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XEmacs Installation HOWTO


These installation instructions apply to UNIX and Linux systems and assume that you have root access. These instructions result in a non-Mule XEmacs. If you have to alter or modify any steps in order to install on your configuration, or if these instructions are not clear or do not work for you, please email the details to webmaster@xemacs.org .

If you already have a working XEmacs of version 21.1 or greater around, you may want to install the XEmacs build package.

Its documentation should give you a better understanding of the XEmacs build process on UNIX and Windows alike, no matter whether you want to build from tarballs or CVS.

  1. Check out the list of optional external libraries used by XEmacs. Obtain, build, and configure any you do not have.

  2. Download the following files from the beta , gamma , or stable directory of a networkologically close mirror (depending on whether you want to build a beta version, a gamma version, or a stable XEmacs version). Substitute the XEmacs version number for <VERSION> below (e.g. VERSION=21.1.14 is the latest stable version as of 2002-02-21).

    Source Tarball:
    Lisp Tarball:
    Info Documents Tarball:

    For XEmacs 21.4 and higher, the xemacs-<VERSION>.tar.gz tarball contains everything necessary, ie. the same files as the following tarballs together.

    Source Tarball:
    Lisp Tarball:
    Info Documents Tarball:
  3. Expand the above files into the directory used for compiling, e.g.

    gzip -dc xemacs-<VERSION>.tar.gz | tar xf -
  4. Change to the directory where you expanded the files, e.g.

    cd /usr/src/xemacs-<VERSION>
  5. (This step does not apply to a native Windows build.) After reading about all the available options printed by

    ./configure --help


              ...] [CONFIGURATION]; make
  6. After configuration finishes, switch to the root account and type

    make install

    If you don't have root privilege, you may run XEmacs in-place after typing

    make all
  7. Download at least following XEmacs packages:

  8. efs-*-pkg.tar.gz
  9. xemacs-base-*-pkg.tar.gz
  10. If you have an XEmacs built with Mule support, you should also get:

  11. mule-base-*-pkg.tar.gz
  12. Fetch any of the above packages as documented in our Release Notice Archive.

    The current version number will replace the '*'.

  13. Expand the above files into: /usr/local/lib/xemacs/xemacs-packages/. Please note that the mule-base-*-pkg.tar.gz should be installed to: /usr/local/lib/xemacs/mule-packages/. If you would prefer to install these in a different location, set the EMACSPACKAGEPATH environment variable to your preferred location. Then extract the files in that location. Don't forget to export the variable, and to add it to the appropriate startup script!

  14. Start XEmacs by typing


    If you're trying XEmacs without installing it (make all), start it with ./src/xemacs from the top-level directory in the XEmacs source tree.

  15. From the menubar, choose Options -> Manage Packages -> Add Download Site. Or, if you are using an XEmacs >= 21.4, you would choose: Tools -> Packages -> Add Download Site, and pick a networkologically close mirror. As of 21.4.16 and 21.5.12 the entry has been renamed to Tools -> Packages -> Set Download Site to make it clearer that only one download site can be set at any time.

  16. From the menubar, choose Options -> Manage Packages -> List and Install. Or, if you are using an XEmacs >= 21.4, you would choose: Tools -> Packages -> List and Install. This will download the most recent package index and list the packages available for install. If you get EFS, PGP, or GPG errors (``Can't check signature...''), refer to the description in the package guide how to resolve them. Instructions and key bindings for this buffer are at the bottom; use the scroll bar to view them. If in doubt about a particular package, it is generally safe to just install it.

  17. An overview of existing packages and their purpose may be found at ../Develop/packages.html and under the XEmacs source tree in etc/PACKAGES.

  18. Select the packages you wish to install and then choose: Packages -> Add Required. This will select any packages that are needed by the ones you have selected.

  19. From the menubar, choose Packages -> Install/Remove Selected

  20. Once the package files have been downloaded and installed, XEmacs must be exited and restarted in order to use the package functions.

As an alternative to steps 7 to 15 above, you can get a fully-featured XEmacs the easy way, just fetch the latest Sumo package tarball:

  • xemacs-sumo.tar.gz
  • Or:
  • xemacs-sumo.tar.bz2
  • For a fully-featured Mule XEmacs, fetch the latest Mule Sumo package tarball as well:

  • xemacs-mule-sumo.tar.gz
  • Or:
  • xemacs-mule-sumo.tar.bz2
  • The Sumo tarballs are available from the same FTP directory as all the other XEmacs packages.

    To install the Sumo tarballs, simply unpack them to: /usr/local/lib/xemacs/


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