What to Install

A bewildering variety of packages have "emacs" in their names. It is important to realize that there are two emacs packages included in SUSE: emacs and xemacs. This sounds as if one is for use in the text console environment and one in X, but it isn't as simple as that.

GNU emacs (the package called emacs) runs in the graphical environment as well. At some point in history, there was a fork in the development of emacs, and a version of emacs with (at that time) better support for the graphical environment split off. This was at one time called Lucid emacs and is the ancestor of xemacs. In the case of GNU emacs, you can install the package emacs and emacs-x11 or you can install emacs and emacs-nox. By default, you will get emacs-x11, and if emacs detects that X is running, it will start in graphical mode by default. If X is not running, you will get emacs in text mode. If you want the text mode version all the time, you should install emacs-nox and not emacs-x11.

You can independently also install the xemacs package if you want to have both emacs and xemacs installed on your system. In general, emacs and xemacs can use the same Lisp files (which provide modes and additional functionality) and (by a clever trick) can partly share their user configuration files.

Almost everything said here about emacs applies to XEmacs also. It used to be that XEmacs had a much nicer look and feel than GNU emacs when running graphically. That is no longer the case. As far as editing commands and modes are concerned, in almost all cases what we say applies to both.

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