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About Emacs

This page will answer some of your questions about Emacs

What is Emacs?

To quote the GNU Emacs manual [www.gnu.org]:

Emacs is the extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor.

In other words Emacs is an advanced editor, but the keyword here is extensible because that's what allows us to have pmwiki-mode. Sparing you the details, Emacs contains an interpretator that executes the Lisp source code of pmwiki-mode. There are two main "branches" of Emacs:

What is an Emacs-mode?

Quoting from Emacs' built in tutorial:

Emacs has many different major modes. Some of them are meant for editing different languages and/or kinds of text, such as Lisp mode, Text mode, etc. At any time one and only one major mode is active.

pmwiki-mode is an example of a major mode that is dedicated to editing the source of PmWiki WikiPages.

Each major mode makes a few commands behave differently. For example, there are commands for creating comments in a program, and since each programming language has a different idea of what a comment should look like, each major mode has to insert comments differently. Each major mode is the name of an extended command, which is how you can switch to that mode.

For example, M-x pmwiki-mode is a command to switch to pmwiki-mode, and inside pmwiki-mode there are many keyboard shortcuts that are specific to that mode..

GNU Emacs and XEmacs — why two of them?

It's a long story... just think of them as two parallell implementations. For more information, see some of these links:

Which Emacs should I use?

The creator of pmwiki-mode recommends GNU Emacs since that is what he uses (for no special reason though). Consequently, pmwiki-mode is less tested with XEmacs and the notes on getting Emacs are only for GNU Emacs (XEmacs-users are most welcome to add the corresponding information). The GNU Emacs version that pmwiki-mode works with can be found here. Note: Maybe create the page WorkingConfigurations

How do you obtain/install GNU Emacs?

Emacs runs on practially all platforms [www.gnu.org]) including GNU/Linux, Macintosh and MS Windows. The source code of GNU Emacs can be obtained from http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/emacs/. However, users of GNU/Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD and other *nices probably already have Emacs (or XEmacs) installed.

Windows users on the other hand, probably want a precompiled [www.gnu.org] distribution that they can unpack using e.g. gunzip [ftp.gnu.org]. Note that since the installation of pmwiki-mode involves modiyfing a file called .emacs, Windows users must read the installation instructions to determine where this file is located on their system.

There is an alternate Windows version of GNU Emacs which can be obtained from http://ourcomments.org/Emacs/EmacsW32.html. It is, as of August 7, 2007, v22.0.990.1. There are two installation versions. A patched and an unpatched EmacsW32. I have used GNU Emacs for Windows from GNU's FTP site as well as EmacsW32. Each for multiple years. Emacs is my editor of choice. Of the two varieties I (NeI) prefer EmacsW32. If for no other reason that it installs with a standard Windows installation program and, therefore, can be easily un-installed by any reasonably experienced Windows user. Aside from various GNU utilities installed with it, EmacsW32 is tweaked to help Windows users use Emacs in the Windows environment. A wiki for Emacs32 is at http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/wiki/EmacsW32. NeI

How do you obtain XEmacs?

 If you will install an Emacs, you might as well go with GNU Emacs (see Which Emacs... above). XEmacs users are welcome to add this information

Where do I find more information?

Here are some links with more information.