Build emacs on MacOSX
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Build Emacs for OSX

This repository allows you to build Emacs for Mac OSX. If you are not familiar with Emacs building process I suggest you to grab a ready-to-use binary version at Emacs For Mac OSX.

What this version does?

Ok this is an other Emacs build but what are the differences with Emacs For Mac OSX?

  • You can choose the version you want to build from any commit within the whole Emacs history. Well this is true for most of them (Emacs >= 24).

  • A stand alone Emacs.App is generated. This means you only need dependencies for the building process. Then you can deploy the Emacs.App on any OSX desktop. For the curious all non-system libraries are stored into the Contents/Resources/lib directory.

  • Some very basic patches are applied:

    • Full screen support: Emacs supports OSX full screen mechanisms but lacks of a full screen toggle function. This patch adds ns-toggle-fullscreen which allows you to toggle full screen from Emacs itself.

    • Show git commit ID in emacs-version:

    GNU Emacs (x86_64-apple-darwin, NS appkit-1404.13 Version 10.11.1 (Build 15B42), git sha1 d5ee655) of 2015-10-28

All patches are included in emacs-patches-directory (which is located in the application bundle at Contents/Resources/patches). A list of all applied patched is stored in the emacs-patches-list variable.

The view-emacs-patches function opens a dired buffer in emacs-patches-list. The view-emacs-patch opens a particular patch.

  • Users Emacs directory: instead of just searching init.el in ~/.emacs.d your configuration files will be searched in that order:

    • ~/.emacs.d-GIT_COMMIT (i.e. ~/.emacs.d-10292e9)
    • ~/.emacs.d-EMACS_VERSION (i.e. ~/.emacs.d-
    • ~/.emacs.d-EMACS_MAJOR_VERSION (i.e. ~/.emacs.d-24)
    • ~/.emacs.d-EMACS_MAJOR_MINOR_VERSION (i.e. ~/.emacs.d-24.4)
    • ~/.emacs.d

    This is useful if you need to test your configuration against several versions at the same time.

  • The C source files are included in Contents/Resources/src in the application bundle.


First you need to install following tools (you may want to use brew for that):

  • automake
  • imagemagick: you need to activate some options:
    • --with-hdri
    • --with-fontconfig
    • --with-ghostscript
    • --with-jp2
    • --with-liblqr
    • --with-rsvg
    • --with-libtiff
    • --with-libwmf
    • --with-little-cms
    • --with-little-cms2
    • --with-openexr
    • --with-perl
    • --with-quantum-depth-16
    • --with-webp
  • gnutls

You also need to checkout an Emacs git repository. I suggest you to use Savannah's which is the most up-to-date.

git clone git://

Building Emacs for OSX

Once all requirements are installed you can just run:


If you want to build a specific version you just can pass the commit id or tag to the build-emacs script:

./build-emacs emacs-24.4

configuration report

This is a summary of activated options given during the configure part:

Configured for `x86_64-apple-darwin'.

  Where should the build process find the source code?    .
  What compiler should emacs be built with?               gcc -std=gnu99  -pipe -march=nocona
  Should Emacs use the GNU version of malloc?             no
    (The GNU allocators don't work with this system configuration.)
  Should Emacs use a relocating allocator for buffers?    no
  Should Emacs use mmap(2) for buffer allocation?         no
  What window system should Emacs use?                    nextstep
  What toolkit should Emacs use?                          none
  Where do we find X Windows header files?                /usr/X11/include
  Where do we find X Windows libraries?                   /usr/X11/lib
  Does Emacs use -lXaw3d?                                 no
  Does Emacs use -lXpm?                                   no
  Does Emacs use -ljpeg?                                  no
  Does Emacs use -ltiff?                                  no
  Does Emacs use a gif library?                           no
  Does Emacs use a png library?                           no
  Does Emacs use -lrsvg-2?                                no
  Does Emacs use imagemagick?                             yes
  Does Emacs support sound?                               no
  Does Emacs use -lgpm?                                   no
  Does Emacs use -ldbus?                                  no
  Does Emacs use -lgconf?                                 no
  Does Emacs use GSettings?                               no
  Does Emacs use a file notification library?             no
  Does Emacs use access control lists?                    yes
  Does Emacs use -lselinux?                               no
  Does Emacs use -lgnutls?                                yes
  Does Emacs use -lxml2?                                  yes
  Does Emacs use -lfreetype?                              no
  Does Emacs use -lm17n-flt?                              no
  Does Emacs use -lotf?                                   no
  Does Emacs use -lxft?                                   no
  Does Emacs directly use zlib?                           yes
  Does Emacs use toolkit scroll bars?                     yes