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Re: [h-e-w] Regarding your emacs builds for Windows

From: Dani Moncayo
Subject: Re: [h-e-w] Regarding your emacs builds for Windows
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2013 16:16:21 +0200

Hi Mikael,

[I'm cc'ing the "help-emacs-windows" mailing list, because this info
might be of interest to others (and perhaps someone might also want to
comment on this).]

On Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 9:02 AM, Mikael ├ůsberg
<address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi, and first let me thank you for providing emacs trunk builds for Windows. 
> Myself and many others appreciate it a lot. I hadn't downloaded a new build 
> from your shared dropbox for a while, but today I did and noticed that the 
> directory structure in the zip file has changed quite a lot compared to a few 
> months ago. Compare, for example, the zip dated 20130805 with the one from 
> 20130514 (I am not sure when the directory layout changed):
> [...]

Yes, the directory structure of the GNU Emacs distribution for
MS-Windows has changed in the current development version (as of

> I suspect that the changes in the directory structure is not because you are 
> manually re-arranging things, but due to changes in the build procedure for 
> Windows made by the emacs developers?

Yes, the change was made by the Emacs developers.  What I do is merely
build the binary distribution from the development branch (without any
changes) and upload it to the internet.

> With the old zip files, all one had to do was unzip and maybe put the bin 
> directory in the path and then one was good to go. Are the newer builds used 
> in the same way?

Yes, the same way.  You need the "bin" directory to be on PATH if you
want your shell (or whole system) to find its executable files without
specifying the full path each time.  As always.

> Anything I should keep in mind when using the newer builds?

Well, it depends.  For example, if you want to visit some Elisp file
which is part of GNU Emacs, you have to know that the directory
holding those files is now "share/emacs/VERSION/lisp".  But if you are
only interested in editing other files (not the ones that are part of
Emacs), this should be transparent to you.

> Also, I don't like that there is more than one folder in the top-level of the 
> zipfile, I prefer when the top level consists only of a single folder which 
> houses all the content. It's easier that way when one happens to extract to a 
> non-empty folder.

Yes, now the zip file has several directories at the top level.  You
may uncompress that file into some empty directory if you prefer that,
but that's not the preferred way of installing GNU Emacs (according to
its developers - see below).

The developers have changed the directory structure so that it more
closely resembles installations on Posix systems.  That is a standard
practice when porting GNU/Unix packages to MS-Windows and has several
1. It will make things easier for those who work on both kinds of platforms.
2. It will allow to install GNU Emacs together with other GNU/Unix
packages, in a single tree so that they all play together well without
a lot of tinkering with environment variables.
3. It will become possible to have several Emacs versions installed
that can be invoked without any need to tweak PATH or rename the DOC
4. It will be possible to share the installation tree with other
platforms, e.g., install Emacs on some remote volume shared via a

For reference, you may see these discussions on the emacs-devel mailing list:

Thus, the idea is to create a single parent directory (e.g. "c:\usr")
for all your GNU/Unix ported packages, and uncompress the ZIP files
right under that directory.  Hence the compressed file has _not_ the
single parent directory, but the sub-directories under it.

> Maybe you could at re-package future builds accordingly, that would great.

I definitely prefer the current arrangement (i.e. not having the
single parent directory in the ZIP file), for the reasons explained
above.  But as I said, you can easily create the parent directory and
then uncompress the ZIP file under it.  (or even better, you could
switch to the recommended arrangement  :-) )

> Anyway, thanks again for all your work!

You're welcome, and BTW, I encourage everyone to build Emacs
themselves.  It is not difficult (even I've been able to do it! :-) ).
 The official instructions are in the file "nt/INSTALL.MSYS", in the
source code distribution.

Dani Moncayo

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