Appendix E Emacs 25 Antinews
For those users who live backwards in time, here is information
about downgrading to Emacs version 25.3. We hope you will enjoy the
greater simplicity that results from the absence of many Emacs 26.3 features.
- Emacs no longer defaults to requiring the GnuTLS library when you
build it. Those who want the TLS functionality built-in will have to
explicitly request it at build time—or forever hold their peace. We
decided that having the TLS functionality doesn't justify annoying
users or package builders with error messages about libgnutls absence.
We also decided that if you do build with GnuTLS, we will allow
versions of the library older than 2.12.2, as that version will become
less and less available/popular as you move farther back in time.
- For similar reasons, we've reverted back to building our own version
of movemail that retrieves POP3 mail as clear text via
insecure channels. As you move back in time, the availability of
secure alternatives to POP3 will diminish, and we are only keen to
support that. We've also removed the --with-mailutils
configure-time option, as it no longer makes sense for the observable
- We have removed support for systemd and similar services: we
no longer provide a user init file for enabling Emacs support via
those services, and we removed from the Emacs server the
socket-launching support important for Emacs client operation under
these services. Again, these services will lose popularity as you
move back in time, so the code supporting them will be just dead code,
bloating Emacs unnecessarily.
- Reproducible builds of Emacs are no longer supported, as past
development will make that unnecessary.
- The --fg-daemon is gone, leaving only --daemon. No
need to procrastinate on the dilemma whether you do or do not want the
new shiny “headless Emacs” thingy. Hail, simplicity!
- As text terminals supporting true color will lose ground as you move
back in time, we've removed support for 24-bit colors on text
terminals. If you want colors on a text terminal, you should be fine
with just 8 of them. (Truth being told, we think text terminals
should be monochrome, but you will have to keep downgrading to older
Emacs versions to have that feature back.)
- Emacs 25.3 no longer supports magic signatures of the form
‘#!/usr/bin/env interpreter’ in scripts. Moving back in
time means you are getting closer to the ideal of the original Unix
design where all the interpreters lived in a single directory
/bin, so this fancy feature is simply becoming unnecessary
- The double-buffering feature of Emacs display on X has been removed.
We decided that its complexity and a few random surprising
side-effects aren't justified by the gains, even though those gains
were hailed in some quarters. Yes, Emacs 25.3 will flicker in some
use cases, but we are sure Emacs users will be able to suck it, as
they have been doing for years. Since this feature is gone, we've
also removed the
inhibit-double-buffering frame parameter,
which is now unnecessary.
- Non-breaking hyphens and ASCII characters displayed instead of
unsupported quote characters are now again displayed using the
escape-glyph face. We think having a single face instead of 3
different ones will make Emacs customization a much simpler job for
users. For the same reason, we've removed the
header-line-highlight face, leaving just
any element of the Emacs display besides the mode line.
- You can no longer disable attempts of recovery from fatal exceptions
such as C stack overflows and fatal signals. Since the recovery
included in Emacs is reliable enough, we decided there was no reason
to put your edits in danger of becoming lost when these situations
happen. The variables
attempt-orderly-shutdown-on-fatal-signal are therefore removed.
list-timers command was removed, as we decided timers are
not a user-level feature, and therefore users should not be allowed to
mess with them. Ask an Emacs Lisp guru near you for help if you have
a runaway timer in your session. (Of course, as you move back in
time, such runaway timers will become less and less frequent, and
actually timers might start shutting down automatically, as they
cannot cope with time reversal.)
- Horizontal scrolling using the mouse or touchpad has been removed. In
the past, wide monitors will become less popular, so horizontal
scrolling will no longer be needed. Removal of the mouse support for
horizontal scrolling is the first step towards its complete removal in
prior Emacs versions.
- We have found the --tramp option of emacsclient too
risky and too complicated, so we removed it to simplify the client
code and its usage.
display-raw-bytes-as-hex variable is gone, so raw bytes can
only be displayed as octal escapes. Emacs users should be able to
convert from octal to any other base in their sleep!
- Displaying line numbers for a buffer is only possibly using add-on
features, such as
linum-mode, which can only display the
numbers in the display margins. Line-number display using these
features is also slow, as we firmly believe such a feature is
un-Emacsy and should not have been included in Emacs to begin with.
display-line-numbers-mode was removed.
- On our permanent quest for simplifying Emacs, we've removed the
support for passing command-line arguments and options to Emacs via
the --alternate-editor option of emacsclient and
ALTERNATE_EDITOR environment variable. There's only one True
Emacs—the one that comes up when invoked as emacs, no need for
all those fancy options!
- The complication known as “single-line horizontal scrolling” is no
longer with you in Emacs 25.3. This feature was a bow to “other
editors”; instead, let those other editors bow to Emacs by hscrolling
the entire window at all times. Repeat after me: “The Emacs way is
the Only Way!”
- The fancy case conversions of non-ASCII characters used in several
locales, like Turkish and Greek, are removed, leaving the relations
between upper and lower letter-case simple again, as they were in
7-bit ASCII. Likewise with ligatures that turn into multiple
characters when their letter-case changes—gone.
- Enchant is no longer supported by
ispell-buffer and similar
spell-checking commands. As Enchant will gradually disappear while
you move back in time, its support will become unnecessary anyway.
- Tramp lost its support for Google Drive repositories. Cloud storage
is on its way to extinction as you move back in time, thus making this
- Several commands, deemed to be unnecessary complications, have been
removed. Examples include
- To keep up with decreasing computer memory capacity and disk space, many
other functions and files have been eliminated in Emacs 25.3.