1. xemacs
  2. XEmacs



This directory tree holds version 21.5 of XEmacs.

*** What is XEmacs?

XEmacs is a powerful, highly customizable open source text editor and
application development system, with full GUI support.  It is protected
under the GNU Public License and related to other versions of Emacs, in
particular GNU Emacs.  Its emphasis is on modern graphical user
interface support and an open software development model, similar to
Linux.  XEmacs has an active development community numbering in the
hundreds (and thousands of active beta testers on top of this), and runs
on all versions of MS Windows, on Linux, and on nearly every other
version of Unix in existence.  Support for XEmacs has been supplied by
Sun Microsystems, University of Illinois, Lucid, ETL/Electrotechnical
Laboratory, Amdahl Corporation, BeOpen, and others, as well as the
unpaid time of a great number of individual developers.

*** What platforms does it run on?

  -- MS Windows (It has been tested on NT, 2000, 95, 98, and ME; you
                 can also compile Cygwin and MinGW versions.)
  -- Unix (It is regularly tested on Linux, Solaris, SunOS, HP/UX,
           FreeBSD, OpenBSD, BSD/OS aka BSDI, Tru64 aka DEC/OSF, SCO5,
           and probably others.  It should work on all versions of Unix
           created in the last 10 years or so, perhaps with a bit of
           work on more obscure platforms to correct bit-rot.  It uses
           a sophisticated configuration system to auto-detect zillions
           of features that are implemented differently in different
           versions of Unix, so it will probably work on your vendor's
           version, possibly with a bit of tweaking, even if we've
           never heard of it.)
  -- MacOS/X (As an X Windows application.  Unfortunately there is no
              support currently for MacOS-specific features.)

  There is also a port of XEmacs 19.14 (an older version, circa 1996)
  for all versions of MacOS, with extensive support for MacOS-specific
  features.  See the FAQ for more details.

  There are rumors of an in-progress port to OS/2.  See the FAQ.

  XEmacs will probably never work on MS/DOS or Windows 3.1, and we're
  not particularly interested in patches for these platforms, as they
  would introduce huge amounts of code clutter due to the woefully
  underfeatured nature of these systems. (See GNU Emacs for a port to

*** Where's the FAQ?

Look at `man/xemacs-faq.texi'.

For the very latest version, see

*** Where's the latest version?

For up-to-date information on XEmacs, see http://www.xemacs.org.

To download XEmacs, see http://ftp.xemacs.org/ or

For the latest experimental sources, see http://cvs.xemacs.org/, which
gives instructions on how to get started with CVS access.

There are numerous mailing lists for discussion of XEmacs.  The
current description of these lists can be found at
http://www.xemacs.org/Lists/, or see `etc/MAILINGLISTS'.  General
discussion of bugs, new features, etc. takes place on

*** How do I build and install XEmacs?

See the file `etc/NEWS' for information on new features and other
user-visible changes since the last version of XEmacs.

The file `INSTALL' in this directory says how to bring up XEmacs on
Unix and Cygwin, once you have loaded the entire subtree of this

See the file `nt/README' for instructions on building XEmacs for
Microsoft Windows.

The file 'README.packages' will guide you in the installation of
(essential) add on packages.

*** How do I deal with bugs or with problems building, installing, or running?

The file `PROBLEMS' contains information on many common problems that
occur in building, installing and running XEmacs.

Reports of bugs in XEmacs should be sent to xemacs-beta@xemacs.org.
You can also post to the newsgroup comp.emacs.xemacs (or equivalentlt,
send to the mailing list xemacs@xemacs.org), but it is less likely
that the developers will see it in a timely fashion.  See the "Bugs"
section of the XEmacs manual for more information on how to report
bugs.  (The file `BUGS' in this directory explains how you can find
and read that section using the Info files that come with XEmacs.)
See `etc/MAILINGLISTS' for more information on mailing lists relating
to XEmacs.

*** How do I get started developing XEmacs?

First, get yourself set up under CVS so that you can access the CVS
repositories containing the XEmacs sources and the XEmacs packages.

Next, set up your layout.  This is important, as a good layout will
facilitate getting things done efficiently, while a bad layout will could
lead to disaster, as you can't figure out which code is the most recent,
which can be thrown away, etc.  We suggest the following layout: (feel free
to make changes)

-- Everything goes under /src/xemacs (use a different directory if you
   want).  From now, instead of saying /src/xemacs, we use <xsrc-top>, to
   make it easier in case someone picked a different directory.

-- Package source is in <xsrc-top>/package-src.

-- Installed packages go under <xsrc-top>/xemacs-packages, and

-- A "workspace" is a complete copy of the sources, in which you do work of
   a particular kind.  Workspaces can be differentiated by which branch of
   the source tree they extend off of -- usually either the stable or
   experimental, unless other branches have been created (for example, Ben
   created a branch for his Mule work because (1) the project was long-term
   and involved an enormous number of changes, (2) people wanted to be able
   to look at what his work in progress, and (3) he wanted to be able to
   check things in and in general use source-code control, since it was a
   long-term project).  Workspaces are also differentiated in what their
   purpose is -- general working workspace, workspace for particular
   projects, workspace keeping the latest copy of the code in one of the
   branches without mods, etc.

-- Various workspaces are subdirectories under <xsrc-top>, e.g.:

   -- <xsrc-top>/working (the workspace you're actively working on,
      periodically synched up with the latest trunk)

   -- <xsrc-top>/stable (for making changes to the stable version of
      XEmacs, which sits on a branch)

   -- <xsrc-top>/unsigned-removal (a workspace for a specific, difficult
      task that's going to affect lots of source and take a long time, and
      so best done in its own workspace without the interference of other
      work you're doing.  Also, you can commit just this one large change,
      separate from all the other changes).

   -- <xsrc-top>/latest (a copy of the latest sources on the trunk,
      i.e. the experimental version of XEmacs, with no patches in it;
      either update it periodically, by hand, or set up a cron job to do it
      automatically).  Set it up so it can be built, and build it so you
      have a working XEmacs. (Building it might also go into the cron job.)

      This workspace serves a number of purposes:
      -- 1. You always have a recent version of XEmacs you can compare
            against when something you're working on breaks.  It's true
            that you can do this with cvs diff, but when you need to do
            some serious investigation, this method just fails.
      -- 2. You (almost) always have a working, up-to-date executable that
            can be used when your executable is crashing and you need to
            keep developing it, or when you need an `xemacs' to build
            packages, etc.
      -- 3. When creating new workspaces, you can just copy the `latest'
            workspace using GNU cp -a.  You have all the .elc's built,
            everything else probably configured, any spare files in place
            (e.g. some annoying xpm.dll under Windows, etc.).

   -- <xsrc-top>/latest-stable/ (equivalent to <xsrc-top>/latest/, but
      for the Stable branch of XEmacs, rather than the Experimental branch
      of XEmacs).  This may or may not be necessary depending on how much
      development you do of the stable branch.

-- <xsrc-top>/xemacsweb is a workspace for working on the XEmacs web site.

-- <xsrc-top>/in-patches for patches received from email and saved to files.

-- <xsrc-top>/out-patches for locally-generated patches to be sent to
   xemacs-patches@xemacs.org.  Less useful now that the patcher util has been

-- <xsrc-top>/build, for build trees when compiling and testing XEmacs with
   various configuration options turned off and on.  The scripts in
   xemacs-builds/ben (see below) can be used to automate building XEmacs
   workspaces with many different configuration options and automatically
   filtering out the normal output so that you see only the abnormal

-- <xsrc-top>/xemacs-builds, for the xemacs-builds module, which you need
   to check out separately in CVS.  This contains scripts used for building
   XEmacs, automating and simplifying using CVS, etc.  Under various
   people's directories are their own build and other scripts.  The
   currently most-maintained scripts are under ben/, where there are easily
   configurable scripts that can be used to easily build any workspace
   (esp. if you've more or less followed the layout presented above)
   unattended, with one or more configuration states (there's a
   pre-determined list of the most useful, but it's easy to change).  The
   output is filtered and split up in various ways so that you can identify
   which output came from where, and you can see the output either full or
   with all "normal" output except occasional status messages filtered so
   that you only see the abnormal ones.

*** What's the basic layout of the code?

The file `configure' is a shell script to acclimate XEmacs to the
oddities of your processor and operating system.  It will create a
file named `Makefile' (a script for the `make' program), which helps
automate the process of building and installing emacs.  See INSTALL
for more detailed information.

The file `configure.in' is the input used by the autoconf program to
construct the `configure' script.  Since XEmacs has configuration
requirements that autoconf can't meet, `configure.in' uses an unholy
marriage of custom-baked configuration code and autoconf macros; it
may be wise to avoid rebuilding `configure' from `configure.in' when

The file `Makefile.in' is a template used by `configure' to create

There are several subdirectories:

`src' holds the C code for XEmacs (the XEmacs Lisp interpreter and its
    primitives, the redisplay code, and some basic editing functions).
`lisp' holds the XEmacs Lisp code for XEmacs (most everything else).
`lib-src' holds the source code for some utility programs for use by
    or with XEmacs, like movemail and etags.
`etc' holds miscellaneous architecture-independent data files
    XEmacs uses, like the tutorial text and the Zippy the Pinhead quote
    database.  The contents of the `lisp', `info' and `man'
    subdirectories are architecture-independent too.
`lwlib' holds the C code for the X toolkit objects used by XEmacs.
`info' holds the Info documentation tree for XEmacs.
`man' holds the source code for the XEmacs online documentation.
`nt' holds files used compiling XEmacs under Microsoft Windows.