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Re: Fwd: A few Emacs newbie questions, need oldbie answers :)

From: Deboo
Subject: Re: Fwd: A few Emacs newbie questions, need oldbie answers :)
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 22:24:52 +0530 (IST)

On Tue, Apr 20, 2004 at 01:00:52PM +0200, Daan Hoogland wrote:
>From: Daan Hoogland <>
>>From: Jason Earl <>
>>Date: 20 april 2004 7:11:25 GMT+02:00
>>Subject: Re: A few Emacs newbie questions, need oldbie answers :)
>>Deboo <> writes:
>>>      In emacs, how to search/get a lisp program (download) and how
>>>      to install it and how to load it? E.g., remind.el
>>Most of the Emacs packages I use have Debian packages.  This makes
>>installing them as easy as a simple apt command.  However, I do have
>>some packages installed manually (and remind.el just happens to be one
>>of them).  Generally speaking the correct thing to do is to download
>>the .el files and then follow the instructions provided.  In the case
>>of remind.el that means adding a folder to your Emacs load path by
>>putting something similar to the following line in your .emacs file:
>>(setq load-path (cons "~/emacs-lisp" load-path))
>>You then simply put remind.el in this directory (~/emacs-lisp in my
>>case) and add:
>>(require 'remind)
>>to your .emacs file.  There are additional programs that need to be
>>installed for remind.el to work, but the instructions in the remind.el
>>file are pretty clear.

        I'm using debian linux and the lisp files are in
        /usr/share/emacs/site-lisp directory. Some files here are names
        xxxx-el, some just xxxx, and some as xxxx.el, whereas some
        others as xxxx.elc . I don't understand lisp or programming so I dont
        know what is the difference, but could I move this directory to
        my home directory and inform emacs somehow that this directory
        is in my home dir?

>>>      What is the best reminder, PIM and todo list manager avaliable
>>>      for emacs (console)?
>>I don't know about best, but I tend to use plain calendar for
>>organization, a plain text file for a todo list and bbdb for a PIM.  I
>>took a look at remind.el, planner.el, and others, but they were more
>>than I needed.  YMMV.
        Actually I haven't really seen any console utility which would
        have many features or be a PIM sort of thing. Not like Evolution
        and Outlook but something decent for console. I wonder if a
        decent one exists. I remember having asked this question to bob
        on the debian irc channel, an year or so ago and got a response
        that he just uses emacs.

>>>      What is the best way to backup all of these emacs and other
>>>      programs' configs and data files?
>>I tend to want backups of my entire home directory.  To create a
>>backup of my home directory (/home/jearl) in /tmp (you probably want
>>to store your backups someplace safer), I do:
>>tar -jcvf ~/tmp/backup.tar.bz2 -C /home/ jearl
>>On most any Linux system 'info tar' is your friend.  On any other
>>system 'man tar' should get the job done.  Of course, if you have
>>anything other than GNU tar then you'll have to work harder, other tar
>>programs generally aren't as featureful.  If you are using Windows,
>>install Cygwin.

        I will still need to think hard what I'll have to use for backup
        since my home directory is _large_.

>>I tend to cut and paste in Emacs using the keyboard (even in X
>>Windows).  Basically I do a C-<space> to set the mark, then I move my
>>point (cursor) to the end of the region I want to copy and when I have
>>selected the region I choose M-w to copy the region or C-w to cut
>>(kill) the region.  I then move the point to where I want to paste the
>>text and do a C-y to paste the text.  Subsequent M-y commands will
>>cycle through your kill-ring for older bits of text that you copied or

>>If you haven't taken a look at the Emacs tutorial hit 'C-h t' and
>>spend a bit of time learning some other basic Emacs tricks.

        I had actually gone thru it but it's been a long while and then
        I had stopped using emacs, just used t be fasinated and usd to
        install emacs and all the goodies and keep it in the show case
        and use vim. Well, even right now I'm using vim since it's the
        editor defined in mutt, but I'm pressing Ctrl-K to delete lines
        instead of pressing dd ... lol that's emacs inductance?

>>>      What is the best way (or the easiest way) to switch buffers?

>>I tend to do 'C-x b' to switch to the previous buffer or 'C-x C-b' for
>>a list of buffers.

        Well, I researched on this one a bit. I read the info docs and
        saw emacs-goodies-el has a cycle-buffer-forward and
        cycle-buffer-backward commands and we can bind these to M-N and
        M-P in .emacs, according to the info, but when I do this and
        start emacs, I get errors pointing me to these lines. When I
        remove the macros, emacs starts okay. Can anything be done so
        that these bindings work?

>>>      Best thing I could use emacs under dos/windoze if I could, bu it
>>>      would be huge to be put on a mini CD. I haven't ever tried that
>>>      version, but would like to know user experiences.
>>Actually a slimmed down Emacs isn't so big.

        For now I've put vim and jed, may be if I could find a small
        version of emacs, i would put that along.

>>>      How to auomatically spell-check while typing text?
>>M-x flyspell-mode

        Very cool, and it seems to be fast. I don't know why vim becomes
        super slow in insert mode ... seems to have some problem with
        ispell/aspell. Wonder what is causing this.

>>>      How to use and set word-wrap in emacs?
>>M-q or M-x auto-fill-mode

        How would I put this in .emacs so emacs always has word-wrap on?
        Would this be a nice thing to do?

>>>      How to use a console-based graphics viewer (zgv or fbi or feh)
>>>      from within emacs?
>>No idea.  I tend to run X Windows on boxes where I want to view

        It's alright for now to use zgv or the others but would love to
        have one under emacs. Maybe it would be a resource hog under
        I'll try searching for one.

>>>      I want to load the todoo-mode for all files that are within
>>>      ~/todo folder, whichever I load in to emacs anytime. What do I
>>>      have to put in .emacs to do this?
>>No idea.

        I found another way to do it. Putting "-*- todoo -*-" on first
        line ( or second line if the first contains #!/bin/sh), and then
        opening any such file, would automatically put the file in that
        mode. I tried using two modes instead of one but that didn't
        have any success.

A few mode questions if you or anyone has the time and wouldn't mind:

How to get yellow color on emacs in console? Yellow always shows up as

Why does Emacs load all files in to the scratch buffer? If it's a file,
and we've modified it, emacs asks us to save it before quitting but
doesn't ask any such thing if we've typed in to the scratch buffer.
How to autosave the scratch buffer? Sometimes I jot down something useful,
in to the scratch buffer when there's no time to think of a filename etc.

How to make a custom dictionary and load it in emacs? How to use
  autocompletion for long words in the custom dictionary? How to use
  emacspeak? Do I need to become blind to use emacspeak or can anyone
  use it?

How to print from emacs, in color (with background, foreground and
  syntax-highlight colors)?

Thanks a lot for the detailed replies, thanks to others too who replied.
I haven't been getting any messages on this list sine last 5 days or
more, so please cc me a copy if you reply.


P.S: I downloaded a copy of the a few days ago, with help from
Alex but couldn't figure out then how to open it. I renamed it to
wiki.html and am now enjoying it. Only thing I would like to use an imap
supporting and ssl supporting email client so wanderlust comes close to
this, but I couldn't find much of anything in the wiki about wanderlust,
except a little bit of undocumented config and a bit of it's features.
Where can I find such info.

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