Micro (GNU) Emacs
Mg is a Micro Emacs clone created in 1987, based on the original
MicroEMACS v30 released by Dave Conroy in 1985. The name, "Micro
GNU Emacs", was disputed early on by the FSF, so today it simply goes by
mg. This software is fully free and in the public domain.
The intention is to be a small, fast, and portable Emacs-like editor for users who cannot, or do not want to, run the real Emacs for one reason or another. Compatibility with GNU Emacs is key for Mg, separating it from other ErsatzEmacs clones, because there should never be any reason to learn more than one Emacs flavor.
Try the latest release, use the tarball with a version in the name, avoid GitHub generated links! Releases come with a
configurescript, so you don't need autotools. Only a C compiler,
makeand you're set to go.
When Emacs was born keyboards had a
Meta key. Accessing functions
Meta combinations today is usually the same as holding down the
Alt key, or tapping
Other editors use short forms like
^V, in Emacs this is
C-v. Some usage examples:
|Ctrl||C-||C-x C-c||Hold down
To access the built-in Quick Help, press
C-h q, meaning: hold down
Ctrl and tap
h, then release
Ctrl and tap
- has a
meaning, as you can see.
This project is completely self hosting. However, by default you need a
termcap library, like Ncurses, to provide APIs like:
See below for how to build without Ncurses.
On recent Debian/Ubuntu based systems
libtinfo-dev can be used, on
older ones the include file
term.h is missing, so
must be used instead:
sudo apt install libtinfo-dev
sudo apt install libncurses-dev
On other systems you have to install the full Ncurses library instead, on RHEL, CentOS, and Fedora:
sudo yum install ncurses-devel
sudo dnf install ncurses-devel
On macOS you need the Xcode command line tools and headers:
Then build Mg from the unpacked release tarball:
./configure make sudo make install
Without curses, completely stand-alone
make clean ./configure --without-curses make sudo make install
Building from GIT
Users who checked out the source from GitHub must run
first to create the configure script. This requires GNU autotools to be
installed on the build system.
There are several options to the configure script to disable features, e.g., to reduce the size, or remove features if you want to be on par with the official Mg. By default, all below features are enabled:
./configure --help [..] --disable-autoexec Disable auto-execute support --disable-cmode Disable C-mode support --disable-compile Disable C compile & grep mode, used by C-mode --disable-cscope Disable Cscope support --disable-ctags Disable ctags(1) support, required by Cscope --disable-dired Disable directory editor --disable-notab Disable notab mode support (not in OpenBSD) --disable-regexp Disable full regexp search --disable-togglenl Disable toggle-newline-prompt extension (not in OpenBSD) --disable-all Disable all optional features [..] --with-startup=FILE Init file to run at startup if ~/.mg is missing --with-mglog Enable debugging to log file, default: ./log/*.log --without-curses Build without curses/termcap, default: auto
To build the smallest possible mg, with many features removed:
./configure --disable-all --enable-size-optimizations make sudo make install-strip
To build a completely static mg with all features:
./configure LDFLAGS="-static" make sudo make install-strip
Alpine Linux based Docker container images are available from GitHub:
docker pull ghcr.io/troglobit/mg:latest
To edit files from your host's
$HOME, map it to the container's
/root and run:
docker run -ti -v $HOME:/root ghcr.io/troglobit/mg:latest
This supports reading your
~/.mg and it even takes arguments on the
command line. Both quick help and the tutorial are bundled.
The history is long and intertwined with other MicroEMACS spin-offs but goes something like this:
- Nov 15, 1985: MicroEMACS v30 released to mod.sources by Dave G. Conroy
- Mar 3, 1987: First Release (mg1a) via comp.sources.unix
- May 26, 1988: Second release: (mg2a) via comp.sources.misc
- Jan 26, 1992: Linux port released by Charles Hedrick. This version later makes its way onto tsx-11, Infomagic, and various other Linux repositories.
- Feb 25, 2000: First import into the OpenBSD tree, where it is currently maintained with contributions from many others.
- May 8, 2016: Import from OpenBSD 5.9 to GitHub
- May 15, 2016: Mg v3.0, first port back to Linux, by Joachim Wiberg
- Jul 22, 2018: Mg v3.1, removed libite dependency, by Joachim Wiberg
- Aug 26, 2018: Mg v3.2, now fully portable¹, by Joachim Wiberg
- Dec 11, 2019: Mg v3.3, misc fixes and new features from OpenBSD
- Aug 23, 2020: Mg v3.4, new modeline, quick-help, support for gzipped files, and building without termcap/Ncurses, by Joachim Wiberg
- Oct 17, 2021: Mg v3.5, support for Solaris/Illumos based UNIX systems tested on OmniOS and OpenIndiana, sync with Mg from OpenBSD 7.0
See the source distribution for the list of AUTHORS.
Origin & References
This project is derived from OpenBSD Mg, which is the best (maintained) source of the original Micro Emacs based on mg2a. The intention of this project is to develop new usability features, track as many other Mg clones as possible, and, unlike the upstream OpenBSD version, enable hidden features using a standard GNU configure script, while remaining friendly to porting to resource constrained systems. New features:
- Emacs-like modeline with
- Support for building without curses, using termios + escape seq.
- Tutorial accessible using
- Support for Ctrl-cursor + Ctrl-PgUp/PgDn like Emacs
- Support for
- Support for opening gzipped text files in read-only mode
¹) This project has been extensively tested on Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, Alpine Linux, Solaris/Illumos based systems like OmniOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFly BSD, Apple macOS >= 10.10, Cygwin, MSYS2, as well as a few embedded Linux systems using musl libc and uClibc-ng.
Merged, and continously tracked, clones:
- http://cvsweb.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/src/usr.bin/mg/ (upstream)
- https://github.com/hboetes/mg (official portable version)
- https://github.com/ibara/mg (active)
- https://github.com/scott-parker/mg-openbsd (inactive since 2015)
- https://github.com/paaguti/mg3a (continuation of Bengt Larsson's mg3a)
- https://github.com/kisom/kmg (another inactive fork with Go support)
- https://github.com/jasperla/tinyschemg (OpenBSD mg with tinyscheme)
Note: the official portable Mg project, used by Debian and other GNU/Linux distributions, is maintained by Han Boetes. Unlike this project, which is stand-alone, Boetes relies on libbsd to maintain portability.
Please report any bugs and problems with the packaging and porting to the GitHub issue tracker https://github.com/troglobit/mg/issues