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Thoughts on packaging emacs for RULE

This page contains more or less disconnected thoughts on how current GNU Emacs, as packaged in current Red Hat RPMs, should be packaged/purged configured to be used on workstations with very little RAM and disk space.

Until RH 7.2, Red Hat provided an emacs-nox package, which is a good alternative. How hard would it be to repackage it ourselves? The major problem is how to get one version that will run both with or without X, and without those silly dependencies. Ideas?

I confirm this, and add that this is probably one of those cases where the post-install script may be useful. For example, since we are going to include other mail/ftp/www/news clients, we should try to install the (standard RH) rpm above, 26 MB and all, have the post install script remove anything possible. On my RH 7.2 desktop, removing the directories listed below would recover 13016 Kbytes, and erasing the info pages another 7 megs. Now removing documentation is much uglier than all the rest, and should really be a conscious decision of each user, but leaving off the rest sounds as a reasonable default for a RULE desktop user, doesn’t it; on a server, assuming one wants emacs on it, even docs could happily go away, probably.

Here’s an idea to make the choices easier: If emacs is chosen to be installed, the installer should ask the user if (s)he wants to leave emacs complete or what to delete. I prefer having the choice instead of having to find out there’s something missing I expected to be there and not knowing how to get it back! Oh, and what will happen with this crippled-down emacs if I try to uninstall or upgrade it?

It is true. One example which really annoys me: I do a X-less install, but still Emacs wants Xlibs installed – I will never use them! I also want a “X-less” install option, which for example will automatically alias emacs to emacs -nw. I know I picked a rather difficult example – the Emacs RPM would need to know if X will be available or not.

This is what I get from my alpha script ( from, the sum is almost 56 MB:

  [marco@polaris DISTRO_ANALYZER]$ ./rpm_analyze rh7.3_all_cds emacs
  Analysis of package emacs

  [marco@polaris DISTRO_ANALYZER]$ ./rpm_analyze rh7.3_all_cds \
  emacs|xargs rpm -qi|grep -i Size|cut -c14-30

RULE = Run Up to Date Linux Everywhere
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