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xemacs-beta / README.packages

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The XEmacs Packages Quick Start Guide

This text is intended to help you get started installing a new XEmacs
and its packages from start.  For details see the 'Startup Paths' and
'Packages' sections of the XEmacs info manual.

* Real Real Quickstart FAQ

Q. Do I need to have the packages to compile XEmacs?
A. No, XEmacs will build and install just fine without any packages
   installed.  However, only the most basic editing functions will be
   available with no packages installed, so installing packages is an
   essential part of making your installed XEmacs _useful_.

Q. I really liked the old way that packages were bundled and do not
   want to mess with packages at all.
A. You can grab all the packages at once like you used to with old
   XEmacs versions, skip to the 'Sumo Tarball' section below.

Q. After installing, I want XEmacs to do `foo', but when I invoke it
   (or click the toolbar button or select the menu item), nothing (or
   an error) happens, and it used to work.
A. See the first FAQ; you may be missing a package that is essential to
   you.  You can either track it down and install it, or install the
   `Sumo Tarball' (see the second FAQ).

* A note of caution

The XEmacs package system is still in its infancy. Please expect a few
minor hurdles on the way. Also neither the interface nor the structure is
set in stone. The XEmacs maintainers reserve the right to sacrifice
backwards compatibility as quirks are worked out over the coming

* Some Package Theory

In order to reduce the size and increase the maintainability of XEmacs,
the majority of the Elisp packages that came with previous releases
have been unbundled. They have been replaced by the package system.
Each elisp add-on (or groups of them when they are small) now comes
in its own tarball that contains a small search hierarchy.

You select just the ones you need. Install them by untarring them into
the right place. On startup XEmacs will find them, set up the load
path correctly, install autoloads, etc, etc.

* Package hierarchies

On Startup XEmacs looks for packages in so called package hierarchies.
These can be specified by the 'package-path' parameter to the
'configure' script. However by default there are three system wide
hierarchies. ("$prefix" defaults to "/usr/local")

     Normal packages go here.

     Mule packages go here and are only searched by MULE-enabled XEmacsen.

     Local and 3rd party packages go here.

* Where to get the packages

Packages are available from ftp://ftp.xemacs.org/pub/xemacs/packages
and its mirrors.

* How to install the packages
There are a few different ways to install packages:

	1. Manually, all at once, using the 'Sumo Tarball'.
	2. Manually, using individual package tarballs.
	3. Automatically, using the package tools from XEmacs.

** Manually, all at once, using the 'Sumo Tarball'

Those with little time, cheap connections and plenty of disk space can
install all the packages at once using the sumo tarballs.
Download the file:


For an XEmacs compiled with Mule you also need:


N.B. They are called 'Sumo Tarballs' for good reason. They are
currently about 19MB and 4.5MB (gzipped) respectively.

Install them by:

   cd $prefix/lib/xemacs ; gunzip -c <tarballname> | tar xvf - RET

Or, if you have GNU tar:

   cd $prefix/lib/xemacs ; tar zxvf /path/to/<tarballname> RET

As the Sumo tarballs are not regenerated as often as the individual
packages, it is recommended that you use the automatic package tools
afterwards to pick up any recent updates.

** Manually, using individual package tarballs

Fetch the packages from the FTP site, CD-ROM whatever. The filenames
have the form name-<version>-pkg.tar.gz and are gzipped tar files. For
a fresh install it is sufficient to untar the file at the top of the
package hierarchy. 

Note: If you are upgrading packages already installed, it's best to
remove the old package first (see 'Upgrading/Removing Packages' below).

For example if we are installing the 'xemacs-base'
package (version 1.48):

   mkdir $prefix/lib/xemacs/xemacs-packages RET # if it does not exist yet
   cd $prefix/lib/xemacs/xemacs-packages RET
   gunzip -c /path/to/xemacs-base-1.48-pkg.tar.gz | tar xvf - RET

Or if you have GNU tar, the last step can be:

   tar zxvf /path/to/xemacs-base-1.48-pkg.tar.gz RET

For MULE related packages, it is best to untar into the mule-packages
hierarchy, i.e. for the mule-base package, version 1.37:

   mkdir $prefix/lib/xemacs/mule-packages RET # if it does not exist yet
   cd $prefix/lib/xemacs/mule-packages RET
   gunzip -c /path/to/mule-base-1.37-pkg.tar.gz | tar xvf - RET

Or if you have GNU tar, the last step can be:

   tar zxvf /path/to/mule-base-1.37-pkg.tar.gz RET

** Automatically, using the package tools from XEmacs

XEmacs comes with some tools to make the periodic updating and
installing easier. It will notice if new packages or versions are
available and will fetch them from the FTP site.

Unfortunately this requires that a few packages are already in place.
You will have to install them by hand as above or use a SUMO tarball.
This requirement will hopefully go away in the future. The packages
you need are:

   efs          - To fetch the files from the FTP site or mirrors.
   xemacs-base  - Needed by efs.

and optionally:

   mule-base    - Needed if you want to use XEmacs with MULE.

After installing these by hand, fire up XEmacs and follow these

Note: The menus in XEmacs 21.2.x and up have changed slightly, so
where I mention "Options -> Manage Packages", substitute "Tools ->

  (1) Choose a download site.
      - via menu: Options -> Manages Packages -> Add Download Site 
      - via keyb: M-x customize-variable RET package-get-remote RET
        (put in the details of remote host and directory)

      If the package tarballs _AND_ the package-index file are in a
      local directory, you can: M-x pui-add-install-directory RET

  (2) Obtain a list of packages and display the list in a buffer named
      - menu: Options -> Manage Packages -> List & Install
      - keyb: M-x pui-list-packages RET

      XEmacs will now connect to the remote site and download the
      latest package-index file.  If you see an error about the
      package-index entries not being PGP signed, you can safely
      ignore this because PGP has not been integrated into the XEmacs
      package tools yet.

      The resulting buffer, "*Packages*" has brief instructions at the
      end of the buffer.

  (3) Choose the packages you wish to install.
      - mouse: Click button 2 on the package name.
      -  keyb: RET on the package name

  (4) Make sure you have everything you need.
      - menu: Packages -> Add Required
      - keyb: r

      XEmacs will now search for packages that are required by the
      ones that you have chosen to install and offer to select
      those packages also.

      For novices and gurus alike, this step can save your bacon.
      It's easy to forget to install a critical package.

  (5) Download and install the packages.
      - menu: Packages -> Install/Remove Selected
      - keyb: x

* After Installation

New packages can only be used by XEmacs after a restart.

* Which Packages to install?

This is difficult to say. When in doubt install a package. If you
administrate a big site it might be a good idea to just install
everything. A good minimal set of packages for XEmacs-latin1 would be

xemacs-base, xemacs-devel, c-support, cc-mode, debug, dired, efs,
edit-utils, fsf-compat, mail-lib, net-utils, os-utils, prog-modes,
text-modes, time

If you are using the XEmacs package tools, don't forget to do:

	Packages -> Add Required

To make sure you have everything that the packages you have chosen to
install need.

See also '.../etc/PACKAGES' for further descriptions of the individual

* Upgrading/Removing Packages

As the exact files and their locations contained in a package may
change it is recommended to remove a package first before installing a
new version. In order to facilitate removal each package contains an
pgkinfo/MANIFEST.pkgname file which list all the files belong to the
package. M-x package-admin-delete-binary-package RET can be used to
remove a package using this file.

Note that the interactive package tools included with XEmacs already do
this for you.

* User Package directories

In addition to the system wide packages, each user can have his own
packages installed in "~/.xemacs/xemacs-packages". If you want to
install packages there using the interactive tools, you need to set
'pui-package-install-dest-dir' to "~/.xemacs/xemacs-packages"

* Site lisp/Site start

The site-packages hierarchy replaces the old 'site-lisp' directory.
XEmacs no longer looks into a 'site-lisp' directly by default.
A good place to put 'site-start.el' would be in

* Finding the right packages

If you want to find out which package contains the functionality you
are looking for, use M-x package-get-package-provider, and give it a
symbol that is likely to be in that package.  

For example, if some code you want to use has a (require 'thingatpt)
in it:

	M-x package-get-package-provider RET thingatpt RET

which will return something like: (fsf-compat "1.08").