To use their tagline, Aquamacs is an easy-to-use, Mac-style Emacs for Mac OS X and they add “An Editor for Text, HTML, LaTeX, C++, Java, Python, Perl and more...”, foolishly leaving out blogs. As of the 0.9.7 beta, which appeared this weekend, this is now my day-to-day production Emacs. As far as I can tell, it does all the things all those other Mac OS X Emacses do, and a few extra nice things. Emacs weenies read on for instructions on how to give Aquamacs a subtle but important personality transplant.

Aquamacs tries to be as much like a “real” OS X as possible. That means it wants to use the command key, things like Cmd-O pops up the standard Mac Finder “Open” dialogue, and Cmd-P gives you a print form, command-C and command-V for copy and paste. Then, it uses the Opt key for Meta.

This setup doesn’t work at all for me. First, I prefer Emacs’s native find-file capability. Second, I don’t print from Emacs. Third, I have a whole bunch of useful stuff tied to Meta-this and Meta-that, and the Cmd key is the easiest to reach. Fourth, if Meta is on Opt, then you can’t use the native Mac keystrokes to make up ïñtérnåtîønalized characters with Opt-this and Opt-that.

Put another way, the native Mac character composition behavior is way more important to me than the native Open and Close dialogues.

Personality Transplant ·

  1. In your .emacs file, say
    (setq mac-command-modifier 'meta)
    which turns your Cmd key into Meta.

  2. In that same file, add

    (setq x-select-enable-clipboard 't)
    which keeps copy/paste working with OS X.

  3. Pull down the Options menu and unselect “Option key for Meta”, then save your options. Or you could put

    (setq mac-option-modifier nil)
    in your .emacs.


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
November 21, 2005
· Technology (85 fragments)
· · Emacs (7 more)
· · Mac OS X (118 more)

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