I'm using Emacs on different environments and unsure of which version to use so that they all behave the same as I hear there are differences between XEamcs, Emacs, and some other versions. Which should I use?

By the way, I am not looking to start a flame war with this post, I just want a version of emacs that runs the same everywhere which is the whole point of me wanting to switch to emacs.

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  • 1
    In what way do you find that emacs run differently from platform to platform? Aside from codebase (GNU eamcs vs. Xemacs) and keymapping differences I've never had any trouble with interoperability when using the same version of emacs. The thing is that the available build of GNU emacs often varies from platform to platform. – dmckee Apr 5 '10 at 19:01

I stick with the "pure" -- i.e. nothing else added -- versions:

Mac OS X (not Aquamacs): http://emacsformacosx.com/

Windows (not cygwin): http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/emacs/windows/

Linux: Whatever package manager your distro uses or compile myself

I put any OS-specific stuff in a wrapper using the system-type variable (see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1817257/how-to-determine-operating-system-in-elisp).


Somehow I think the Linux version of GNU Emacs can be compiled on Mac OSX and Cygwin.

  • Do I need to compile or are there native installers too? – Zubair Apr 5 '10 at 18:43
  • Also I tried the cygwin emacs and it seemed to have different key bindings to emacs on linux – Zubair Apr 5 '10 at 18:45
  • You may have to try it from an XTerm within cygwin. The Win32 console forces some weird keybindings. – Joshua Apr 5 '10 at 19:12

XEmacs runs the same on windows, OS X, and Linux, however you'll need to get the OS X version from Macports.

Regular Emacs comes with OS X, and is typically a default install on most linux distro's. If you install Cygwin on windows, there is an option to install Emacs that way.

So put simply, chose either XEmacs, or Emacs, and go from there.

Obviously there are going to be some issues such as which key is the control key, and meta key.

  • 1
    Xemacs is also available from fink. But that make two unbridgeable schisms between us: I use fink and GNU emacs. BTW, I use fink's carbon-emacs package which is ever some much nicer that the default version that came with the OS. – dmckee Apr 5 '10 at 18:51

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