I was building Emacs on a virtual machine today and realized that I've been building Emacs on various machines for nigh on twenty years. The first machine I built Emacs for was an IBM RT running AIX 2.1. That was a tough build--no one had done it before that I could find. This was before the standardized configure scripts that figured everything out for you. I learned a lot.

Things have gotten considerably easier. I find that building Emacs is easier than trying to find the right thing pre-built and isn't that hard. Here's what you do.

  1. Use the following line to grab the latest source:
    cvs -z3 -d:pserver:anonymous@cvs.sv.gnu.org:/sources/emacs \\\\
        co emacs
    
    Note that this is the latest snapshot. If you're not adventurous, find a stable release. On the other hand, I've never had any trouble. This is a code base that's on version 22, after all.
  2. This will create a directory called emacs in the current directory. Go into it: cd emacs
  3. Configure the package: ./configure. If you're building on OS X, use ./configure --enable-carbon-app
  4. Do a bootstrap make: make bootstrap
  5. Do a make from the bootstrap: make
  6. Install it: sudo make install

The bootstrap takes a long time to build, the second make is quick. The installation takes some time. When it's done, you've got the latest emacs on your machine.


Please leave comments using the Hypothes.is sidebar.