variables as part of
the command. See the section below called `MAKE VARIABLES' for more
information on this.
8) Check the file `dir' in your site's info directory (usually
/usr/local/info) to make sure that it has a menu entry for the Emacs
9) If your system uses lock files to interlock access to mailer inbox files,
then you might need to make the movemail program setuid or setgid
to enable it to write the lock files. We believe this is safe.
10) You are done! You can remove executables and object files from
the build directory by typing `make clean'. To also remove the files
that `configure' created (so you can compile Emacs for a different
configuration), type `make distclean'.
You can change where the build process installs Emacs and its data
files by specifying values for `make' variables as part of the `make'
command line. For example, if you type
make install bindir=/usr/local/gnubin
the `bindir=/usr/local/gnubin' argument indicates that the Emacs
executable files should go in `/usr/local/gnubin', not
Here is a complete list of the variables you may want to set.
`bindir' indicates where to put executable programs that users can
run. This defaults to /usr/local/bin.
`datadir' indicates where to put the architecture-independent
read-only data files that Emacs refers to while it runs; it
defaults to /usr/local/share. We create the following
subdirectories under `datadir':
- `emacs/VERSION/lisp', containing the Emacs Lisp library, and
- `emacs/VERSION/etc', containing the Emacs tutorial, the DOC
file, and the `yow' database.
`VERSION' is the number of the Emacs version you are installing,
like `18.59' or `19.0'. Since these files vary from one version
of Emacs to another, including the version number in the path
allows you to have several versions of Emacs installed at the
same time; this means that you don't have to make Emacs
unavailable while installing a new version.
`sharedstatedir' indicates where to put architecture-independent data files
that Emacs modifies while it runs; it defaults to
/usr/local/com. We create the following
subdirectories under `sharedstatedir':
- `emacs/lock', containing files indicating who is editing
what, so Emacs can detect editing clashes between
`libexecdir' indicates where to put architecture-specific data files that
Emacs refers to as it runs; it defaults to `/usr/local/libexec'.
We create the following subdirectories under `libexecdir':
- `emacs/VERSION/CONFIGURATION-NAME', containing executable
programs used by Emacs that users are not expected to run
`VERSION' is the number of the Emacs version you are installing,
and `CONFIGURATION-NAME' is the argument you gave to the
`configure' program to identify the architecture and operating
system of your machine, like `mips-dec-ultrix' or
`sparc-sun-sunos'. Since these files are specific to the version
of Emacs, operating system, and architecture in use, including
the configuration name in the path allows you to have several
versions of Emacs for any mix of machines and operating systems
installed at the same time; this is useful for sites at which
different kinds of machines share the file system Emacs is
`infodir' indicates where to put the info files distributed with
Emacs; it defaults to `/usr/local/info'.
`mandir' indicates where to put the man pages for Emacs and its
utilities (like `etags'); it defaults to
`manext' gives the extension the man pages should be installed with.
It should contain a period, followed by the appropriate
digit. It defaults to `.1'. For example given the default
values for `mandir' and `manext', the Emacs man page would be
installed as `/usr/local/man/man1/emacs.1'.
`prefix' doesn't give a path for any specific part of Emacs; instead,
its value is used to determine the defaults for all the
architecture-independent path variables - `datadir',
`sharedstatedir', `infodir', and `mandir'. Its default value is
`/usr/local'; the other variables add on `lib' or `man' to it
For example, suppose your site generally places GNU software
under `/usr/users/software/gnusoft' instead of `/usr/local'.
in the arguments to `make', you can instruct the build process
to place all of the Emacs data files in the appropriate
directories under that path.
`exec_prefix' serves the same purpose as `prefix', but instead
determines the default values for the architecture-dependent
path variables - `bindir' and `libexecdir'.
The above variables serve analogous purposes in the makefiles for all
GNU software; here are some variables specific to Emacs.
`lispdir' indicates where Emacs installs and expects its Lisp library.
Its default value, based on `datadir' (see above), is
`/usr/local/share/emacs/VERSION/lisp' (where `VERSION' is as
`locallisppath' indicates where Emacs should search for Lisp files
specific to your site. It should be a colon-separated list of
directories; Emacs checks them in order before checking
`lispdir'. Its default value, based on `datadir' (see above), is
`lisppath' is the complete list of directories Emacs should search for
its Lisp files; its default value is the concatenation of
`locallisppath' and `lispdir'. It should be a colon-separated
list of directories; Emacs checks them in the order they
`etcdir' indicates where Emacs should install and expect the rest of
its architecture-independent data, like the tutorial, DOC
file, and yow database. Its default value, based on `datadir'
(which see), is `/usr/local/share/emacs/VERSION/etc'.
`lockdir' indicates the directory where Emacs keeps track of its
locking information. Its default value, based on
`sharedstatedir' (which see), is `/usr/local/com/emacs/lock'.
`archlibdir' indicates where Emacs installs and expects the executable
files and other architecture-dependent data it uses while
running. Its default value, based on `libexecdir' (which
see), is `/usr/local/libexec/emacs/VERSION/CONFIGURATION-NAME'
(where VERSION and CONFIGURATION-NAME are as described above).
Remember that you must specify any variable values you need each time
you run `make' in the top directory. If you run `make' once to build
emacs, test it, and then run `make' again to install the files, you
must provide the same variable settings each time. To make the
settings persist, you can edit them into the `Makefile' in the top
directory, but be aware that running the `configure' program erases
`Makefile' and rebuilds it from `Makefile.in'.
The top-level Makefile stores the variable settings it used in the
Makefiles for the subdirectories, so you don't have to specify them
when running make in the subdirectories.
CONFIGURATION BY HAND
Instead of running the `configure' program, you have to perform the
1) Copy `./src/config.in' to `./src/config.h'.
2) Consult `./etc/MACHINES' to see what configuration name you should
use for your system. Look at the code of the `configure' script to
see which operating system and architecture description files from
`src/s' and `src/m' should be used for that configuration name. Edit
`src/config.h', and change the two `#include' directives to include
the appropriate system and architecture description files.
2) Edit `./src/config.h' to set the right options for your system. If
you need to override any of the definitions in the s/*.h and m/*.h
files for your system and machine, do so by editing config.h, not by
changing the s/*.h and m/*.h files. Occasionally you may need to
redefine parameters used in `./lib-src/movemail.c'.
3) Create src/Makefile and lib-src/Makefile from the corresponding
`Makefile.in' files. First copy `Makefile.in' to `Makefile.c',
then edit in appropriate substitutions for the @...@ constructs,
and then copy the shell commands near the end of `configure'
that run cpp to construct `Makefile'.
4) Create `Makefile' files in various other directories
from the corresponding `Makefile.in' files. This isn't so hard,
just a matter of substitution.
The `configure' script is built from `configure.in' by the `autoconf'
program. You need version 2.0 or newer of `autoconf' to rebuild `configure'.
BUILDING GNU EMACS BY HAND
Once Emacs is configured, running `make' in the top directory performs
the following steps.
1) Run `make src/paths.h' in the top directory. This produces
`./src/paths.h' from the template file `./src/paths.in', changing
the paths to the values specified in `./Makefile'.
2) Go to directory `./lib-src' and run `make'. This creates
executables named `ctags' and `etags' and `wakeup' and `make-docfile'
and `digest-doc' and `test-distrib'. And others.
3) Go to directory `./src' and Run `make'. This refers to files in
the `./lisp' and `./lib-src' subdirectories using names `../lisp' and
This creates a file `./src/emacs' which is the runnable Emacs,
which has another name that contains a version number.
Each time you do this, that version number increments in the last place.
It also creates a file in `./etc' whose name is `DOC' followed by the
current Emacs version. This file contains documentation strings for
all the functions in Emacs. Each time you run make to make a new
emacs, a new DOC file with a new name is made. You must keep the DOC
file for an Emacs version as long as you keep using that Emacs
INSTALLATION BY HAND
The steps below are done by running `make install' in the main
directory of the Emacs distribution.
1) Copy `./lisp' and its subdirectories, `./etc', and the executables
in `./lib-src' to their final destinations, as selected in `./src/paths.h'.
Strictly speaking, not all of the executables in `./lib-src' need be copied.
- The programs `cvtmail', `emacsserver', `fakemail', `hexl',
`movemail', `profile', `rcs2log', `timer', `vcdiff', `wakeup',
and `yow' are used by Emacs; they do need to be copied.
- The programs `etags', `ctags', `emacsclient', `b2m', and `rcs-checkin'
are intended to be run by users; they are handled below.
- The programs `make-docfile' and `test-distrib' were
used in building Emacs, and are not needed any more.
- The programs `digest-doc' and `sorted-doc' convert a `DOC' file into
a file for users to read. There is no important reason to move them.
2) Copy the files in `./info' to the place specified in
`./lisp/site-init.el' or `./lisp/paths.el'. Note that if the
destination directory already contains a file named `dir', you
probably don't want to replace it with the `dir' file in the Emacs
distribution. Instead, you should make sure that the existing `dir'
file contains an appropriate menu entry for the Emacs info.
3) Create a directory for Emacs to use for clash detection, named as
indicated by the PATH_LOCK macro in `./src/paths.h'.
4) Copy `./src/emacs' to `/usr/local/bin', or to some other directory
in users' search paths. `./src/emacs' has an alternate name
`./src/emacs-EMACSVERSION'; you may wish to make a symbolic link named
`/usr/local/bin/emacs' pointing to that alternate name, as an easy way
of installing different versions.
You can delete `./src/temacs'.
5) Copy the programs `b2m', `emacsclient', `ctags', `etags', and
`rcs-checkin' from `./lib-src' to `/usr/local/bin'. These programs are
intended for users to run.
6) Copy the man pages in `./etc' for emacs, ctags, and etags into the
appropriate man directories.
7) The files in the `./src' subdirectory, except for `emacs', are not
used by Emacs once it is built. However, it is very desirable to keep
the source on line for debugging.
See the file PROBLEMS in this directory for a list of various
problems sometimes encountered, and what to do about them.
Installation on MSDOG (a.k.a. MSDOS)
To install on MSDOG, you need to have the GNU C compiler for MSDOG
(also known as djgpp), GNU Make, rm, mv, and sed. See the remarks in
config.bat for more information about locations and versions. The
file etc/FAQ includes pointers to Internet sites where you can find
the necessary utilities; search for "MS-DOS". The configuration step
(see below) will test for these utilities and will refuse to continue
if any of them isn't found.
If you are building the MSDOG version of Emacs on an MSDOG-like system
which supports long file names (e.g. Windows 95), you need to make
sure that long file names are handled consistently both when you
unpack the distribution and compile it. If you intend to compile with
DJGPP v2.0 or later, and long file names support is enabled (LFN=y in
the environment), you need to unpack Emacs distribution in a way that
doesn't truncate the original long filenames to the DOS 8.3 namespace;
the easiest way to do this is to use djtar program which comes with
DJGPP, since it will note the LFN setting and behave accordingly.
DJGPP v1 doesn't support long filenames, so you must unpack Emacs with
a program that truncates the filenames to 8.3 naming as it extracts
files; again, using djtar after setting LFN=n is the recommended way.
You can build Emacs with LFN=n even if you use DJGPP v2, if some of
your tools don't support long file names: just ensure that LFN is set
to `n' during both unpacking and compiling.
(By the time you read this, you have already unpacked the Emacs
distribution, but if the explanations above imply that you should have
done it differently, it's safer to delete the directory tree created
by the unpacking program and unpack Emacs again, than to risk running
into problems during the build process.)
It is important to understand that the runtime support of long file
names by the Emacs binary is NOT affected by the LFN setting during
compilation; Emacs compiled with DJGPP v2.0 or later will always
support long file names on Windows 95 no matter what was the setting
of LFN at compile time.
To unpack Emacs with djtar, type this command:
djtar -x emacs.tgz
(This assumes that the Emacs distribution is called `emacs.tgz' on
your system.) There are a few files in the archive whose names
collide with other files under the 8.3 DOS naming. If you have set
LFN=n, djtar will ask you to supply alternate names for these files;
you can just press `Enter' when this happens (which makes djtar skip
these files) because they aren't required for MS-DOS.
When unpacking is done, a directory called `emacs-XX.YY' will be
created, where XX.YY is the Emacs version. To build and install
Emacs, chdir to that directory and type these commands:
Building Emacs creates executable files in the src and lib-src
directories. Installing Emacs on MSDOS moves these executables to a
sibling directory called bin. For example, if you build in directory
/emacs, installing moves the executables from /emacs/src and
/emacs/lib-src to the directory /emacs/bin, so you can then delete the
subdirectories /emacs/src and /emacs/lib-src if you wish. The only
subdirectories you need to keep are bin, lisp, etc and info. The bin
subdirectory should be added to your PATH. The msdos subdirectory
includes a PIF and an icon file for Emacs which you might find useful
if you run Emacs under MS Windows.
Emacs on MSDOS finds the lisp, etc and info directories by looking in
../lisp, ../etc and ../info, starting from the directory where the
Emacs executable was run from. You can override this by setting the
environment variable HOME; if you do that, the directories lisp, etc
and info are accessed as subdirectories of the HOME directory.
MSDOG is a not a multitasking operating system, so Emacs features such
as asynchronous subprocesses that depend on multitasking will not
work. Synchronous subprocesses do work.