An Emacs configuration bundle with batteries included
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A reasonable Emacs config

This is my emacs configuration tree, continually used and tweaked since 2000, and it may be a good starting point for other Emacs users, especially those who are web developers. These days it's somewhat geared towards OS X, but it is known to also work on Linux and Windows.

Emacs itself comes with support for many programming languages. This config adds improved defaults and extended support for the following:

  • Ruby / Ruby on Rails
  • HAML / Markdown / Textile / ERB
  • Clojure (with Cider and nRepl)
  • Javascript / Coffeescript
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Haskell
  • Elm
  • Erlang
  • Common Lisp (with Slime)
  • Perl
  • Bash

In particular, there's a nice config for tab autocompletion, and flycheck is used to immediately highlight syntax errors in Ruby, HAML, Python, Javascript, PHP and a number of other languages.

Further features

  • Mail
  • A full gnus setup, easy to use (look at ~/.gnus after make install)
  • A simple OfflineIMAP configuration (look at ~/.offlineimaprc and ~/ after make install)
  • Please set the pgg-default-keyserver-address variable!
  • Do not panic if mails are not sended automatically! Use M-m a S for it!
  • Browser
    • A full setup of emacs-w3m.
  • Chat
  • A simple ERC setup for using IRC
  • Organisation
  • A simple GTD implementation
  • Multimedia
  • A full setup for EMMS, including a script to access EMMS without an open Emacs frame
  • Includes a setup for the music player demon
  • File sharing
  • A simple setup for rtorrent
  • You can fully use it without a running X server!
  • Daemon setup
  • systemd user level daemon
  • sysvinit daemon shell script for every user
  • A keyboard setup similar to Spacemacs. These means keys defined by this configuration start with M-m.



Supported Emacs versions

The config should run on Emacs 23.3 or greater and is designed to degrade smoothly - see the Travis build - but note that Emacs 24 and above is required for an increasing number of key packages, including magit and flycheck, so to get full you should use the latest Emacs version available to you.

Some Windows users might need to follow these instructions to get TLS (ie. SSL) support included in their Emacs.

Other requirements

To make the most of the programming language-specific support in this config, further programs will likely be required, particularly those that flycheck uses to provide on-the-fly syntax checking.



To install, clone this repo to ~/.emacs.d, i.e. ensure that the init.el contained in this repo ends up at ~/.emacs.d/init.el:

git clone ~/.emacs.d

Then change into it and do:


To install all features shipped with this repository simply do afterwards:

make install

If you want to know what features are available use the script to inform yourself.

Upon starting up Emacs for the first time, further third-party packages will be automatically downloaded and installed. If you encounter any errors at that stage, try restarting Emacs, and possibly running M-x package-refresh-contents before doing so.

If you like to use EMMS you have to specify the player you want to use.

; in custom.el place:
(setq emms-player-list '(emms-player-mplayer)) ; if you use mplayer
(setq emms-player-list '(emms-player-mpd)) ; if you use mpd

The daemon

systemd user level daemon


  • Does not need root privileges to install
  • Very simple to install


  • Starts emacs on login - this costs much time
  • Needs to be installed for EVERY user
make install-systemd-user-daemon
systemctl --user enable emacs
systemctl --user start emacs

sysvinit daemon


  • Very fast startup (on start not on login)
  • Adding a new emacs daemon user is unbeatable simple


  • Needs root privileges to install
  • Not that simple to install
  • Does not work if you use an encrypted home folder
export THEUSER="your_non_root_user_name another_user_if_you_want_to" # optional
export THEUSER="or_only_one_user"
make install-sysvinit-daemon
systemctl enable emacs # if you have systemd installed


To uninstall things that have been installed with this Repository and are specific for Emacs:

make uninstall

To uninstall everything that have been installed with this Repository:

make uninstall-all

Important note about ido

This config enables ido-mode completion in the minibuffer wherever possible, which might confuse you when trying to open files using C-x C-f, e.g. when you want to open a directory to use dired -- if you get stuck, use C-f to drop into the regular find-file prompt. (You might want to customize the ido-show-dot-for-dired variable if this is an issue for you.)


Update the config with git pull. You'll probably also want/need to update the third-party packages regularly too:

M-x package-list-packages, then U followed by x.

Adding your own customization

To add your own customization, use M-x customize and/or create a file ~/.emacs.d/lisp/init-local.el which looks like this:

(provide 'init-local) ```

Alternatively, fork the repo and hack away at the config to make it
your own!

If you need initialisation code which executes earlier in the startup process,
you can also create an `~/.emacs.d/lisp/init-preload-local.el` file.

If you plan to customize things more extensively, you should probably
just fork the repo and hack away at the config to make it your own!

For key bindings look at the `~/.emacs.d/lisp/init-keys.el`! It uses
(Spacemacs)[] like key settings,
which means custom keys start with <kbd>M-m</kbd>

## Similar configs

You might also want to check out `emacs-starter-kit` and `prelude`.

## Support / issues

If you hit any problems, please first ensure that you are using the
latest version of this code, and that you have updated your packages
to the most recent available versions (see "Updates" above). If you
still experience problems, go ahead
[file an issue on the github project](

- Richard Paul Bäck

## Special thanks

Special thanks to Steve Purcel. This config is a fork of
his [Config]((



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