XEmacs / etc / BETA

				-*- mode:outline; minor-mode:outl-mouse -*-

* Introduction

You are running an experimental version of XEmacs.  Please do not
report problems with Beta XEmacs to comp.emacs.xemacs.  Report them to

** XEmacs Beta Mailing List

*** Subscribing

If you are not subscribed to the XEmacs beta list you should be.  Send
an email message with a subject of `subscribe' (without the quotes) to and follow the directions.  You do not
have to fill out the survey if you don't want to.

*** Unsubscribing

To unsubscribe from the list send an email message with a subject of
`unsubscribe' (without the quotes) to

*** Administrivia

The XEmacs beta list is managed by the SmartList mailing list package,
and the usual SmartList commands work.  Do not send mailing list
requests to the main address (, always send
them to  If you have problems with the
list itself, they should be brought to the attention of the XEmacs
Mailing List manager Steve Baur <>.

** Beta Release Schedule

The URL always contains the best
estimate of when the next beta XEmacs will be released.  For weekend
betas the release time is generally in the vicinity of 2PM to 5PM US
Pacific Time (Universal Time minus 8 hours).  For weekday betas, the
release time is generally in the vicinity of 8PM to Midnight US
Pacific Time on the listed day.

Betas are nominally a week apart, scheduled on every Saturday.
Midweek releases are made when a serious enough problem warrants it.

** Reporting Problems

The best way to get problems fixed in XEmacs is to submit good problem
reports.  Since this is beta software, problems are certain to exist.
Please read through all of part II of the XEmacs FAQ for an overview
of problem reporting.  Other items which are most important are:

1.  Do not submit C stack backtraces without line numbers.  Since it
    is possible to compile optimized with debug information with GCC
    it is never a good idea to compile XEmacs without the -g flag.
    XEmacs runs on a variety of platforms, and often it is not
    possible to recreate problems which afflict a specific platform.
    The line numbers in the C stack backtrace help isolate where the
    problem is actually occurring.
2.  Attempt to recreate the problem starting with an invocation of
    XEmacs with `xemacs -q -no-site-file'.  Quite often, problems are
    due to package interdependencies, and the like.  An actual bug in
    XEmacs should be reproducible in a default configuration without
    loading any special packages (or the one or two specific packages
    that cause the bug to appear).

3.  A picture can be worth a thousand words.  When reporting an
    unusual display, it is generally best to capture the problem in a
    screen dump and include that with the problem report.  The easiest
    way to get a screen dump is to use the xv program and its grab
    function.  Save the image as a GIF to keep bandwidth requirements
    down without loss of information.  MIME is the preferred method
    for making the image attachments.

* Compiling Beta XEmacs

** Building an XEmacs from patches

All beta releases of XEmacs are included with patches from the
previous version in an attempt to keep bandwidth requirements down.
Patches should be applied with the GNU patch program in something like
the following.  Let's say you're upgrading XEmacs 20.4-beta10 to
XEmacs 20.4-beta11 and you have a full unmodified XEmacs 20.4-beta10
source tree to work with.  Cd to the top level directory and issue the
shell command:

$ gunzip -c /tmp/xemacs-20.4-b10-20.4-b11.patch.gz | patch -p1

After patching, check to see that no patches were missed by doing
$ find . -name \*.rej -print

Any rejections should be treated as serious problems to be resolved
before building XEmacs.

After seeing that there were no rejections, issue the commands

$ ./config.status --recheck
$ make beta

and go play minesweep for a while on an older XEmacs while the binary
is rebuilt.

** Building XEmacs from a full distribution

Locate a convenient place where you have at least 100MB of free space
and issue the command

$ gunzip -c /tmp/xemacs-20.4-b11.tar.gz | tar xvf -

(or simply `tar zxvf /tmp/xemacs-20.4-b11.tar.gz' if you use GNU tar).

cd to the top level directory and issue an appropriate configure
command.  One maintainer uses the following at the time of this

./configure \
	--cflags="-m486 -g -O4 -fno-strength-reduce -malign-loops=2 \
		  -malign-jumps=2 -malign-functions=2" \
        --with-sound=no --with=offix \
	--error-checking=all --debug=yes \
	--with-scrollbars=athena3d --with-dialogs=athena3d \
	--with-mule --with-canna --with-wnn

Part of the configure output is a summary that looks something like:

Configured for `i586-unknown-linux2.0.28'.

  Where should the build process find the source code?    /usr/src/xemacs-20.4
  What installation prefix should install use?            /usr/local
  Where should XEmacs look for packages?		  ~/.xemacs:/usr/local/lib/xemacs/packages
  What operating system and machine description files should XEmacs use?
        `s/linux.h' and `m/intel386.h'
  What compiler should XEmacs be built with?              gcc -m486 -g -O4 -fno-strength-reduce -malign-loops=2 -malign-jumps=2 -malign-functions=2
  Should XEmacs use the GNU version of malloc?            yes
  Should XEmacs use the relocating allocator for buffers? yes
  What window system should XEmacs use?                   x11
  Where do we find X Windows header files?                /usr/X11R6/include
  Where do we find X Windows libraries?                   /usr/X11R6/lib
  Compiling in support for XAUTH.
  Compiling in support for GIF image conversion.
  Compiling in support for XPM images.
  Compiling in support for X-Face message headers.
  Compiling in support for JPEG image conversion.
  Compiling in support for PNG image conversion.
  Compiling in support for TIFF image conversion (not implemented).
  Compiling in support for Berkeley DB.
  Compiling in support for GNU DBM.
  Compiling in Mule (multi-lingual) support.
  Compiling in support for the WNN input method on Mule.
    Using WNN version 6.
  Compiling in support for OffiX.
  Using the Lucid menubar.
  Using the Athena-3d scrollbar.
  Using the Athena-3d dialog boxes.

Then type `make; make finder' and you should have a working XEmacs.

After you have verified that you have a functional editor, fire up
your favorite mail program and send a build report to  The build report should include

1. Your hardware configuration (OS version, etc.)

2. Version numbers of software in use (X11 version, system library
   versions if appropriate, graphics library versions if appropriate).
   If you're on a system like Linux, include all the version numbers
   you can because chances are it makes a difference.

3. The options given to configure

4. The configuration report illustrated above

   For convenience all of the above items are placed in a file called
   `Installation' in the top level build directory.

5. Any other unusual items you feel should be brought to the attention
   of the developers.

** Creating patches for submission

When making patches you should use the `-c' option, or preferably, if
your diff supports it, `-u'.  Using ordinary (context-free) diffs are
notoriously prone to error, since line numbers tend to change when
others make changes to the same source file.

$ diff -u old-file.c new-file.c


$ diff -c old-file.c new-file.c

Also, it is helpful if you create the patch in the top level of the
XEmacs source directory:

$ cp -p lwlib/xlwmenu.c lwlib/xlwmenu.c.orig
  hack, hack, hack....
$ diff -u lwlib/xlwmenu.c.orig lwlib/xlwmenu.c

It is preferrable for patches to be accompanied by an update (raw
entry preferred) to the appropriate ChangeLog file.

Also note that if you cut & paste from an xterm to an XEmacs mail buffer
you will probably lose due to tab expansion.  The best thing to do is
to use an XEmacs shell buffer to run the diff commands, or ...
M-x cd to the appropriate directory, and issue the command `C-u M-!' from
within XEmacs.

* XEmacs 20.3 packages

XEmacs 20.3 has added the concept of installable packages searched prior
to dump time when building.

Packages are searched by default under /usr/local/lib/xemacs/packages/.
The summary message in configure will tell you where XEmacs is looking 
for them.  The packages hierarchy differs from site-lisp in that you
do not have to install XEmacs to use it.  Indeed, the package path is
searched prior to dump time so that installed packages have the same
status as lisp distributed in the xemacs core tarball.

The structure of each directory in the package search path should look
like the base installed directory (ie. have etc/, info/, and lisp/,).
Lisp is searched recursively.  It and all subdirectories are added to
the `load-path'.  Each etc directory is added to `data-directory-list',
and each info directory is added to `Info-default-directory-list'.

A `find . -type d -print' in my top-level package directory reveals:

AUCTeX and Gnus have package tarballs in
that you can simply untar in a package directory to install.

Karl Hegbloom has a set of packages in
	[sorry - reference has been lost]
that work the same way.

** Packages directory on the FTP Site

The packages directory

is divided into subdirectory by the major type of package.

drwxr-xr-x   2 beta-f   beta-f      1024 Oct 10 00:43 binary-packages
drwxr-xr-x   2 beta-f   beta-f       512 Oct 10 00:44 package-sources
drwxr-xr-x   2 beta-f   beta-f       512 Oct  9 23:08 single-file-packages
drwxr-xr-x   2 beta-f   beta-f       512 Oct 10 00:44 utils

** Support Utilities (utils)

The utils directory contains tools to deal with current Lisp sources that
have not had yet gotten XEmacs package integration.  The script `'
is used with Quassia Gnus.  Edit the appropriate variables at the top of
the script to reflect the local configuration and run it in the top level
directory of a Quassia Gnus source tree to install an update to Quassia Gnus.

** Source Installable Packages (package-sources)

This directory contains tarballs of Lisp packages that contain full support
for installing as an XEmacs package.  To install them, one should untar
them to someplace convenient (like /var/tmp), and issue the appropriate make
command to install.

** Binary package installation (binary-packages)

Prerequisite:  XEmacs 20.3-beta28.

Binary packages are complete entities that can be untarred at the top
level of an XEmacs package hierarchy and work at runtime.  To install files
in this directory, run the command `M-x package-admin-add-binary-package'
and fill in appropriate values to the prompts.

** Single file package installation

Prerequisite:  XEmacs 20.3-beta28.

These are single file, self-contained lisp packages that don't need a
separate directory.  To install something from this directory, run
the command `M-x package-admin-add-single-file-package' and fill in the