c-x GRAR
August 23, 2010 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever installed and used Emacs org-mode? Can you please help me try it? The instructions here are ambiguous, vague, and complicated. I am an Emacs neophyte, so it would be awesome if someone could explain this slowly to me!

Since OOO Calc crashed horrendously for the nth time on Friday, I've finally decided to move to Emacs org-mode for keeping track of my tasks at work. I've heard a lot of good things, both about org-mode and Emacs, and in my brief amount of time trying out Emacs, it seems to make a lot of sense.

So I already have Emacs installed and running – it's part of the standard install, I think, of the Redhat network we've got at work. I'm accessing this through a PuTTY terminal. The trick, then, is installing org-mode, and getting it running. Installing modes seems to be pretty simple most of the time, but installing org-mode seems much more complex than that... I think. I can't really tell.

As I mentioned above, I tried the org-mode manual installation instructions, but those instructions simply aren't very clear on how to do this at all. (I also tried the instructions here, but they didn't work for me.) Some big things I have questions on:

(1) Am I supposed to edit the Makefile so that I can compile the byte-code? (This seems to imply that I'm not supposed to compile at all.) Do I have to do this even if I'm using org-mode locally? I don't mind doing it, but...

(2) I have no idea where my "local Lisp and Info files are kept." I'm sorry; I've never done this. Please help me.

(3) I do not have admin access on this server. I can compile bytecode, but it has to be in such a way that I run this locally from its own folder. Is there a way to do this? The instructions aren't very helpful on this point.

Thanks for any help anybody can give. I don't even really require answers to these questions; what I'd really love is three or four simple, stupid steps I can follow to install org-mode. If anybody has any link to useful instructions that actually go over this (I couldn't find any myself) that would be great, too.
posted by koeselitz to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Org-mode is part of recent versions of emacs. You shouldn't need to install anything. What version of Emacs are you using?

It should be as easy as M-x org-mode. (If you're really unfamiliar with emacs, M-x means hold down the meta key (that is, "Alt") and press x.

Having (add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\.org\\'" . org-mode)) in your ~/.emacs can be helpful too—files ending in .org will be started in org-mode automatically.
posted by grouse at 1:07 PM on August 23, 2010

That should be (add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.org\\'" . org-mode)). I've had it the other way for years and only now noticed the missing extra backslash.
posted by grouse at 1:08 PM on August 23, 2010

grouse: “Org-mode is part of recent versions of emacs. You shouldn't need to install anything. What version of Emacs are you using?”

Sorry, should've mentioned that. Not a recent one, unfortunately; I'm using version 21.4.1, circa 2002.

grouse: “It should be as easy as M-x org-mode. (If you're really unfamiliar with emacs, M-x means hold down the meta key (that is, "Alt") and press x.”

Nope. Doesn't work. I have to install it.

Maybe it would just be easier to download emacs 32 or something and make and use that in-folder.
posted by koeselitz at 1:13 PM on August 23, 2010

(Although I'd really rather not do that, since I'd like to use the local, global copy of emacs if at all possible. It's starting to sound like it isn't, however...)
posted by koeselitz at 1:14 PM on August 23, 2010

I would highly recommend installing Emacs 23 instead. It has come a long way since Emacs 21. Installing may be as easy as ./configure --prefix=$HOME && make && make install. If you are going to insist on installing org-mode yourself, just add this to your ~/.emacs:
(setq load-path (cons "<directory where your org-mode files are>" load-path))
I don't think you need to know where your other Lisp and Info files are kept. Generally speaking, you never need to byte-compile—it just speeds up loading time.
posted by grouse at 1:24 PM on August 23, 2010

And (require 'org-install) of course.
posted by grouse at 1:25 PM on August 23, 2010

Ah. Yeah, that makes sense. I imagine I'll have to put an alias in my .bashrc to run emacs elsewhere besides the install folder, but that's no trouble.
posted by koeselitz at 1:29 PM on August 23, 2010

If you are talking about installing your own Emacs, a better approach would be to set your PATH such that ~/bin comes before anything else.
posted by grouse at 1:33 PM on August 23, 2010

That's actually a good idea. Thanks for the help, grouse.
posted by koeselitz at 1:34 PM on August 23, 2010

I recently installed the latest version of org-mode on Aquamacs (a Mac OS X native version of Emacs). I don't remember every step, and this is a different version of Emacs so YMMV, but I think I followed a process something like this:

1. Unarchived org-7.01g.tar.gz in ~/.emacs.d (where it created the org-7.01g subdirectory)

2. Adjusted the EMACS variable in Makefile. You probably don't need to do that if you're using a standard Emacs installation. I didn't adjust the other variables.

3. Ran 'make'. I did NOT run 'make install' because I'm building it in the folder where it'll be loaded from.

4. Edited my ~/.emacs and added:
(setq load-path (cons "~/.emacs.d/org-7.01g/lisp" load-path))
(setq load-path (cons "~/.emacs.d/org-7.01g/contrib/lisp" load-path))
(require 'org-install)

posted by Emanuel at 7:58 PM on August 31, 2010

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