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Linus Torvalds' Micro-emacs (kernel.org)
40 points by njn on Nov 19, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

Okay, so I did some googling; and I'm not quite sure why someone would prefer this over regular GNU Emacs or XEmacs.

Any emacsen around that could shed some light on why you'd use this instead of a more "modern" emacs?

Any emacsen around that could shed some light on why you'd use this instead of a more "modern" emacs?


It would be pretty easy to make GNU emacs behave exactly like mg or microemacs. But then you couldn't tell your friends, "I wrote my own Emacs".

Another member of the "I wrote my own Emacs" club: Fabrice Bellard, of QEMU, TinyCC, FFMpeg, LZEXE...


Linus didn't write it. He's certainly modified it but it was written by others. For example the eval.c header sez:

* written 1986 by Daniel Lawrence * modified by Petri Kutvonen

I'm sure someone else knows more about it's history.

Back in the day there used to be an emacs-like editor that would fit on a floppy (1.4MB) disk. Not sure if it was microEmacs or some other name, though the name microEmacs certainly dates back at least to the early 1990s.

The idea was if you ever found yourself needing to do some work on a Windowz box that only had Notepad you could whip that out and get something done.

> Any emacsen around that could shed some light on

Minor note: "emacsen" refers to various and sundry implementations of Emacs, not users of emacs.


hah, thanks for the clarification

Out of habit.

"Nuntio vobis gaudium magnum, habemus editorum."

Now that emacs has been anointed by Linus, I hereby announce emacs the winner of the long lasting editor wars. Let us now proceed to purge vi (and other lesser editors) from the face of the Earth, and let none speak of them again.


Keep in mind that microemacs (the original spelling) (or uemacs) is not emacs, although it resembles it faintly. It was originally written by David G. Conroy while working on the dec pc that used a z80 as an io controller and an 8086. Daniel Lawrence did a lot of work on it as well.

So it is not quite right to say that emacs has been anointed by Linus.

Pertaining to the editor wars.

There's a great (long) video about Linus and Linux history from 2001. Watch the whole thing if you can—after the 40 minute mark is especially worth it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVTWCPoUt8w

55 minutes in someone asks him, "What editor and mail reader do you use?" He smirks, "The editor is microemacs, the best editor ever made. And vi and GNU Emacs suck, suck."

Well, it is not much of a war. I know perhaps 8 people that use uemacs (I don't any longer--quit when I no longer was using Coherent or Atari ST), so if it is a war, only Linus' weight makes it even a battle.

So Linus has finally annointed "the most gummed-up piece of absolute sh*t there is!" ?


I down-voted you without realizing your were quoting Linus verbatim.

I for one welcome our new microemacs overlords.

(No I don't. hugs vi)

openbsd has had a (still somewhat-actively-developed) tiny emacs-like editor in its tree called mg for quite a while.



Yeah, but that lacks the extensibility that makes Emacs really noteworthy. I use mg for editing /etc when setting up a new OpenBSD system, or very quick edits, but it's not a replacement. It's just as "always there" as vi (on OpenBSD, at least), but with the default Emacs keyboard shortcuts.

Yes but mg has a powerful tool for software development. Just try M-x theo. I find it quite motivating.

History of Micro-emacs ... http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/MicroEmacs

After having spent some time looking around for a tiny emacsalike ("ersatzemacs") for making quick edits on remote systems, I settled on [zile](http://www.gnu.org/software/zile/).

Am I the only one who feels that it shouldn't be called "Emacs" if it doesn't have Lisp inside it? (Not to be a Lisp fanboy, but that seems to be the defining feature...)

I don't understand: does this link mean that we're looking at Linus's own branch of microemacs/uemacs? Is he patching the one he uses, and if so, are the changes going back into [Jasspa's MicroEmacs](http://www.jasspa.com/)?

I guess he decided to fix it:


That post should be downvoted as the link does not apply to uemacs :)

I wish I could build this on OS X. I guess I'm writing a patch for it now.

There is Jasspa's distribution available. Binaries for OS X are here: http://www.jasspa.com/downapple.html

(Delete key doesn't work as backspace, though :( I'd love to see your patch for Linus's version)

I use the JASSPA distribution on Windows, but placing this in your configuration might point you in the right direction.

  global-bind-key backward-delete-char "delete"

Thanks, it works! (Now "Forward Delete"/Fn+Delete doesn't work, though, but I use it rarely).

Jasspa's is pretty different from Petri Kutvonen's/Linus Torvald's microemacs, though. Much more features.

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