Making Aquamacs play nice with other Emacsen (was Re: [OS X Emacs] AUCTEX & Carbon Emacs)

Jeff Horn jrhorn424 at
Thu Jan 20 14:20:42 EST 2011

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM, David Reitter <david.reitter at> wrote:
> On Jan 20, 2011, at 12:42 PM, Jeff Horn wrote:
>>  What I've done to make Aquamacs usable
>> is keep everything in a ~/.emacs.d/ subfolder.
> So what you did was to revert back to a stock Aquamacs, because your own customizations did not work in some way?
> Or what is "everything"?


Thanks for responding. Aquamacs is "stock" with an exception of a few
lines in Preferences.el. All other customizations are loaded from init
files in the ~/.emacs.d/ directory.

I'm a fan of Aquamacs now, I just had to get it to work the way I
wanted. These are my *personal* requirements:

1) Aquamacs should use only the initialization files in ~/.emacs.d/
(with  one notable exception)
2) Aquamacs should not touch the files, except through the emacs
customization interface. That is why I have disabled the Aquamacs
"save options on exit" feature.
3) Aquamacs should leave my faces alone.

The reason for these personal requirements is that I like to use
Aquamacs, but I like it to play nice with other emacsen, and I like
having all my prefs in a single folder for version control and
syncing. So, starting up terminal emacs should not throw errors, which
it does if I fool with the tabbar option and Aquamacs saves these
settings to the customization file. Terminal emacs chokes on tabbar,
since it is installed in the folder but not in my elisp

My solution? I've moved everything Aquamacs-specific to my
~/Library/Prefrences/Aquamacs\ Emacs/Preferences.el file (and made
sure other Aquamacs-specific pref files don't exist).

Everything in ~/.emacs.d/init.el and ~/.emacs.d/custom.el work in both
Aquamacs and terminal emacs. I even moved the window-system stuff to a
separate file (which loads when using Aquamacs or any generic windowed

I don't use a lot of the bundled software in Aquamacs, since I use
devel branches for the things I use regularly. But, I stay with
Aquamacs because it prevents me form having to remap a ton of keys,
and *it just works* for a lot of other things. I estimate it would
take me a few weekends to get everything working the same in Cocoa
emacs, and I really don't feel like digging around in the Aquamacs
code just to pull out the stuff I like.

I dropped Aquamacs/emacs altogether three years ago due to my
frustrations with customization. But, the setup I have now works
great! That was a bit long-winded, but if you want more specific
feedback, I can provide that!


Jeffrey Horn

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