April 27, 2006

Installing GNU Emacs 23 from CVS

Posted in Emacs at 20:25 by theBlackDragon

Emacs 23 is the current alpha version of GNU Emacs, the most important or at least notable feature of this upcoming version is the unicode support.

Exactly how alpha this version is can easily be deduced if you realise that the current stable Emacs version is 21.4 and that 22.0.50 is the current development version, so expect things to break, even though I haven't experienced any major breakage yet.

So let's get to installing this thing, first you'll need to checkout the code from CVS, figuring out which branch the 23 version is in was probably the hardest part, finding the correct command line switches to CVS in the CVS manpage must have been the second hardest (hey, I'm an avid Subversion user) šŸ˜‰

I keep my source packages in ~/tmp/src, which I'll use in this example too, just replace this folder with whatever you use. From that directory execute this command:

$ cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.savannah.gnu.org:/sources/emacs co -r emacs-unicode-2 emacs

This then pulls in the latest Emacs 23 (or as the branch is called emacs-unicode-2, I still wonder why they changed that instead of staying with emacs-unicode) from CVS in a new directory named emacs.

After this has finished (might take a while depending on your connection speed) you have to execute a small variation on the typal configure && make && make install routine as outlined in the INSTALL.CVS file.

There are three options you'll probably want to pass to configure, being –with-gtk, –prefix and –suffix, the first for enabling GTK2 support the second to keep it out of your filesystem structure, and theh last one to add a unique suffix to the binaries, so you can add them to you $PATH without them conflicting with already installed Emacsen.

I installed Emacs 23 in my homedirectory in a folder named local with a suffix of ".emacs-23.0.0" and GTK2 enabled

$ ./configure --prefix=/home/theBlackDragon/local --program-suffix=.emacs-23.0.0 --with-gtk

After configure has done it's job you need to run make bootstrap, this can take quite some time, but fortunately you don't need to do this every time you update the sources from CVS.

make bootstrap

Now you just need to follow the "regular" steps:

$ cd lisp
$ make recompile EMACS=../src/emacs
$ cd ..
$ make install

To update Emacs afterwards you'd use:

$ cvs update
$ ./configure --prefix=/home/theBlackDragon/local --program-suffix=.emacs-23.0.0 --with-gtk
$ make
$ cd lisp
$ make recompile EMACS=../src/emacs
$ cd ..
$ make install

When this finishes succesfully you'll have Emacs 23 Alpha installed and you can start poking around. If this doesn't finish succesfully you'll either have to fix it yourself or wait a day and do a CVS update in the hopes that your problem will have been fixed.
Emacs 23 freshly built from CVS

Little disclaimer: this is how I istalled it, there might be some inaccuracies in here, should you find some, please let me know. I do hope you found this article useful in any case šŸ™‚


  1. […] So building on my previous post on installing Emacs 23 from CVS you need to use this configure command: […]

  2. borovkov said,


  3. whoah this weblog is excellent i really like reading your articles.
    Stay up the great work! You recognize, lots of persons are searching around for this info,
    you can aid them greatly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s