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Emacs 24.1 Released

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the latest-version dept.

GNU is Not Unix 161

First time accepted submitter JOrgePeixoto writes "Emacs 24.1 has been released. New features include a new packaging system and interface (M-x list-packages), support for displaying and editing bidirectional text, support for lexical scoping in Emacs Lisp, improvements to the Custom Themes system, unified/improved completion system in many modes and packages and support for GnuTLS (for built-in TLS/SSL encryption), GTK+ 3, ImageMagick, SELinux, and Libxml2."

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161 comments

I wonder (4, Funny)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#40282445)

whether there's still an ongoing debate about "emacs vs vi".

Re:I wonder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282467)

vi users have better things to do

Re:I wonder (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282509)

But LEXICAL SCOPING isn't one of them!

Re:I wonder (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40283677)

But LEXICAL SCOPING isn't one of them!

Which is sad, they really need some sort of closure, as far as their Emacs antipathy is concerned.

Re:I wonder (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40282493)

whether there's still an ongoing debate about "emacs vs vi".

Sure. If you need to change one line in /etc/puppet/modules/apache/files/http.conf or whatever, its silly to light up emacs and make sure you had originally SSH'ed into the puppetmaster with -X for X forwarding blah blah blah. On the other hand if you're doing "serious" all day long software development, the emacs IDE remains superior to anything else out there, and far superior to vi. All you need to do is close the view of the world down to narrow little tasks and its off to the races.

I've used both, but never interchangeably, they each have their optimum "area".

Re:I wonder (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282589)

for X forwarding blah blah blah

On the contrary, as a die-hard emacs user, I alias emacs to /usr/bin/emacs -nw when I'm not on an operating system that offers a version compiled without X support. Text editors, of all things, should respect being run in TTYs.

Re:I wonder (3, Insightful)

knuthin (2255242) | about 2 years ago | (#40282651)

Did you ever feel that "emacs -nw" takes a while to start? Even more than vim or gVim?

Referring to what vlm said: I don't know what emacs does or how it starts, but I guess it is doing too much of computation on things that make it an IDE (or an OS) than a simple text editor.

Re:I wonder (5, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | about 2 years ago | (#40283015)

$ time emacs -nw -Q --eval "(kill-emacs)"

real
0m0.069s
user
0m0.036s
sys
0m0.012s

Re:I wonder (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40283425)

70 ms? I think you had it all, binaries and .el and .elc files, cached in memory buffers and/or you had another emacs instance running on the same box taking advantage of copy on write.

Real world on a real machine a cold start of emacs is probably closer to 7000 ms than 700 ms. Just too much "stuff" to read off the disk if nothing else.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40283725)

Dude, jrumney upped the ante and offered an actual timing & you rebut with mere speculations. Besides, when doing sysadmin stuff one is often editing multiple files around the same time, so the cold start situation is atypical. And 7000ms is a massive exaggeration on modern machines.

Re:I wonder (1)

dvdkhlng (1803364) | about 2 years ago | (#40283935)

You know that Emacs does not parse most of its .elc or .el files at startup? These are parsed during Emacs compilation, then an image of the Emacs process' memory is dumped to disk [fu-berlin.de] and used for quick startup. Only system config files from /etc or ~/.emacs and dependent files need to be parsed.

Re:I wonder (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 2 years ago | (#40283939)

The binary was probably cached. The GP was speculating about doing too much of computation on things that make it an IDE (or an OS) than a simple text editor. What is read off disk was not part of what I was testing, but Emacs does not need to read any .el or .elc files to start up. But anyway, a cold start on this machine is about 2.5s real time, including spinning up the disk.

Re:I wonder (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | about 2 years ago | (#40284137)

No, but it had the "-Q" option, which is equivalent to "--no-init-file --no-site-file --no-splash". So you skip what takes most of the time.
On a few years old dual core Xeon @ 2.5 GHz, I get 60 ms like this from a fresh start (nothing cached, basic HD not SSD). By removing the "-Q" to get a more meaningful duration I was surprised to get 360 ms only on a second run. And then below 300 ms for other runs with all cached in memory. Not as fast as vi or jed for sure, but very reasonable. Of course this will depends on the complexity of the init script, but there's already some material here with most of it loaded from NFS (site init). YMMV.
I still remember how long it felt when I started working years ago and yes indeed, it took a few seconds to start emacs. Quite a change!

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40283319)

With -nw emacs starts just as slow as it does without. The heavy part of emacs isn't the GUI.

Re:I wonder (4, Insightful)

tuffy (10202) | about 2 years ago | (#40282679)

A more common issue is that Emacs just isn't installed by default on as many servers. So it's a good idea to know how to use vi to go to a line, perform a search, insert some text and save the file at the very least.

Pico (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40282773)

That or learn Pico. Just about every shell account I've used has had either Pico or GNU Nano installed.

Re:I wonder (5, Interesting)

DdJ (10790) | about 2 years ago | (#40282737)

If you need to change one line in /etc/puppet/modules/apache/files/http.conf or whatever, its silly to light up emacs and make sure you had originally SSH'ed into the puppetmaster with -X for X forwarding blah blah blah.

Heh, I almost always launch emacs with the "-nw" switch, and when I'm installing it on my own machines, I install the "-nox" flavor of the packages. I've been using Emacs since version 18 back in the 1980s, and we didn't need no fancy GUI back then, and I don't want it today neither.

You kids get off my lawn.

(Still, I do fire up vi for very small very simple editing tasks. And sometimes I try to drive both sides of the flamewar crazy by running Emacs in vi-emulation mode.)

Give the GUI a try (1)

olau (314197) | about 2 years ago | (#40283837)

You'll want to remove the useless icon toolbar and perhaps customize the colors and size, but when you do that, it's just much, much better. For instance copy-pasting multiple lines with mouse from Emacs in a terminal window doesn't work properly.

I used to be like you when I started with Emacs back in the nineties, but things have changed.

Re:I wonder (3, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 2 years ago | (#40282863)

X forwarding? You mean you've never tried emacs in tty mode? You haven't *lived*! IMHO, the days of having to use some other editor to make a 'quick change' are past. Modern hardware is so quick that starting emacs to edit a config file is pretty much instant.

Re:I wonder (1)

drjones78 (961270) | about 2 years ago | (#40282995)

Tramp will edit files in SSH - IMHO there's never a reason to use vim or emacs server-side, when you can edit remote files directly from both.

Re:I wonder (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 2 years ago | (#40283029)

> If you need to change one line in /etc/puppet/modules/apache/files/http.conf
> or whatever, its silly to light up emacs and make sure you had originally
> SSH'ed into the puppetmaster with -X for X forwarding blah blah blah.

You shouldn't have to leave your text editor and start an ssh session only to get back into your text editor again on the other system, just because the file you want to edit happens to be on another computer. It shouldn't matter where the file is stored, physically. If your text editor can't open remote files via ssh (or ftp or whatever protocol they're accessible via) and edit and save them just the same as local files, then it is not worthy to be called a text editor.

Re:I wonder (1)

jeddak (12628) | about 2 years ago | (#40283299)

A real emacs user doesn't "light up emacs" to make trivial changes to configuration files - a real emacs user already has emacs running (with emacs server, of course).

Re:I wonder (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#40283613)

A real emacs user doesn't "light up emacs" to make trivial changes to configuration files - a real emacs logs directly into emacs as login shell in /etc/passwd

FTFY.

Wait (2)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | about 2 years ago | (#40283923)

I didn't understand you.
Can't you simply run Emacs in text-UI mode or, better yet, run it on the client using TRAMP
to access the files on the server?

Re:I wonder (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40284187)

Please learn about daemon mode. [blogspot.com]

emacs --daemon
alias edit='/usr/bin/emacsclient -n -c -a nano'
edit somefile.txt

If you didn't previously start emacs, it will start nano. Either way, you'll have super fast editing without the need for vi. Of course, you can always use vi in place of nano - or whichever editor you prefer.

Re:I wonder (5, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40282495)

whether there's still an ongoing debate about "emacs vs vi".

Nah, people realized it was silly to still be comparing a text editor to an OS.

Web browser as OS (0)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40282835)

Is it any sillier than the realization that web browsers have become at least as much of an operating system [blogspot.com] as Emacs is? But then Emacs has become a web browser too [gnu.org]...

Re:Web browser as OS (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40284065)

Except that it was discontinued in 1999 (as per wiki). Maybe a good idea would be to take GNOME Web a.k.a. Epiphany, and include that in Emacs? At this stage, things like Elinks are not adequate for most websites.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282561)

They're both on the same side now, fighting the good fight against Eclipse.

Re:I wonder (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 2 years ago | (#40282915)

> whether there's still an ongoing debate about "emacs vs vi".

No, that debate was settled back in the eighties. Everybody knows the answer except for a few total noobs like you.

However, you're not allowed to ask what the answer is. You have to figure it out for yourself. If you do ask, some people will be nice and answer correctly, but other people will try to tell you the wrong answer, as punishment for asking the question.

HTH.HAND.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282939)

PHShhhhhaaaaw.... Its all about version numbers these days. They are UP to 24!!!! Gawd how dare they be that high up!

Re:I wonder (3, Interesting)

drjones78 (961270) | about 2 years ago | (#40282967)

Of course there is....

But with evil-mode being such an amazing vi-like environment for emacs, for me, its really hard to justify vim anymore (even though I was a big vim guy for years). And org-mode rocks.

There are some nice plugins for vim these days though, that have no easy equivalent in emacs. Syntastic, for example, just works out of the box and does a lot of advanced things that emacs requires tons of lisp twiddling to accomplish... but oh well.

Re:I wonder (0)

assertation (1255714) | about 2 years ago | (#40283035)

Yep and it is sad.

Maybe back in the 90s there was a reason for the existence of either:

"Gee what if some poor programmer is stranded in India programming on a 386 where s/he can't use the much more convenient non-archaic development software".

Well, now India has as nice as computers as Americans and Europeans do.

James Gosling, the founder of EMACS ( and Java ) has even posted pieces on the web begging people to stop living in the past and move on.

There are better things now than EMACS and VI, even free as in beer for the cheapskates who don't want to spend money for their career.

I think continued use of either piece of software reflects a rigid anti-change mentality that is stuck in the past and against learning new things.

The IT sector will likely only be free of this software after a generation of IT people literally dies off.

Re:I wonder (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#40283301)

I think continued use of either piece of software reflects a rigid anti-change mentality that is stuck in the past and against learning new things.

It could indicate that the editors are very good, perform their tasks well, and the new things aren't good enough to replace either vim or emacs. Why learn a new editor just for the sake of using a new editor?

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40283359)

I can't be bothered to find the xkcd, but he's the guy who develops the 15th competing standard.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40283353)

James Gosling, the founder of EMACS? Oh, my head...

Gosling was pushing NetBeans (1)

wol (10606) | about 2 years ago | (#40283413)

I remember Gosling pushing to get people to move to NetBeans in 2008 (surprisingly a product created by his company, Sun). I tried it. Didn't like it. It felt like it wanted to be a gui rather than an editor. So I went back to happily using Emacs. So, serious question from an old guy and lisp programmer - what do you suggest as a replacement and why?

Re:Gosling was pushing NetBeans (1)

assertation (1255714) | about 2 years ago | (#40283549)

I get where you are coming from. I used EMACS in college for everything when I was learning to program. After school, I have used Visual Slickedit since it has the benefits of an IDE with the features of an advanced text editor.

I've started learning Eclipse since I am a Java programmer and it seems to be a defacto standard in many Java shops.

I've been very impressed so far. My only disappointment is the loss of a few text editing features, some of which have been replaced by this extension:
http://tkilla.ch/column_mode/ [tkilla.ch]

I don't know how well Eclipse would appeal to non-Java programmers or people who do many different things. It seems to work on a very different paradign from Emacs and text editor centric IDEs.

Instead of "open any file and crunch text" it is organized around projects and one way of doing things. I know, that sounds bad, but with the features they have and the thought they put into it, it actually does relieve the Java programmer of a lot of pain.

Re:I wonder (1)

tuffy (10202) | about 2 years ago | (#40283537)

Gosling's inability to sell his own version of a proprietary Emacs built on MockLisp back in 1981 says very little about whether it's a useful tool today.

Re:I wonder (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40283857)

There are better things now than EMACS and VI, even free as in beer for the cheapskates who don't want to spend money for their career.

That's like saying that there are better things now than mugs and glasses. Or like saying that potatoes are better than rice. You do realize that different things have different purpose, don't you?

Re:I wonder (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40284135)

Just b'cos it was built then doesn't mean that it's not capable of being worked on and getting enhanced features developed. Speaking of which, I just wish someone had taken Goslings NeWS as well as Display Postscript and created a windowing alternative to X

Re:I wonder (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#40283747)

whether there's still an ongoing debate about "emacs vs vi".

No, that was preempted when WINE announced support for Notepad.exe

So, Emacs has become a better OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282447)

...but when will it get a decent editor?

Emacs env and Emacs Muse (3, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40282897)

Speaking of which, if one is working under Emacs, rather than ash/bash/csh/...zsh as the interface to the OS, can one use other editors, be it vim, pico, nano or whatever other editor there may be under unix (I'm using the term loosely to cover linux, bsds, minix, svr4, or any other variant)

Another question - looking @ the GNU software directory, there is also an Emacs muse, which is 'an authoring and publishing environment for Emacs. It simplifies the process of writing documents and publishing them to various output formats.'. Has anybody ever tried that before? How is it, and what is the status of its development? How does it compare to similar tools from, say, Adobe? This seems to be one application that would do well under a CLI, and not need DEs to work under, and it would be a good extension of Emacs' capabilities.

Stallman (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282449)

Reports say RMS will be sitting alone, as usual, masturbating while crying, wishing software would be free.

LiveCD (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282465)

Where can I download the LiveCD?

Re:LiveCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282565)

...that is called a Lisp Machine!

See:
The first Domain name registered.

Neat program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282473)

but will it open my Microsoft Works document?

M-x tetris (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40282497)

And I bet Alexey Pajitnov is still not happy about M-x tetris [gnu.org], seeing as he thinks free software destroys the market [slashdot.org].

This is an outrage!! (1, Funny)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#40282531)

Honestly I'm frankly quite insulted to think that there was anything emacs couldn't do. Features? We don't need any more features. How do you improve on perfection?

Actually the only thing emacs is missing is an interface more like VI.

*ducks*

Re:This is an outrage!! (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40282557)

Actually the only thing emacs is missing is an interface more like VI.

(insert gameshow Bzzzzt)

http://emacswiki.org/emacs/VimMode [emacswiki.org]

Boustrophedontic text (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40282617)

It now handles bidirectional test, so its market has extended to the users of several dialects of early Classical Greek. This is a must have feature if ever there was one.

Yes, I know. Word processors which handle Hebrew and Arabic allow for changing direction, but this is associated with different languages.

Re:Boustrophedontic text (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40284295)

Hey, it also extended the market to us up in the northen parts of Europe that are still using runes(wait does emacs support runes?)

Emacs' next frontiers (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40282973)

Maybe Emacs next goal could be to provide a windowing system within its environment that would replace the likes of X11 7.7, or beat Wayland to the punch, all within Emacs itself. Then, whenever anybody creates any unix, such as a Minix, Tiny Core Linux, Hurd, OpenIndiana or whatever, all one would need to do is have Linux be the automatic application that starts up when one logs in. Oh, and add to it a set of shell commands as well, so that different shells, from ash-zsh just won't be needed. Everything should be hunky dory!

Let's get these out of the way (4, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 2 years ago | (#40282537)

Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping, it's a great OS but it needs a text editor, etc.

Seriously though, it's really excellent that such a mature project can continue to advance. Not many projects can continue to grow for 36 years

Re:Let's get these out of the way (4, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#40282569)

Not many projects can continue to grow for 36 years

No shit. Thank the gods that RAM and HDDs have kept pace!

Re:Let's get these out of the way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282573)

Not many projects can continue to grow for 36 years

It's not that they can't, it's that they shouldn't. And emacs is no exception.

Re:Let's get these out of the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282761)

Not many projects can continue to grow for 36 years

That's the magic of open source. Software is like a sexually reproductive life form. If it gets frustrated and can't spread it's genes it withers. Some even cease to be generalized text editors and start to post on /..

Re:Let's get these out of the way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282889)

"If it gets frustrated and can't spread it's genes it withers."

I get frustrated when people who can argue about text editors can't even tell its from it's.

Re:Let's get these out of the way (1)

Dynamoo (527749) | about 2 years ago | (#40282825)

I thought it stood for "Emacs Makes A Computer Slow"..

Re:Let's get these out of the way (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#40283533)

Well I thought it stood for Escape-Meta-Alt-Control-Shift.

Maybe I'm just too young for the Eight Megabytes one to make sense. I just can't think of 8MB as "too big to fit in RAM" - I think I've hit 8GB before with some programs.

Re:Let's get these out of the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282901)

I can think of billions.

Re:Let's get these out of the way (0)

yoctology (2622527) | about 2 years ago | (#40282971)

Things that grow on me that long are tumors. But seriously, things that have breadth greater than some small number or depth greater than log of another small number are not well designed for human use. emacs is a shrine to RMS and his faithful apostles, but otherwise, I think I'll stick to notepad++ with a side of python and Mathematica

Re:Let's get these out of the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40283305)

That raises an interresting question: what is the oldest actively developed piece of software?

Re:Let's get these out of the way (2)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | about 2 years ago | (#40284321)

Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping

The bizarre part is that some people, who seam not to have used Emacs for years,
still claim it is slow. It _was_ slow, back when 8 Megabytes was a lot of memory.
These days it is fast.

And I say that as a guy who used to remove every unneeded byte from his
riced Gentoo box. Even though I now use Ubuntu, I still have some speed-freakery
inside.

Catching up to ten-year-old XEmacs features (3, Funny)

kriston (7886) | about 2 years ago | (#40282661)

Ahh, it's nice to see GNU Emacs finally bothering to catch up to these ten-year-old XEmacs features.

Re:Catching up to ten-year-old XEmacs features (1)

cc1984_ (1096355) | about 2 years ago | (#40283235)

Why is this modded funny? Is it because it's too true not to be?!

Re:Catching up to ten-year-old XEmacs features (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40283267)

I didn't realize that XEmacs used Gtk+3 and libxml2 before they existed.

Re:Catching up to ten-year-old XEmacs features (1)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | about 2 years ago | (#40283629)

it's nice to see GNU Emacs finally bothering to catch up to these ten-year-old XEmacs features.

I've always wondered why FSF Emacs couldn't implement a package system...

Re:Catching up to ten-year-old XEmacs features (2)

olau (314197) | about 2 years ago | (#40283993)

I like the anthropomorphized phrasing - as if Emacs itself woke on one day and said, hey, I'm going to hack my Bazaar repository and implement those features that this other not-yet-self-aware fork has had for a decade.

Note that for Emacs, a decade is just the blink of an eye.

What a day! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282721)

First RMS loses his passport and now there's a minor release of emacs! What's next??

Days after RMS got robbed?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282735)

This is susipcious, did he have a new version on his notebook and the thives just stole it to finally free emacs?

Re:Days after RMS got robbed?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282795)

That would be some trick, since he handed off Emacs maintenance a long time ago.

Re:Days after RMS got robbed?! (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40283011)

That's some conspiracy theory - to rob rms just to get the latest emacs outta the door. Maybe it was to prevent him from noticing that some parts of the bison grammer had not gone out w/ it? Maybe he's right - Big Brother is watching!

Pfft, this has already been decided (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40282979)

I use nano for text editing from the command line. When I'm really feeling masochistic, though, I use sed.

Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40283077)

Won't be long before Google Chrome catches up with the version number. Will then Emacs follow the version numbering craze, as did Firefox?

Captcha: screams

Does it do windows? (0)

Pepebuho (167300) | about 2 years ago | (#40283123)

I hope it works in Windows 2000...

Re:Does it do windows? (1)

tuffy (10202) | about 2 years ago | (#40283249)

There is an official Windows build which is usually found in the "windows" subdirectory on the official mirrors. There's also an unofficial Mac OS X build [emacsformacosx.com] (though the site is currently down).
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