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Historical Emacs Software Preservation

Included Implementations

  • TECO EMACS (1976 - 1996)
  • Zwei/Zmacs (1978 - 1997)
  • SINE (1978 - ?)
  • Multics Emacs (1978 - 1989)
  • Montgomery Emacs (~1980)
  • Gosling Emacs (1980 - 2007)
  • GNU Emacs (1984 -)
  • Lucid Emacs (1992 - 1994)
  • XEmacs (1994 - 2013)
  • MicroEMACS (1985 -)
  • Prime Emacs

GNU Emacs Release History

Run the script to create a git repository with GNU Emacs releases from 16.56 to 19.34. Tarballs are preferred, but some releases are reconstructed from diffs. Timestamps will be copied from the top entry in src/ChangeLog; this seems to be a good heuristic.


  • TECO EMACS 24 and 25.

    ITS DUMP tape image. Binary files from late 1976.

  • TECO EMACS 162 from Alfred M. Szmidt.

    ai-emacs.tgz and ai-emacs1.tgz Released September 1981-09-20, but this copy has further modifications.
    "Based on AI EMACS; LOCK timestamp: 1988-03-02 or there abouts"

    "This is for ITS (from the AI system), I think the one on MC is the same I can check if you really are curious, and this should be 162 but lack of version strings and what not make it interesting"

  • emacs-v170.tap from Richard Alderson.

    TOPS-20 DUMPER tape image of TECO EMACS. <EMACS>EMACS.EXE has timestamp May 1 1996.
    Extracted in

  • MIT CADR Zwei from Alfred M. Szmidt and Brad Parker.

    nzwei-mit-48.tar.xz "Based on zmacs.lisp time stamp: 1980-10-17 or there abouts"

    zwei-mit-78.tar.xz "Based on the System patch-dir file ;;; Written 1/11/82 13:52:10 by BSG"

    zwei-mit-99.tar.xz "Based on zmacs.lisp timestamp: 1985-04-13 or there abouts"

    "This is for MIT CADR, copies come from tapes for the MIT CADR system, and some backups that Brad Parker found several years ago (NN is the version of the system)"

  • TI Explorer Zmacs 6 from Alfred M. Szmidt.

    zmacs-ti-6.tar.xz (System 6) "Based on zmacs.lisp time stamp: 1980-10-17 or there abouts"

    "This is for TI Explorer (N is the version of Zmacs, not the operating system -- even though they are the same)"

  • Symbolics Genera Zwei from Alfred M. Szmidt.

    zwei-419.tar.xz (Genera 8.1) "Based on the Zwei patch-dir file: ;;; Written 9/05/97 11:27:49 by LISPM"

    zwei-430.tar.xz (Genera 8.3) "Based on the Zwei patch-dir file: ;;; Written 2/02/93 11:06:17 by Palter"

    zwei-436.tar.xz (Genera 8.5 / Open Genera 2.0) "Based on the Zwei patch-dir file: ;;; Written 4/10/91 15:20:14 by Palter"

    "This is from Genera, copies come from CD-ROMs and tapes distributed with the Symbolics Lisp Machines (zwei-NNN where NNN is the version of Zwei/Zmacs)"

  • zwei-lambda.tar.xz from Alfred M. Szmidt and Joe Marshall.

    "This is for/from Lambda, I do not know the version sadly :( The copy comes from Joe Marshall who used to work at Gigamos."

  • Multics Emacs 12.9 from

    Last changed in 1989-11-14.

  • Emacs 13.8 from

    Possibly with VMS modifications.

  • emacs-16.56.tar.gz from

    Noah Friedman: "In 1993 I recovered a copy of the Emacs 16.56 sources from backup tapes at MIT because rms needed it in a court case with Unisys. I put it back up for ftp a couple of years later and it's relatively easy to find these days."

  • emacs-16.57-1.diff and emacs-16.57-2.diff from Usenet net.sources.

    It seems this is not the official 16.57. There are no ChangeLogs entries.

  • Emacs 16.60, emacs.tar.Z

    Mike Haertel: "This tar file came from a nine track tape that was sent to members of the Unix Users of Minnesota.

    I don't know if it's an original tar file made by RMS, but at least the timestamps of the files within look correct, except maybe for a few of the top level directories which are dated Oct 2, 1985."

  • Emacs 17.61 from

  • emacs-17.61.diff and emacs-17.64.diff from Usenet net.emacs.

  • Emacs 17.62 from, with help from Alfred M. Szmidt

  • Emacs "17.VMS-2" from

  • emacs_18.41.tar.gz from

  • edist_18_51.tar_z from

  • emacs.tar.Z (modified 18.51) from

  • edist_18_52.tar_lzw from

  • diff-18* from

  • edist_18_51.tar_z from

  • edist_18_52.tar_lzw from

  • emacs-18.55.tar.gz from

  • emacs-18.55.tar.Z from

  • emacs-15.0.3.s.tar.gz from

    GNU Emacs for NeXT systems. This is a version of 18.55, plus RMS changes up until July 1990. This is interesting, because stock 18.55 was released in August 1989, and 18.56 in January 1991.

  • NeXT GNU Emacs 18.55.122 from

    GitHub repository; the original source is anonymous. This version should be slightly newer than emacs-15.0.3.s.tar.gz.

  • emacs-18.57.tar.gz from

  • emacs-18.58.tar.gz from

  • emacs-18.59.tar.gz from

  • emacs-18-patches* from

    To build Emacs 18.59 on a modern Linux system.

  • emacs-19.7.tar.gz to emacs-19.21.tar.gz from

  • emacs-19.22.tar.gz to emacs-19.28.tar.gz from

  • emacs-19.29.tar.gz and emacs-19.30.tar.gz from

  • emacs-19.31.tar.gz from

  • emacs-19.34b.tar.gz from

  • lemacs* and xemacs* from

  • gosling-emacs-1999.tar and gosling-emacs-2007.tar from

    Brian Reid: "I found two versions. They are in and

    In 1999 I updated it so it would work with gcc 2 In 2007 I paid some Russian kid to update it so that it would work with gcc 3 When gcc 4 came out it would no longer compile, and I just sort of walked away from it."

    "I got the source from you in 1983. I did a little bit of work on it so it would run under 4.3BSD. It was then untouched until gcc 2.0 came out; I had to change every variable-argument function call.

    So my 1999 version is identical to your 1983 version except for those two things."

    About publishing the files:

    Brian Reid: "Fine with me. I consider them to be James' property and not my own."

    James Gosling: "It’s fine with me too. Archaeology is a good thing :-)"

  • gosling-emacs.tar from der Mouse.

    "I got it from a prerelase of Eunice, obtained because one of the people behind Eunice personally knew some people at the lab I was then hanging out at. ("Then" is mid-'80s sometime.) Once I started using a real Unix (4.2c, then 4.3 shortly after that, then SunOS, then....) I ripped out the special-case Eunice code and have been maintaining (and slowly evolving) it over the years since then."

  • Gosling emacs.tap from DECUS/Stuttgart University/neozeed.

    "This is apparently Gosling Emacs from 1984 tape. The decus tape label is : UniPress Software Inc. PRODUCT: EMACS SCREEN EDITOR VAX/SUN UNIX 4.2 Source (C)1983 tar S/N # 1054 7/84"

  • old-uemacs.tar.gz from Dave Conroy.

    "I probably have a version that predates any of Daniel Lawrence's changes, but I will need to look around a little and find it."
    "This looks like a version from 1986."

  • emacs23.tap from Dennis Boone.