XEmacs Installation Guide
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Copyright (c) 1994-1999, 2003, 2008, 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
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BUILDING AND INSTALLATION FOR UNIX AND CYGWIN
(for Microsoft Windows, see nt/README also.)
This file is in the process of revision. Some random information that didn't
fit elsewhere is appended to the end of the file.
Modern systems generally have more than enough RAM and virtual memory to run
XEmacs well. If you run into an "insufficient memory" error when building
or on the first execution, see the 'PROBLEMS' file. Insufficient stack
space is a separate problem, also addressed in 'PROBLEMS'.
Building XEmacs requires about 100 Mb of disk space (including the XEmacs
sources). Once installed, XEmacs occupies about 200 MB in the file system
where it is installed, including the executable files, Lisp libraries,
miscellaneous data files, and on-line documentation.
XEmacs requires an ANSI C compiler, such as GCC. If you wish to build the
documentation yourself, you will need at least version 1.68 of makeinfo (GNU
texinfo-3.11). GNU Texinfo 4.2 is strongly recommended; it is necessary for
building Lisp packages, and we may move to it for the core.
Since you are reading this, we assume you have already acquired XEmacs in
source form, and the packages as tarballs. If not, see www.xemacs.org.
Building and installing XEmacs from source can be as simple as
cd /usr/local/src/xemacs; ./configure; make; make install
followed by installing the packages
mkdir -p /usr/local/share/xemacs
tar xzf /tmp/xemacs-sumo.tar.gz
However, this depends on the presence of relevant development resources on
your system, and there are a few frequently used features that are not built
in by default. To build XEmacs incorporating such features, the steps
required are exactly as above, except that you need to start by confirming
the availability of required libraries and headers, and select them by
invoking configure with the appropriate options.
A note on terminology: unfortunately the terms "library" and "package" are
heavily overloaded. In this section, "library" refers to an external body of
executable code which may be linked with XEmacs at build time to provide
support for system features, such as images, audio, stream compression,
databases, and input methods. Libraries must be available when XEmacs is
built. A "module" is also a dynamically loadable library, but it is built
from the XEmacs sources, after the XEmacs executable is built.
We assume that your system has a GUI windowing system, specifically X11 (the
X Window System) or Microsoft Windows. XEmacs can also use various toolkits
and widget kits for X11, including Xt, GTK+/GNOME, and CDE, depending on
platform. If you don't have a window system installed, XEmacs will be built
only with terminal support. (For unreleased ports to Qt/KDE and Mac OS X,
ask on the email@example.com mailing list.)
XEmacs can use a large number of additional libraries that are commonly
available in many operating system distributions. Many are also available as
open source distributions. These include:
An alternative to the Xt toolkit on X11-based window systems. GNOME
is the desktop environment usually used with GTK+.
Xaw3d, XawNeXT, XawXPM, Xaw95:
Variants on the basic Athena widgets, which change the "look and feel"
of XEmacs built using the Xt toolkit.
Motif, CDE, Tooltalk:
Mostly useful on Solaris systems (CDE and Tooltalk may be obsolete).
Motif may be substituted for the Athena widgets on most systems
XPM, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, compface:
Image format libraries. XPM and PNG are almost essential (they are
used to display parts of the XEmacs GUI).
Supports gzip compression and decompression.
An old system for passing firewalls (may be obsolete).
Multiple precision arithmetic libraries ("bignums") from GNU and BSD.
curses, ncurses, termcap:
Character-based terminal support.
ALSA, OSS, ESD, NAS:
Various systems for audio output.
Canna, SJ3, Wnn:
Input systems for Japanese. (XEmacs accesses these libraries directly
rather than through more modern protocols such ibus and IIIMF. XEmacs
can use XIM, but that is now considered obsolete.)
GNU DBM, Berkeley DB, PostgreSQL, LDAP.
WARNING: In many distributions, you may have the necessary libraries
installed, but not the "header files" which provide the APIs used by XEmacs
to link to the libraries. Such distributions provide additional packages,
usually given names ending in "-dev" or "-devel", to supply the header files.
XEmacs looks only in the default system directories for header files and
libraries. This will be sufficient unless you have built and installed
libraries yourself, or you use an add-on package manager like MacPorts on Mac
OS X. In this case you will need to supply the "--with-site-prefixes"
option, setting it to the root of the installation of such packages. Eg, the
most common setting is "--with-site-prefixes=/usr/local", which tells the
build process to search for headers in "/usr/local/include" for libraries
under "/usr/local/lib". (Use a colon to separate multiple directories.)
If you need help installing additional libraries and header files, the best
resource is the help channels for your OS distribution. If that doesn't
help, or you think you have the right files installed but the built XEmacs
doesn't seem to have all the corresponding features, check with the newsgroup
'comp.emacs.xemacs' or the mailing list 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.
SELECTING CONFIGURE OPTIONS
Options are generally of the form `--with-FEATURE' to use a feature or
`--without-FEATURE' to not use a feature. (Unlike the `configure' program
used in other applications, either `--with-FEATURE' or `--enable-FEATURE' can
be used to enable the same feature.)
To get a long list of options and usage for the `configure' script, use
`./configure --help' (piped to less if you prefer that to scrolling your
Each option's explanation says what its default is. For Boolean options, the
default may be "yes", "no", or "auto". If the default is "no", the feature
will not be included, and if any option that depends on it is enabled,
configure will fail with a fatal error. If the default is "yes", the feature
will be included, and configure will fail with a fatal error if any required
headers or libraries cannot be found. If the default is "auto", the feature
will be included if configure can find the needed headers and libraries.
Even if a feature's default is "auto", it is useful to explicitly request its
configuration. If the necessary headers or libraries aren't found, configure
will fail loudly instead of silently configuring an XEmacs without your
Configuring the Installation Locations
Often the default location for the XEmacs installation ("/usr/local") is
appropriate. If you prefer to put the installation somewhere else, use the
`--prefix' option, such as `--prefix=/opt/local/xemacs'.
As of late 2011, XEmacs is transitioning from the traditional "$prefix/lib"
location to the FHS-conforming location "$prefix/share" for packages. If you
already have packages installed under, say, "/usr/local/lib" and would prefer
not to move them, use `--with-system-packages=/usr/local/lib/xemacs'. (The
value of this option should be the name of the directory containing the
"xemacs-packages", "mule-packages", and/or "site-packages" hierarchies.)
The standard configuration of XEmacs builds in absolute paths for its various
support files. It is possible to make the XEmacs installation relocatable by
using the option `--without-prefix'. Then all paths are computed at runtime
relative to the "bin" directory where the XEmacs executable is located.
There are a plethora of additional options for controlling exactly where
different parts of XEmacs are installed. We *strongly* recommend sticking
with the standard layout, except as just described. If you want to
experiment, these additional configure options are described in a later
The `--with-mule' option enables MUlti-Lingual Emacs (Mule) support,
needed to support non-Latin-1 (including Asian) languages. Mule
support is required for Asian language and Unicode (multibyte and wide
character) support. With the advent of the Euro and European
Community expansion, Mule support is also recommended for Western
Europeans. Enabling Mule support requires the mule-base package
installed prior to building XEmacs. The `--with-xim', --with-xfs',
`--with-canna', `--with-wnn' and `--with-wnn6' options require
Mule support. (Default: no.)
The `--with-canna' option enables the use of the Canna Japanese input method.
This is stable code and fairly well tested. In order to use it, you will
have to have the Canna server installed and running. Canna versions 3.2pl2,
3.5b2, and 3.7p3 are known to work. Version 3.2pl2 is considered more stable
than version 3.5b2; the stability of 3.7p3 is still unknown. If Canna is
already installed, configure will autodetect it, so you never need to
explicitly use this option unless your Canna libraries are somewhere strange.
Canna run time support is currently bundled with the `mule-base' package so
there is nothing additional to install in order to use it. NOTE TO OEMS: If
modules are supported and enabled, the libcanna API support will be build as
a module. (Default: no.)
The `--with-wnn' and `--with-wnn6' options are for compiling with the Wnn
multi-language input method. `--with-wnn' is for compiling with Wnn-4.2, the
Free version of WNN. `--with-wnn6' is for compiling against WNN6, the
commercial version of WNN available from OMRON Corporation. This is stable
code and fairly well tested. In order to build with this option, you will
need to have the `egg-its' lisp package already installed. (Default: no.)
The `--with-xim' option enables use of the X11 XIM mechanism to allow an
input method to input text into XEmacs. The input method is shared among all
the X applications sharing an X display and using the same language. The XIM
support comes in two flavors: `motif' and `xlib'. The Motif support (the
XmIm* functions) is preferred when available. The XIM support defaults to
`no' except when Motif is detected where it is stable with OSF libraries.
The XIM support in Lesstif (a Free Motif replacement) does not work as of
v0.82. If you enable this option, you will probably wish to install the
`locale' package which contains localized Splash screens and Menubars.
(This option is deprecated and will be removed.) The `--with-xfs' option
enables use of a multilingual Menubar. At the present time, only Japanese
and French locales are supported. In order to use a multilingual Menubar you
must have the `locale' package installed. The `locale' package does not have
to be installed when building XEmacs. (Default: no.)
Please note that it is safe to build with as many of the options
`--with-xim', `--with-canna' and `--with-wnn' as your system
Configuring the Window System
If you prefer the GTK+ look and feel to Xt, specify `--with-gtk'. You can
also enable support for some GNOME desktop features with `--with-gnome'. You
cannot use both GTK+ and Xt at the same time.
If you don't want X Window System support at all, specify `--without-x'. If
you omit this option, `configure' will try to autodetect whether your system
has X Window System support, and arrange to use it if present.
On Cygwin, you can configure support for the "native" MS Windows GUI with
`--with-msw'. XEmacs supports both `--with-msw' and `--with-x' at the same
The `--with-menubars=TYPE' option allows you to specify which X
toolkit you wish to use for the menubar. The valid options are
`lucid', `motif' and `no'. The default is `lucid' which is a
Motif-lookalike menubar. We highly recommend its usage over the real
Motif menubar. (In fact, the Motif menubar is currently broken.) If
`no' is specified then support for menubars will not be compiled in.
The `--with-scrollbars=TYPE' option allows you to specify which X toolkit you
wish to use for the scrollbars. The valid options are `lucid', `motif',
`athena', and `no'. The default is `lucid' which is a Motif-lookalike
scrollbar. If `no' is specified then support for scrollbars will not be
The `--with-dialogs=TYPE' option allows you to specify which X toolkit you
wish to use for the dialog boxes. The valid options are `athena', `motif,
and `no. The `lucid' option is accepted and will result in the `athena'
toolkit being used. If the Motif toolkit can be found the default is
`motif'. Otherwise, the default is `athena'. If `no' is specified then
support for dialog boxes will not be compiled in.
The `--with-toolbars' option allows you to enable or disable toolbar
support. The default is `yes' if support for a windowing system is
The `--with-dragndrop' option compiles in the generic drag and drop API.
This is automatically added if one of the drag and drop protocols is found
(currently CDE, MSWindows, and GTK). *WARNING* The Drag'n'drop support is
under development and is considered experimental.
The `--with-xpm' option specifies that XEmacs should support X11
Pixmaps. (Default: auto.)
The `--with-xface' option specifies that XEmacs should support
X-Faces. (Default: auto.)
The `--with-database' option specifies that XEmacs should be built with
simple database support. The valid options are `no' or a comma-separated
list of one or more of `dbm', `gnudbm' or `berkdb'. (Default: auto.)
The `--with-postgresql' option specifies that XEmacs should be built with
PostgreSQL support, linking with libpq. (Default: auto.) NOTE TO OEMS: If
modules are enabled, the libpq API support will be build as a module.
The `--with-ldap' option specifies that XEmacs should be build with LDAP
support, using the OpenLDAP libraries. (Default: auto.) NOTE TO OEMS: If
modules are enabled, the OpenLDAP API support will be build as a module.
The `--with-socks' option specifies that XEmacs should be built with
SOCKS support. This requires the libsocks library. (Default: no.)
The `--with-sound=TYPE' option specifies that XEmacs should be built with
sound support. Native (`--with-sound=native') sound support is currently
available only on Sun SparcStations, SGI's, HP9000s, and systems (such as
Linux) with soundcard.h. Network Audio Support (NAS) (`--with-sound=nas') is
an extension to X that you may or may not have for your system. For NAS, you
will probably need to provide the paths to the nas include and library
directories to configure. ESD ("Enlightened Sound Daemon")
(`--with-sound=esd') is a third-party library which interacts with a special
sound daemon. If `--with-sound' is not specified, `configure' will attempt
to determine if your configuration supports native sound and define
--with-sound for you. If your native sound library is not in a standard
location you can specify it with the `--with-native-sound-lib=LIB' flag. For
Linux, `/dev/audio' is required for SunAudio files and `/dev/dsp' is required
for raw data and WAVE format files. You may specify as many sound types as
your system supports, separated by commas: `--with-sound=nas,native'.
The `--with-tty' option enables TTY support. (Default: yes.)
The `--with-ncurses' options specifies use of the ncurses library for tty
support. (Default: auto.)
The `--with-gpm' option compiles in GPM mouse support for ttys. (Default:
The `--with-external-widget' option specifies that XEmacs should be
built with support for being used as a widget by other X11 applications.
This functionality should be considered beta. (Default: no.)
The `--with-tooltalk' option specifies that XEmacs should be built
with ToolTalk support for interconnecting with other applications.
ToolTalk is not yet supported on all architectures. If you use this
option, you should have the tooltalk package (see etc/PACKAGES)
installed prior to building XEmacs. (Default: no.)
The `--with-sparcworks' option specifies that XEmacs should be built
with support for Sun Sparcworks 3.0.1 and up (including Sun WorkShop).
This functionality is only of use on SunOS 4.1.x and Solaris 2.x
systems. If you use this option, you should have the Sun package (see
etc/PACKAGES) installed prior to building XEmacs. (Default: no.)
The `--with-cde' option allows you to enable or disable CDE drag and
drop support. `configure' will attempt to detect this option and
define `--with-cde' for you. (Default: no.)
`configure' doesn't do any compilation or installation itself. It just
creates the files that influence those things: `./src/config.h', and all the
Makefiles in the build tree.
XEmacs supports the implicit --srcdir option to allow building outside of the
source tree. This is recommended; it only requires adding a single build
directory, cd'ing there, and invoking configure:
../configure [--OPTION[=VALUE]] ...
If you want to build in the source tree for some reason, cd to the top level
directory of the XEmacs distribution, and run the program `configure' as
./configure [--OPTION[=VALUE]] ...
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'. If `configure' doesn't work as
expected, the file `config.log' contains details of the tests run and their
`configure' also creates an `Installation' file in the top directory of the
build tree. Do read this file before running `make'! It's not very long.
You can save much grief by checking that expected features are listed there.
Run `make' in the top directory of the XEmacs distribution to finish building
XEmacs in the standard way. The final executable file is named `src/xemacs'.
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 XEmacs into their permanent
locations, with `make install'. By default, XEmacs's files are installed in
the following directories:
`/usr/local/bin' holds the executable programs users normally run -
`xemacs', `etags', `ctags', `b2m', `emacsclient', `ellcc',
`gnuclient', `gnudoit', and `gnuattach'.
`/usr/local/share/xemacs-VERSION/lisp' holds the basic Emacs Lisp libraries
(including core implementations of many Lisp primitives);
`VERSION' stands for the number of the XEmacs version
you are installing, like `21.4.22' or `21.5-b32'. Since
the lisp libraries change from one version of XEmacs to
another, including the version number in the path
allows you to have several versions of XEmacs installed
at the same time; this means that you don't have to
make XEmacs unavailable while installing a new version.
XEmacs searches for "packaged" Emacs Lisp applications or
extensions and their support files in these hierarchies.
Each hierarchy has its own set of lisp, etc, info, lib-src,
and pkginfo subdirectories. The pkginfo subdirectory
contains "MANIFEST" files used when installing or removing
packages. Each of the others has the same purpose as the
similarly-named directory for "core XEmacs".
A last-resort location for Lisp files (optional).
`/usr/local/share/xemacs-VERSION/etc' holds the XEmacs tutorial, the
Unicode database, and other architecture-independent
files XEmacs might need while running. VERSION is as
specified for `.../lisp'.
`/usr/local/share/xemacs/lock' contains files indicating who is
editing what, so XEmacs can detect editing clashes
`/usr/local/lib/xemacs-VERSION/CONFIGURATION-NAME' contains executable
programs used by XEmacs that users are not expected to
run themselves, and the DOC file. `VERSION' is the
number of the XEmacs version you are installing, and
`CONFIGURATION-NAME' is the host type of your system.
Since these files are specific to the version of
XEmacs, operating system, and architecture in use,
including the configuration name in the path allows
you to have several versions of XEmacs 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 XEmacs is
`/usr/local/lib/xemacs-VERSION/CONFIGURATION-NAME/modules' holds the Emacs
dynamically loadable modules. These are special programs
typically written in C that can be loaded in much the same
way that Lisp packages are. Not all systems support
dynamic modules, so do not be alarmed if this directory
does not exist or is empty.
XEmacs searches for modules in this directory, or any
sub-directory of it, and then in
`/usr/local/share/xemacs-VERSION/info' holds the on-line documentation
for XEmacs, known as "info files".
`/usr/local/man/man1' holds the man pages for the programs installed
If you have specified the `--prefix' option, it will replace "/usr/local"
in the locations above.
This saves nothing but a small (by modern standards) amount of disk space;
the symbol table is not loaded into memory at execution time. If you do
encounter a crash or other serious bug, the first thing the developers will
do is ask you to build an XEmacs with a full symbol table, anyway. Don't
strip the XEmacs binary.
If your system uses dot-locking 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 not a security hole. The
setuid/setgid bits need not be set on any other XEmacs-related executables.
You are done with the hard part! 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 XEmacs for a different
configuration), type `make distclean'.
READ THE FAQ
The most common problem is that you forgot to read and follow the directions
for installing bootstrap packages in the FAQ. You cannot have a normal
XEmacs without downloading some additional packages.
See the file PROBLEMS in this directory for a list of various problems
sometimes encountered, and what to do about them. PROBLEMS is also the place
where platform-specific build notes can be found.
There are a large number of options to configure that can be used to control
the build and installation process. These are primarily of interest to
developers and OEMs.
Controlling the Host Type
Almost always, you should let `configure' (actually the shell script
`config.guess') guess your host type, by omitting the CONFIGURATION-NAME
argument. If you like to experiment, specify a configuration name in the
form MACHINE-VENDOR-OPSYS, for example:
using the command form
./configure [CONFIGURATION-NAME] [--OPTION[=VALUE]] ...
See config.guess and configure.ac for valid values for MACHINE, VENDOR, and
OPSYS. Also check `./etc/MACHINES' for advice on building on particular
Specifying Location of Headers and Libraries
The `--with-site-includes=DIR' and `--with-site-libraries=DIR' options allow
you to specify additional places the compiler should look for include files
and object libraries. You may specify multiple DIR's by enclosing the list
in quotes. All the external libraries you want to use with XEmacs (e.g. xpm,
wnn, ...) described later should have their include and library directories
defined using these options.
The `--with-site-runtime-libraries=DIR' option specifies directories to
search for shared libraries at run time. If you use this option, you must
specify ALL of the directories containing shared libraries at run time,
including system directories. Please read the information about "ADD-ON
LIBRARIES" above very carefully.
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.
Configuring the Build Process
The `--with-gcc=PROGRAM' option specifies that the build process should
compile XEmacs using GCC. The `--with-compiler' option allows you to specify
some other compiler to be used to compile XEmacs. If neither option is
specified, the environment variable CC is used instead. Otherwise the
compiler will then default to 'cc'.
The `--with-xemacs-compiler=PROGRAM' option specifies the compiler control
program for the xemacs binary only. Other C code will be compiled according
to the `--with-gcc' and `--with-compiler' options above. This is useful if
you wish to compile XEmacs with a C++ compiler, because the utilities in
./lib-src cannot be compiled as C++. This option is primarily intended for
use by the maintainers.
The `--with-cflags=FLAGS' option specifies all of the CFLAGS the build
process should use when compiling XEmacs, except for flags controlling
warning generation. Otherwise the value of the environment variable CFLAGS
is consulted. If that is also undefined, CFLAGS defaults to "-g -O" for gcc
and "-g" for all other compilers.
The `--with-cflags-warning=FLAGS' option specifies the warnings to be
generated. There is normally no reason to use this flag, as XEmacs turns on
as many warnings as possible, and is still intended to build with no
warnings. If you get any undocumented warnings, please report them as
bugs---they very often are, or at least indicate possible bitrot.
The `--with-cflags-optimization=FLAGS' option specifies the optimizations to
be used. There is normally no reason to use this flag, as XEmacs will
already set the maximum safe optimization flags appropriate for the compiler
The `--with-cflags-debugging=FLAGS' option specifies debugging information to
be generated. You should avoid using this flag, as it makes most severe or
fatal bugs hard-to-impossible to diagnose and fix. Debugging information
does not slow down XEmacs at runtime, and it doesn't make the binary very
The `--with-dynamic' option specifies that configure should try to link
XEmacs dynamically rather than statically. `--with-static' specifies the
reverse. XEmacs's configure script detects whether dynamic linking can be
done on all platforms we know of; these options are normally unnecessary.
The `--with-modules' option specifies that XEmacs be built with support for
runtime loadable modules. NOTE TO OEMS: XEmacs can be distributed configured
to support several options based on external APIs (currently LDAP,
PostgreSQL, and Canna) as loadable modules. You can distribute an XEmacs
binary package with these options enabled without depending on the external
package. XEmacs will fail gracefully at runtime, issuing an error message
indicating that the required support was not found on the system.
You can build XEmacs 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'. Create separate build directories for
the different configuration types, and in each one, run the XEmacs
`configure' script. `configure' looks for the Emacs source code in the
directory that `configure' is in. The `--srcdir' option may not work
correctly (traditionally it was overridden by the directory containing
Configuring the Installation Layout
The `--prefix=PREFIXDIR' option specifies where the installation process
should put XEmacs and its data files. This defaults to `/usr/local'.
- XEmacs (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/xemacs-VERSION
(where VERSION is the version number of XEmacs, like `21.0').
- The architecture-dependent files go in
(where CONFIGURATION-NAME is the host type, 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,
- XEmacs (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.
If you specify --prefix (or any of the other installation directory options),
they will get compiled into the xemacs executable so it will be able to find
its various associated files. However, XEmacs has quite elaborate logic to
find out the locations of these directories dynamically. Sometimes, it is
desirable *not* to compile these directories into the executable so you can
move the XEmacs installation around (as whole) at will. This is true for
binary kits, for instance. Therefore, you can specify --without-prefix on
the configure command line to prevent the installation prefix to become part
of the generated executable; everything else will continue to work as usual.
Unlike previous versions of XEmacs (21.4 or earlier),
architecture-independent files (in particular, the Lisp files and
package hierarchies) by default get installed under `/usr/local/share'
rather than `/usr/local/lib'. To create a setup as in previous
versions, use the `--datadir=/usr/local/lib' option to configure.
Options for Developers and Special Requirements
The `--with-rel-alloc' option can be used to either enable or disable
use of the relocating allocator. Turning on --with-rel-alloc will allow
XEmacs to return unused memory to the operating system, thereby reducing
its memory footprint. However, it may make XEmacs runs more slowly,
especially if your system's `mmap' implementation is missing or
inefficient. Generally, it's best to go with the default configuration
for your system. You can tweak this based on how you use XEmacs, and
the memory and cpu resources available on your system.
The `--with-system-malloc' option can be used to either enable or
disable use of the system malloc. Generally, it's best to go with the
default configuration for your system. Note that on many systems
using the system malloc disables the use of the relocating allocator.
The `--with-debug-malloc' option can be used to link a special
debugging version of malloc. Debug Malloc is not included with XEmacs
and is intended for use only by the developers. It may be obtained
The `--with-debug' and `--with-error-checking' options are primarily
useful to the developers. `--with-debug' incorporates code for
performing various tests, but does not impose a speed penalty.
`--with-error-checking' adds additional tests to many of the commonly
used macros, and imposes a speed penalty. Using either or both of these
options can make bug reports more useful to the developers.
The `--verbose' option is useful only to the developers. It displays
additional information, useful for debugging `configure'.
After configuring, 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 XEmacs 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
Things may malfunction if the variable `directory-abbrev-alist' is not set up
to translate "temporary" automounter mount points into the canonical form.
XEmacs tries to detect how your automounter is configured. If you have an
unusual automounter configuration that XEmacs cannot detect, you may need to
change the value of `directory-abbrev-alist'.
SITE-SPECIFIC STARTUP CODE
Put into `./lisp/site-init.el' or `./lisp/site-load.el' any Emacs Lisp code
you want XEmacs 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 lib-src/DOC file (see src/Makefile.in.in if you wish to figure out how to
do that). For all else, use site-init.el.
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.
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 entries.
If the default installation directories are not what you want, you can
specify where to install XEmacs's libraries and data files or where XEmacs
should search for its lisp files by giving values for `make' variables as
part of the command.
You can change where the build process installs XEmacs 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 XEmacs executable
files should go in `/usr/local/gnubin', not `/usr/local/bin'.
Note that this is not tested or recommended, and specifying installation
locations here rather than via `configure' may not work as expected. 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 XEmacs refers to while it runs; it
defaults to /usr/local/share. We create the following
subdirectories under `datadir':
- `xemacs-VERSION/lisp', containing the XEmacs lisp libraries, and
- `xemacs-VERSION/etc', containing the XEmacs tutorial and the
`VERSION' is the number of the XEmacs version you are installing,
like `21.4.22' or `21.5-b32'. Since these files vary from one
version of XEmacs to another, including the version number in the
path allows you to have several versions of XEmacs installed at
the same time; this means that you don't have to make XEmacs
unavailable while installing a new version.
`datarootdir' indicates where to put the documentation. (Usually,
this is identical to `datadir'---in the default configuration
`datadir' is set to the value of `datarootdir'.)
Specifically, the man pages are put in the `man' subdirectory
of `datarootdir', and the info pages are put in the
`statedir' indicates where to put architecture-independent data files
that XEmacs modifies while it runs; it defaults to
/usr/local/lib as well. We create the following
subdirectories under `statedir':
- `xemacs/lock', containing files indicating who is editing
what, so XEmacs can detect editing clashes between
`libdir' indicates where to put architecture-specific data files that
XEmacs refers to as it runs; it too defaults to `/usr/local/lib'.
We create the following subdirectories under `libdir':
- `xemacs-VERSION/CONFIGURATION-NAME', containing executable
programs used by XEmacs that users are not expected to run
themselves, and the DOC file.
`VERSION' is the number of the XEmacs version you are installing,
and `CONFIGURATION-NAME' is the host type of your system.
Since these files are specific to the version of XEmacs,
operating system, and architecture in use, including the
configuration name in the path allows you to have several
versions of XEmacs 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
XEmacs is installed on.
`infodir' indicates where to put the info files distributed with
XEmacs; it defaults to `/usr/local/share/xemacs-VERSION/info'.
`mandir' indicates where to put the man pages for XEmacs and its
utilities (like `etags'); it defaults to
`prefix' doesn't give a path for any specific part of XEmacs; instead,
its value is used to determine the defaults for all the
architecture-independent path variables - `datadir',
`statedir', `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 XEmacs 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 `libdir'.
The above variables serve analogous purposes in the makefiles for all GNU
software; here are some variables specific to XEmacs.
`lispdir' indicates where XEmacs installs and expects its lisp
libraries. Its default value, based on `datadir' (see above),
is `/usr/local/share/xemacs-VERSION/lisp' (where `VERSION' is as
`sitelispdir' indicates where XEmacs should search for lisp libraries
specific to your site. XEmacs checks them in order before
checking `lispdir'. Its default value, based on `datadir'
(see above), is `/usr/local/share/xemacs/site-lisp'.
`etcdir' indicates where XEmacs should install and expect the rest of
its architecture-independent data, like the tutorial and yow
database. Its default value, based on `datadir'
(see above), is `/usr/local/share/xemacs-VERSION/etc' (where
`VERSION' is as described above).
`lockdir' indicates the directory where XEmacs keeps track of its
locking information. Its default value, based on `statedir'
(see above), is `/usr/local/share/xemacs/lock'.
`archlibdir' indicates where XEmacs installs and expects the
executable files and other architecture-dependent data it uses
while running. Its default value, based on `libdir' (see
above), is `/usr/local/lib/xemacs-VERSION/CONFIGURATION-NAME'
(where VERSION and CONFIGURATION-NAME are as described above).
`docdir' indicates where to put Lisp documentation strings that XEmacs
refers to as it runs. It defaults to the value of `archlibdir'
`moduledir' indicates where XEmacs installs and expects to find
any dynamic modules. Its default value, based on
`archlibdir' (see above) is
(where VERSION and CONFIGURATION-NAME are as described above).
By their very nature, dynamic loadable modules are architecture-
dependent, and care should be taken not to set this directory
to a system- or architecture-independent directory.
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 xemacs, 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.
Using GNU Make allows for simultaneous builds with and without the --srcdir
option (see the section Running Configure).
For most platforms, configure or the src/s file have the preferred method for
locking mail spool files preconfigured. Otherwise you must find out for
yourself. Do not choose a locking protocol "on the objective merits."
XEmacs must use the same method as other mail utilities on your system, or
you WILL lose mail.
Presently, XEmacs supports lockf, flock, and dot locking. Specify the
locking method via the --with-mail-locking=METHOD option to configure. Valid
values for METHOD are --with-mail-locking are `lockf', `flock', and `dot'.
APPENDIX: CORRESPONDENCE TO OLD CONFIGURE OPTIONS
Here is a full translation of command line arguments. Note that any option
starting with "--with" may also be specified with "--enable". This list may
not be up-to-date.
Old | New
Run-time path-searching options:
TTY (character terminal) options:
Memory allocation options:
Emacs Lisp options:
The output files produced by this new configure should be almost identical to
those produced by the old. This can be tested with the provided regression
test script. This script runs the two versions of configure with the
supplied list of command line arguments and reports any differences. Please
add your favorite configuration command lines to the list before running the
test. The script is run as:
$ tests/autoconf/regressiontest.pl /absolute/path/to/2.13/configure \
The only differences should be:
- those related to changes in the command line arguments
- the change of SYS_SIGLIST_DECLARED to HAVE_DECL_SYS_SIGLIST (because the old
form has been removed), and
- The removal of trailing comments in src/config.h.
A note on terminology: unfortunately the terms "library" and "package" are
heavily overloaded. In the following, "library" refers to an external body
of executable code which may be linked with XEmacs at build time to provide
support for system features, such as images, audio, stream compression,
databases, and input methods. A "Lisp library" is a file of Lisp code which
may be loaded into XEmacs at run-time to provide editor features. A
"package" is a specially prepared Lisp library or set of Lisp libraries,
providing for easy installation, upgrade, and removal of applications written
The FAQ sections 1.7 and 2.1 contain information vital to have a fully
working XEmacs. It includes a description of available packages, and how to
bootstrap XEmacs from a minimal or a complete set of packages. This
information was not included in this file only because it is too large for
this terse INSTALL. The FAQ is available in Texinfo format in
man/xemacs-faq.texi, as an Info file once you build XEmacs, and online at
On some systems, X11, Motif and CDE are optional additions. On MacOS/X
systems prior to 10.2, you may download X11R6 for Mac OS X from
http://www.apple.com/macosx/x11/download/. In later releases X11 is
available as an optional package on the installation CDs. In either case you
need both the runtime libraries and the SDK (in a sidebar of that page at the
time of writing). There is also a 3rd-party implementation of X11R6 for the
Mac at http://www.xdarwin.org/. On Solaris, the SUNWaudmo package enables
native sound support.
You can get (most of) them from the XEmacs FTP archive at
<ftp://ftp.xemacs.org/pub/xemacs/aux>. Information about what
each library does is available in the file
(This note is probably obsolete.) Dynamic linking has pros and cons.
Dynamically linking 3rd party libraries to XEmacs decreases the size of the
binary, and means you don't need to rebuild XEmacs to take advantage of
improvements in the libraries. On the other hand, XEmacs can fail subtly if
the semantics of a library changes, other users may not be able to use your
"private" copies of the libraries, and you may have to relink XEmacs, or even
omit the feature, if the ABI changes when the libraries are upgraded.
Use the `--with-site-includes' and `--with-site-libraries' options when
building XEmacs to allow configure to find the external software packages.
For your convenience these can be set together by using the
`--with-site-prefixes' option. This will set these variables as needed
assuming your libraries are organised as a typical /usr tree.
If you link dynamically with external libraries, usually denoted by ".so"
(Unix), ".dll" (Windows), or ".dylib" (MacOS) file extensions, on some
systems you may also need to add the library directories to the
`--with-site-runtime-libraries' option. It is typically necessary only if
you link with dynamic libraries that are installed in non-standard
directories, or if you expect some of the libraries used to build XEmacs to
be in a different directory at run time than at build time.
NOTE: This option has unusual semantics. ONLY libraries found in the
directories specified in this option will be used at runtime. This means you
must specify ALL directories you want searched at runtime in this option
(perhaps excluding a very small number of standard system library paths).
Directories specified with `--with-site-libraries' are NOT automatically
added. The rationale is that most users will not need this option, and this
allows the builder to specify exactly the needed directories. Specifying
unnecessary directories leads to obscure problems (typically startup delays)
if those directories are mounted over a network, and the automounter
configuration changes. Not all systems need this option; it's best to avoid
using it if you can.
To specify multiple directories in these commands, use a list delimited by
spaces, colons, or commas. You will need to protect space-delimited lists
from shell parsing by quoting them.
If you haven't built XEmacs 21.5 recently, the change from the configure
script based on Autoconf 2.13 can be a shock. Appendix: Correspondence to
Old Configure Options (at the end of this document) contains a list of old
options and their new equivalents.