Somewhat hacky script to automate building of Emac.app on macOS.
My personal hacked together script for building a completely self-contained Emacs.app application on macOS, from any git branch, tag, or ref. With support for native-compilation.
Use this script at your own risk.
masterbranch. This script allows you to choose any branch, tag, or git ref you want.
As of writing (2021-04-25) it works for me on my machine. Your luck may vary.
I have successfully built:
emacs-27.1release git tag
masterbranch (Emacs 28.x)
feature/native-compbranch (Emacs 28.x)
For reference, my machine is:
The build produced does have some limitations:
Nightly and stable binary builds produced with this build script are available from jimeh/emacs-builds.
Brewfile, which can all easily be installed by running:
ruby --version. If it's too old, you can install a newer version with:
brew install ruby
Usage: ./build-emacs-for-macos [options]
Branch, tag, and SHA are from the emacs-mirror/emacs/emacs Github repo, available here: https://github.com/emacs-mirror/emacs
Options: -j, --parallel COUNT Compile using COUNT parallel processes (detected: 8) --git-sha SHA Override detected git SHA of specified branch allowing builds of old commits --[no-]xwidgets Enable/disable XWidgets if supported (default: enabled) --[no-]native-comp Enable/disable native-comp (default: enabled if supported) --[no-]native-march Enable/disable -march=native CFLAG(default: disabled) --[no-]native-full-aot Enable/disable NATIVE_FULL_AOT / Ahead of Time compilation (default: disabled) --[no-]rsvg Enable/disable SVG image support via librsvg (default: enabled) --no-titlebar Apply no-titlebar patch (default: disabled) --no-frame-refocus Apply no-frame-refocus patch (default: disabled) --[no-]github-auth Make authenticated GitHub API requests if GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable is set.(default: enabled) --work-dir DIR Specify a working directory where tarballs, sources, and builds will be stored and worked with -o, --output DIR Output directory for finished builds (default: /builds) --build-name NAME Override generated build name --dist-include x,y,z List of extra files to copy from Emacs source into build folder/archive (default: COPYING) --[no-]archive Enable/disable creating *.tbz archive (default: enabled) --[no-]archive-keep Enable/disable keeping source folder for archive (default: disabled) --plan FILE Follow given plan file, instead of using given git ref/sha
Resulting applications are saved to the
buildsdirectory in a bzip2 compressed tarball.
If you don't want the build process to eat all your CPU cores, pass in a
-jvalue of how many CPU cores you want it to use.
Re-building the same Git SHA again can yield weird results unless you first trash the corresponding directory from the
To download a tarball of the
masterbranch (Emacs 28.x with native-compilation as of writing) and build Emacs.app from it:
To build the stable
emacs-27.1release git tag run:
All sources as downloaded as tarballs from the emacs-mirror GitHub repository. Hence to get a list of tags/branches available to install, simply check said repository.
Builds come with a custom
emacsshell script launcher for use from the command line, located next to
emacsscript makes sure to use the main
Emacs.app/Contents/MacOS/Emacsexecutable from the correct path, ensuring it finds all the relevant dependencies within the Emacs.app bundle, regardless of it it's exposed via
PATHor symlinked to from elsewhere.
To use it, simply add
PATH. For example, if you place Emacs.app in
if [ -d "/Applications/Emacs.app/Contents/MacOS/bin" ]; then export PATH="/Applications/Emacs.app/Contents/MacOS/bin:$PATH" alias emacs="emacs -nw" # Always launch "emacs" in terminal mode. fi
If you want
emacsin your terminal to launch a GUI instance of Emacs, don't use the alias from the above example.
Note: On 2021-04-25 the
feature/native-compbranch was merged into
The build script will automatically detect if the source tree being built supports native-compilation, and enable it if available. You can override the auto-detection logic to force enable or force disable native-compilation by passing
NATIVE_FULL_AOTis disabled which ensures a fast build by native compiling as few elisp source files as possible to build Emacs itself. Any remaining elisp files will be dynamically compiled in the background the first time they are used.
To enable native full Ahead-of-Time compilation, pass in the
--native-full-aotoption, which will native-compile all of Emacs' elisp at built-time. On my machine it takes around 10 minutes to build Emacs.app with
NATIVE_FULL_AOTdisabled, and around 20-25 minutes with it enabled.
By default natively compiled
*.elnfiles will be cached in
~/.emacs.d/eln-cache/. If you want to customize that, simply set a new path as the first element of the
native-comp-eln-load-pathvariable. The path string must end with a
Below is an example which stores all compiled
cache/eln-cachewithin your Emacs configuration directory:
(when (boundp 'native-comp-eln-load-path) (setcar native-comp-eln-load-path (expand-file-name "cache/eln-cache/" user-emacs-directory)))
By default any warnings encountered during async native compilation will pop up a warnings buffer. As this tends to happen rather frequently with a lot of packages, it can get annoying. You can disable showing these warnings by setting
(setq native-comp-async-report-warnings-errors nil)
A list of known "good" commits which produce working builds is tracked in: #6 Known good commits for native-comp
feature/native-compbranch building on macOS:
The script downloads the source code as a gzipped tar archive from the GitHub mirror repository, as it makes it very easy to get a tarball of any given git reference.
It then runs
./configurewith a various options, including copying various dynamic libraries into the application itself. So the built application should in theory run on a macOS install that does not have Homebrew, or does not have the relevant Homebrew formulas installed.
Code quality of the script itself, is well, non-existent. The build script started life a super-quick hack back in 2013, and now it's even more of a dirty hack. I might clean it up and add unit tests if I end up relying on this script for a prolonged period of time. For now I plan to use it at least until native-comp lands in a stable Emacs release for macOS.