Definition

Emacs

Emacs (pronounced EE-maks and sometimes spelled "emacs" or "EMACS") is a popular text editor used mainly on Unix-based systems by programmers, scientists, engineers, students, and system administrators. Like other Unix text editors, Emacs provides typed commands and special key combinations that let you add, delete, insert, and otherwise manipulate words, letters, lines, and other units of text. Emacs is commonly used to enter the source statements for programs. Emacs itself is built using the Lisp programming language and users are invited to extend or personalize it using the same language. Emacs also offers a number of convenient capabilities such as the ability to initiate a program compiler and to handle e-mail from within the editor.

Emacs (derived from Editing MACRoS) was created by Richard Stallman at MIT. A popular version is called GNU Emacs. Emacs offers a much longer list of commands than the other widely-used UNIX text editor, vi and the ability to extend the interface. Like vi, the full capabilities of Emacs require a considerable investment in learning (or relearning if you don't use them continually). However, a beginning set of commands makes it possible to get to work immediately.

One or more versions of Emacs have been developed for use on Windows operating systems. A reader suggests another possible derivation for the letters in Emacs: Escape-Meta-Alt-Control-Shift - apparently referring to its use of key combination commands.

Contributor(s): Greg Kelso and Frank Steinhauer
This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Email Alerts

Register now to receive SearchEnterpriseLinux.com-related news, tips and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

More News and Tutorials

  • Getting a handle on UCS: Vendor lock-in, interoperability and implementation

    The shortfalls of UCS include the potential for vendor lock-in and interoperability issues. Learn more about these and what you need to know to deploy a UCS in your data center. Some implementation considerations include storage, hypervisors, and a contingency plan in case your vendor changes course.

  • Getting a handle on UCS: Advantages and costs

    Unified computing systems (UCS) hold the promise of simplicity for data center, but the technology and associated costs may not be appropriate for every application. Learn about the potential of UCS to help your data center, and what you should consider prior to implementation.

  • Linux update on IBM System p

    Most machines running Linux are x86 PCs. IBM's System p and Linux go well together, and Ken Milberg explains why and what's new. He gives five reasons to run Linux on System p, and shares some of the options for PowerVM, IBM's virtualization platform.

Do you have something to add to this definition? Let us know.

Send your comments to techterms@whatis.com

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: