XEmacs / man / xemacs / startup.texi

@node Startup Paths, Basic, Command Switches, Top
@comment  node-name,  next,  previous,  up
@section How XEmacs finds Directories and Files

@cindex startup paths
@cindex directories

XEmacs deals with a multitude of files during operation.  These files
are spread over many directories, and XEmacs determines the location of
most of these directories at startup and organizes them into various
paths.  (A @emph{path},
@cindex path
for the purposes of this section, is simply a list of directories which
XEmacs searches successively in order to locate a file.)

@subsection XEmacs Directory Hierarchies
@cindex hierarchies
@cindex directory hierarchies

Many of the files XEmacs looks for are located within the XEmacs
installation itself.  However, there are several views of what actually
constitutes the "XEmacs installation": XEmacs may be run from the
compilation directory, it may be installed into arbitrary directories,
spread over several directories unrelated to each other.  Moreover, it
may subsequently moved to a different place.  (This last case is not as
uncommon as it sounds.  Binary kits work this way.)  Consequently,
XEmacs has quite complex procedures in place to find directories, no
matter where they may be hidden.

XEmacs will always respect directory options passed to @code{configure}.
However, if it cannot locate a directory at the configured place, it
will initiate a search for the directory in any of a number of
@emph{hierachies} rooted under a directory which XEmacs assumes contain
parts of the XEmacs installation; it may locate several such hierarchies
and search across them.  (Typically, there are just one or two
hierarchies: the hierarchy where XEmacs was or will be installed, and
the one where it is being built.)  Such a directory containing a
hierarchy is called a @emph{root}.
@cindex root of a hierarchy
Whenever this section refers to a directory using the shorthand
@code{<root>}, it means that XEmacs searches for it under all
hierarchies under all hierarchies XEmacs was able to scrounge up.  In a
running XEmacs, the hierarchy roots are stored in the variable
@vindex emacs-roots

@subsection Package Hierarchies
@cindex package hierarchies

Many relevant directories and files XEmacs uses are actually not part of
the core installation.  They are part of any of the many packages
usually installed on top of an XEmacs installation.  (@xref{Packages}.)
Hence, they play a prominent role in the various paths XEmacs sets up.

XEmacs locates packages in any of a number of package hierarchies.
Package hierarchies fall into three groups: @emph{early}, @emph{late},
and @emph{last},
@cindex early package hierarchies
@cindex late package hierarchies
@cindex last package hierarchies
according to the relative location at which they show
up in the various XEmacs paths.  Early package hierarchies are at the
very front, late ones somewhere in the middle, and last hierarchies are
(you guessed it) last.

By default, XEmacs expects an early package hierarchy in the a
subdirectory @file{.xemacs} of the user's home directory.

Moreover, XEmacs expects late hierarchies in the subdirectories
@file{site-packages}, @file{mule-packages}, and @file{xemacs-packages}
(in that order) of the @file{<root>/lib/xemacs} subdirectory of one of
the installation hierarchies.  (If you run in-place, these are directr
subdirectories of the build directory.)  Furthermore, XEmacs will also
search these subdirectories in the @file{<root>/lib/xemacs-<VERSION>}
subdirectory and prefer directories found there.

By default, XEmacs does not have a pre-configured last package
hierarchy.  Last hierarchies are primarily for using package
hierarchies of outdated versions of XEmacs as a fallback option.  For
example, it is possible to run XEmacs with the 20.4 package hierarchy
as a last hierarchy.

It is possible to specify at configure-time the location of the various
package hierarchies with the @code{--package-path} option to configure.
@cindex package path
The early, late, and last components of the package path are separated
by double instead of single colons.  If three components are present,
they are locate the early, late, and last package hierarchies
respectively.  If two components are present, they locate the early and
late hierarchies.  If only one component is present, it locates the late
hierarchy.  At run time, the package path may also be specified via the
@code{PACKAGEPATH} environment variable.

An XEmacs package is laid out just like a normal installed XEmacs lisp
directory.  It may have @file{lisp}, @file{etc}, @file{info}, and
@file{lib-src} subdirectories.  XEmacs adds these at appropriate places
within the various system-wide paths.

There may be any number of package hierarchy directories.

@subsection Directories and Paths
@cindex paths

Here is a list of the various directories and paths XEmacs tries to
locate during startup.  XEmacs distinguishes between directories and
paths specific to @emph{version}, @emph{site}, and @emph{architecture}
when looking for them.

@table @code
@item version-specific
directories are specific to the version of XEmacs they belong to and
typically reside under @file{<root>/lib/xemacs-<VERSION>}.
@item site-specific
directories are independent of the version of XEmacs they belong to and
typically reside under @file{<root>/lib/xemacs}
@item architecture-specific
directories are specific both to the version of XEmacs and the
architecture it runs on and typically reside under
@end table

During installation, all of these directories may also reside directly
under @file{<root>}, because that is where they are in the XEmacs tarball.

If XEmacs runs with the @code{-debug-paths} option (@xref{Command
Switches}), it will print the values of these variables, hopefully
aiding in debugging any problems which come up.

@table @code

@item lisp-directory
@vindex lisp-directory
Contains the version-specific location of the Lisp files that come with
the core distribution of XEmacs.  XEmacs will search it recursively to a
depth of 1 when setting up @code{load-path}.

@item load-path
@vindex load-path
Is where XEmacs searches for XEmacs Lisp files with commands like
@findex load-library
It contains the package lisp directories (see further down) and the
version-specific core Lisp directories.  If the environment variable
@code{EMACSLOADPATH} is set at startup, its directories are prepended to

@item Info-directory-list
@vindex Info-directory-list
Contains the location of info files.  (See @ref{(info)}.)  It contains
the package info directories and the version-specific core
documentation.  Moreover, XEmacs will add @file{/usr/info},
@file{/usr/local/info} as well as the directories of the environment
variable @code{INFOPATH}
@vindex INFOPATH
to @code{Info-directory-list}.

@item lock-directory
@itemx superlock-file
@vindex lock-directory
@vindex superlock-file
Are the site-specific locations of the lock directory and the superlock
file, respectively.  The @code{lock-directory} variable may also be
initialized from the @code{EMACSLOCKDIR}
environment variable.

@item exec-directory
@vindex exec-directory
Is the directory of architecture-dependent files that come with XEmacs,
especially executable programs intended for XEmacs to invoke.

@item exec-path
@vindex exec-path
Is the path for executables which XEmacs may want to start.  It contains
the package executable paths as well as @code{exec-directory}, and the
directories of the environment variables @code{PATH}
@vindex PATH
and @code{EMACSPATH}.
@vindex EMCSPATH

@item doc-directory
@vindex doc-directory
Is the directory containing the architecture-specific @file{DOC} file
that contains documentation for XEmacs' commands.

@item data-directory
@vindex data-directory
Is the version-specific directory that contains core data files XEmacs uses.
It may be initialized from the @code{EMACSDATA}
environment variable.

@item data-directory-list
@vindex data-directory-list
Is the path where XEmacs looks for data files.  It contains package data
directories as well as @code{data-directory}.

@end table