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Emacs is available on Chromebook and Chrome

Emacs Ports post series

Are you a Chromebook user or thinking of becoming one? Are you a die-hard Emacser who needs to see it run even in your browser for no good reason (no judgement)? Either way, Emacs has you covered. Thanks to the efforts of Pete Williamson (and friends), there is now an Emacs port for Chromebook and Chrome.

If that spikes your interest, you should read his post about it on Google Plus, which provides installation instructions, a list of known issues, and some tips on how to make the most of it. In short:

  1. Enable Chrome’s Native Client flag.
  2. Install the NaCl Development Environment from the Chrome web store.
  3. Launch the app and wait for it finish setting everything up. YMMV, but I had to restart the app at this point.
  4. Run emacs at the terminal you’re given (and celebrate!).

Again, his post contains a lot more information, including his email so you can report bugs or file suggestions. Although I did run into a couple of small bumps with the DevEnv app, the Emacs executable ran just fine and performed admirably.

Pete has been doing this as his 20% project — in which Google employees take 20% of their time to work on something else. If you follow the steps above, you may notice that it uses Emacs 24.3, already two minor versions behind the latest stable. That’s because 24.3 was the latest release back when he started this endeavour.

If you’re wondering how hard it was, he talked about it on FOSDEM last year and you can have a glance at the slides for this talk. It was harder than I would have expected and clearly took some patience. Of course, all of the code is publicly available under the webports project. It’s basically a shell script and a patch file, so it’s worth a look if you’re curious.

Tags: chrome, emacs,

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