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RootPrompt.org: Emacs Beginner's Tutorial

Apr 19, 2000, 13:39 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeremy D. Zawodny)

[ Thanks to Noel for this link. ]

"Emacs is one of the most popular and powerful text editors used on Linux (and Unix). It is second in popularity only to vi. It is known for its huge feature set, ability to be easily customized, and lack of bugs. It's large feature set and ability to be customized actually are the result of how Emacs was designed and implemented. Without going into all the details, I'll simply point out that Emacs isn't 'just an editor'. It is an editor written mostly in the programming language Lisp. At the core of Emacs is a full-featured Lisp interpreter written in C. Only the most basic and low-level pieces of Emacs are written in C. The majority of the editor is actually written in Lisp. So, in a sense, Emacs has an entire programming language 'built in' which you can use to customize, extend, and change its behavior."

"Emacs is also one of the oldest editors around. The fact that is has been used by thousands of programmers over the past 20 (?) years means that there are many add-on packages available. These add-ons allow you to make Emacs do things that Stallman had probably never dreamed possible when he first began work on Emacs."

"It's worth pointing out that there are actually two different Emacs editors: GNU Emacs and XEmacs. Both come from the same heritage and share most of the same features. This document focuses on GNU Emacs (version 20.3, specifically) but much of what you'll read here will apply just as well to XEmacs and earlier versions of GNU Emacs. Throughout this document I will simply refer to 'Emacs'."

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