Building and Installing XEmacs on Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP -*- mode:outline -*-
based on old version by
This is a port of XEmacs to Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP. If you are
looking for a port of GNU Emacs, get the latest release of the 21.x series
from gnu.org. NT 4.0 or later is required for building on Windows NT.
Note that the developers typically use NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 or XP, and
there may possibly be problems under Windows 95/98. (One developer has
successfully built on Windows ME, though, which is the successor of Windows
98.) If so, please report them to email@example.com; we are committed
to maintaining compatibility with all systems listed.
* Required tools and sources
1. You will need Visual C++ V6.0, Visual Studio .NET or later to compile
Note that Visual C++ assumes that the environment variables INCLUDE and
LIB are set to specify the location of the includes and libraries.
Your PATH environment variable also needs to include the Visual Studio
vc\bin and sharedide\bin directories.
Visual C++ V6.0 installs a batch file called vcvars32.bat in
c:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\VC98\bin\ (or wherever you
installed it) that you can run before building to set up all of these
environment variables. Alternatively, you can choose at setup time to
have these environment variables automatically set up in the registry,
which is generally a good idea.
Visual Studio .NET calls this batch file vsvars32.bat and installs it in
$Installdir\Common7\Tools, but doesn't offer at install time to
automatically set these environment variables up in the registry.
2. Grab the latest XEmacs source from
or one of its mirrors listed at http://www.xemacs.org/Download/index.html.
(NOTE: If you are behind a firewall and have problems with FTP access,
the URL http://ftp.xemacs.org/pub/xemacs/ works just as well.)
You'll also need the packages. You probably want to get the unified
packages bundle from
If you are building with international support, you also need
Although we don't recommend it, you can also retrieve just the packages
you really need if you have an extremely slow net connection or are very
short on disk space. You can find the various packages in
http://ftp.xemacs.org/pub/xemacs/packages/. You will need the xemacs-base
package (and mule-base, if building with international support). You'll
also need the texinfo package unless you have a copy of makeinfo.exe on
your machine. If you want to download additional or updated packages
from within XEmacs you'll need the efs, dired and vm packages. You'll
probably also want at least the edit-utils, text-modes, fsf-compat,
cc-mode, prog-modes and xemacs-devel packages.
Unpack the packages into "x:\your\choice\XEmacs\xemacs-packages",
for example "c:\Program Files\XEmacs\xemacs-packages".
3. The native build no longer supports X Windows. There is no point,
since the Cygwin build is actively maintained and supports X Windows
very well. See the FAQ if you want to build with Cygwin.
* Optional libraries
The easiest way to get the optional libraries is to grab the appropriate
set of precompiled versions for your compiler:
or for VC++ 2005 (VC8)
unpack them somewhere and set the OPTIONAL_LIBRARY_DIR in config.inc
to point to where you put them. This will automatically give you
all the graphics libraries. (NOTE: optional-libs.exe was compiled with
VC++ .NET and may or may not work with VC++ 6.0. If not, you will have
to build them yourself until we provide VC6 binaries.)
* Alternative: Building the optional libraries yourself
If you need to build the libraries yourself, grab them from
http://ftp.xemacs.org/pub/xemacs/aux or get the latest version from the
home page of the appropriate library, as listed on
http://www.xemacs.org/Download/optLibs.html. The following instructions
assume that you have the appropriate libraries and have unpacked them
somewhere, e.g. c:\src.
Directions for building the various libraries:
1. You really want the XPM library. Copy nt\xpm.mak from the xemacs sources
to the lib/ subdirectory of the XPM sources, cd to that directory and
build xpm with 'nmake -f xpm.mak'.
2. You probably also want PNG image support. Get PNG and ZLIB and read the
respective READMEs for details on how to build them.
cd to the ZLIB source directory and type 'nmake -f win32\Makefile.msc'.
cd to the libpng source directory, rename or move the zlib directory to
..\zlib and type 'nmake -f scripts\makefile.vcawin32'.
3. If you want TIFF support, cd to the TIFF source directory and type
'nmake -f Makefile.vc'.
4. If you want JPEG support, cd to the JPEG source directory and type
'nmake -f makefile.vc'.
5. If you want X-Face support, copy nt\compface.mak from the xemacs sources
to the compface directory, cd to that directory and build libcompface
with 'nmake -f compface.mak'.
6. It's also possible to build the Sleepycat DB libraries. Open up the file
in a browser, where DB-SOURCE-DIR is the top-level source directory for
the Sleepcat DB libraries, and follow the directions. You should build the
`Release_static' target if you want to use the static version of this
library, or the `Release' target if you want to use the DLL version of
the library. To use the DLL version, you need to set BUILD_DATABASE_SHARED
to 1 in config.inc. The DLL version will make the executable much smaller,
but you will have to have the DLL present at run-time -- either in the
same directory as the XEmacs executable or somewhere in your path.
7. It's possible, but difficult, to build shared libraries for GNU MP.
(Static libraries are not yet possible, as there is no makefile.vc for
this; you can't build static libraries for VC++ using MinGW.) Basically,
you need to build using MinGW and then generate native import libraries.
This is more or less described in the documentation, but the following
procedure seems to work:
-- In the top level of the GMP sources, configure using
CC='gcc -mno-cygwin' configure --build=pentium3-pc-mingw32 --disable-static --enable-shared
-- Edit the `libtool' script in the same directory and change the value
of CC from `gcc' to `gcc -mno-cygwin'.
-- Run `make'.
-- Run these commands:
lib /machine:IX86 /def:.libs/libgmp-3.dll-def
cp .libs/libgmp-3.dll-exp libgmp-3.exp
cp .libs/libgmp-3.dll .
-- You should now have an import library named libgmp-3.lib and a DLL
-- NOTE: You will need to have this DLL accessible when XEmacs runs.
It either needs to be in the same directory as the XEmacs executable
or in your path.
8. There are also pre-built binaries for GMP-4.1.2 at
However, they don't seem to work properly for our purposes, as they
require LIBC.LIB rather than MSVCRT.DLL.
9. You can build the client library for PostgreSQL by cd'ing to the src/
subdirectory of the PostgreSQL sources and running `nmake -f win32.mak'.
10. It does not appear to be very easy to build OpenLDAP under
native MS Windows, as it is only experimentally supported. However, there
is a mailing list for this, which contains postings of recent binaries and
build patches; see
If you know how to build OpenLDAP, please write up a description of the
process and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. cd to the nt subdirectory of the xemacs distribution and copy the file
config.inc.samp to config.inc. Make any necessary modifications. This
file controls the options that XEmacs is built with:
-- If you want international (aka "Mule") support, modify the appropriate
line in config.inc as follows:
-- If you're using the pre-supplied optional library pack, all you should
have to do is set OPTIONAL_LIBRARY_DIR to the top-level directory
where you unpacked everything.
-- By default, support is enabled for all graphics formats, but not
currently for any of the other libraries in the optional library
pack. If you want support for GMP, Berkeley DB or PostgreSQL, set
the appropriate flag (HAVE_BIGNUM, HAVE_DATABASE or HAVE_POSTGRESQL,
respectively) to 1. We do not currently enable these by default
because of lack of sufficient testing, questionable usefulness in
the case of Berkeley DB and PostgreSQL, excessive library size in
the case of Berkeley DB (more than 2 MB for the static library!),
and lack of a static library in the case of GMP.
-- If you want to turn off support for any of the graphics libraries,
set the appropriate flag (HAVE_XPM, HAVE_GIF, HAVE_PNG, HAVE_JPEG,
HAVE_TIFF or HAVE_XFACE) to 0.
-- If you have compiled some of the libraries yourself, you will have to
specify the location of the top-level source directory for each of
these libraries. XEmacs assumes that the directory structure under
these directories is as it is in the sources, rather than in any
For example, for XPM support, modify the appropriate lines in
config.inc as follows:
Similarly for JPEG, TIFF, etc. support.
For PNG support, you also need to specify ZLIB_DIR.
If you want to use the DLL version of the Sleepycat DB library,
set BUILD_DATABASE_SHARED to 1. You will have to have the DLL
present at run-time -- either in the same directory as the XEmacs
executable or somewhere in your path.
-- By default, XEmacs will expect to find its packages in the
subdirectories "site-packages", "mule-packages" and "xemacs-packages"
under the directory "c:\Program Files\XEmacs". If you want it to look
for these subdirectories elsewhere, modify the appropriate lines in
config.inc as follows:
Make sure that the directory pointed to by PACKAGE_PREFIX contains
the xemacs-packages directory into which you installed the packages.
-- XEmacs can build its info files more quickly if you have a copy of the
makeinfo program. If you have a copy, modify the appropriate lines in
config.inc as follows:
If you don't have a copy of makeinfo then you'll need to have installed
the XEmacs texinfo package.
2. If you want to install XEmacs when you build it, modify the appropriate
lines in config.inc as follows (you can also run XEmacs from its build
(By default, XEmacs will be installed in directories under the directory
3. If you want the built files to go into a different tree than the source
tree (e.g. this allows you to build multiple versions of XEmacs, with
different configuration settings, from the same source tree), use the
script `make-build-dir' to create a skeleton build tree, create a
config.inc in that tree, and then run nmake from that tree. This is
similar to running `configure --srcdir=PATH' under Unix. See the
comments in `config.inc.samp' for more information.
4. If you want to build xemacs on the command line, use
`nmake install -f xemacs.mak', or just `nmake -f xemacs.mak' if you want
to run XEmacs from its build directory. nmake will build temacs, the DOC
file, update the elc's, dump xemacs and (optionally) install the relevant
files in the directories under the installation directory.
If you chose to install XEmacs, the file that you should run to start
XEmacs will be installed (by default) as
To run from the build directory, run the file "src\xemacs.exe" off of the
root of the build directory.
You may want to create a shortcut to the file from your Desktop or
5. To build using MS Visual Studio, you can use the workspace file
`nt/xemacs.dsw'. This was prepared for Visual C++ 6.0. If you are using
Visual Studio .NET, open this file up inside of it and it will offer to
convert it to a .NET "solution" file. The same procedure should work
for newer versions of Visual Studio (e.g. Visual Studio 2005). If this
doesn't work (e.g. you are using Visual C++ 5 or even earlier), just
open up `nt/xemacs.mak' from within Visual Studio and it will offer to
wrap this Makefile in a workspace file, from which you can build.
Assuming you want to run from the build directory (which you will want
to do if you are planning on doing any development work on XEmacs), use
the following settings (for Visual C++ 6.0, at least) in
Under the General tab:
Build command line: NMAKE /f xemacs.mak
Output file name: ..\src\xemacs.exe
Browse info file name: ..\src\temacs.bsc
Under the Debug tab:
Executable for debug session: ..\src\xemacs.exe
If you want to install XEmacs when it's built, change the build command
line to "NMAKE install /f xemacs.mak". (You will have to make the same
change even if you use the provided workspace nt/xemacs.dsw.)
* Debugging under MS Developer Studio
The build process always creates debugging and "Source Browser" information
in the source tree for use with DevStudio. However that information is not
very useful unless you build a debug version of XEmacs:
1. Set DEBUG_XEMACS=1 and DEPEND=1 in config.inc and rebuild.
2. See instructions above for obtaining a workspace file for use with
MS Developer Studio. Build and debug your XEmacs this way.
3. To display the contents of a lisp variable, type Shift-F9 (or use the
menu) to bring up the QuickWatch window, type dp(variable) and click
Recalculate. The output will appear in a console window, as well as in
the Debug window in MS Developer Studio.
4. To display a current Lisp backtrace, type db() in the QuickWatch window,
as in the previous item.
5. To view Lisp variables in the "Watch" window wrap the variable in one of
the helper functions from the file src\console-msw.c, for example type
DSTRING(variable) in the "Watch" window to inspect a Lisp string.
6. For further information on debugging XEmacs, see the item
`How to Debug an XEmacs problem with a debugger' in the XEmacs FAQ.
* Known Problems
Please look at the PROBLEMS file for known problems. Any other problems you
need clarified, please email us and we will endeavour to provide any
assistance we can:
The XEmacs NT Mailing List: email@example.com
Subscribe address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Wing (current primary MS Windows maintainer; author of the MS Windows
Mule code and some of the dialog box code)
Andy Piper (MS Windows contributor; author of the Cygwin support and the
MS Windows glyph and widget code)
Jonathan Harris (MS Windows contributor; original author of the MS Windows
redisplay and underlying GUI code)
Kirill Katsnelson (MS Windows contributor; author of the MS Windows process
and printing code and some of the dialog box code;
general guru on obscure MS Windows programming topics)
David Hobley (early MS Windows contributor)
Marc Paquette (early MS Windows contributor)
August Hill (early MS Windows contributor)