Emacs Rocks

Emacs is an amazing tool. It’s both a programming language (Elisp) and a functioning text editor. No, it’s not even a text editor, it’s an environment that contains a text editor, crafted out of Elisp. This allows you to extend it in almost any direction. From reading email and news groups to editing photos and viewing PDFs and listening to music.

I’ve spent a lot of time with it, and it’s classical rival, Vim, over the years and both are amazing tools in their own right. Emacs has won me over, though, because it allows me to do more than just edit text. I can craft it how I need it. To that end, I’m now using Emacs for RSS Feed reading (via Elfeed), Listening to music via EMMS (and mpv), Managing my files using Dired, even using it as a terminal emulator via Eshell. I can do most of what I need to do in Emacs.

Emacs even comes with it’s own server. Generally, this is to allow you to load a single instance of Emacs and then connect to it with any number of lighter clients. This offsets some of the longer startup times, which Emacs is, unfortunately, known for. This actually works out well, though, as it keeps buffers (files) and other utilities open, even if I close the frame (window) I’m working in. I can then freely close things and not worry about loosing data.

Emacs with various split buffers/windows in a single frame. Shows a config file, dired and elfeed
Me using Emacs on my Chromebook

The next, logical step would be to replace i3 with EXWM, but I’m not entirely ready to make that leap. I still use Firefox and Steam. LibreOffice will be coming in handy when school starts back up and command-line mount tools are not really fun. I’d also like to try and get email, contacts and calendars going. I have Office 365, so that may be an impediment. It’s something to ponder, though.

Edit: If you want to see my configurations, you can visit my Emacs GitLab repository.

Posted by Nathan

Nathan is a technologist who loves Open Source Software, sleep and coffee.