[emacs-berlin] Emacs Starter Kits

Arne Brasseur arne.brasseur at gmail.com
Sat Jul 12 19:00:22 CEST 2014

Thanks for the feedback Fredrik. I'm doing some more in-depth comparison,
see attached org file for what I have so far.

I'm comparing emacs-starter-kit, emacs24-starter-kit, Prelude, Graphene,
emacs-live, as well as the custom config of a few high profile long time
emacs users (Bodil Stokke, Avdi Grimm and Ryan Davis/zenspider)

They vary wildly in scope. The first two are quite minimal both in packages
they load and in customization. Graphene has only a small number of
dependencies but does quite a bit of configuration, Prelude has quite a bit
of both, and emacs-live is basically a massive distribution of everything
under the sun :)

emacs24-starter-kit I found super interesting because the whole thing is
written in literal org mode. It only has a single .el file to load the org

So far I've mostly looked at what packages all of these use. It's
interesting that they all do packaging differently. package.el has no way
of checking into source control what packages are installed. Emacs-live
takes the easy route by just "vendoring" everything. emacs-starter-kit is
itself an ELPA package, so it can simply define dependencies. Half of the
config's I've looked at have their own variation of (defun
require-or-install (package)). Avdi uses el-get which sits on top of
package.el but can also install from git or emacswiki. Graphene is the only
one using Cask which is basically Bundler for Emacs. At least zenspider
made his version of "require-or-install" into a reusable thing called

Magit is the only package all these configs have in common. Smex is also
common, a smart ido based replacement for M-x. I didn't know about smex, it
looks pretty good. Other common general purpose packages are yasnippet,
expand-region and find-file-in-project. Things are split 50/50 between
paredit and smartparens.

Comparing the actual configurations will be something else... but I'm
starting to think that rebuilding my config by hand, liberally taking from
these projects might be the way to go. emacs-starter-kit, the most popular
of these by github stars, has actually decided to become just a guide on
how to set things up, instead of being a ready made config.

So far for initial observations (:

2014-07-12 14:07 GMT+02:00 Fredrik Wallberg <fredrik.wallberg at gmail.com>:

> Hi Arne,
> Prelude is very very nice -- I recommended it to an experienced vimmer
> colleague the other day and it seems to work just great out of the
> box.
> Also, I recently installed Emacs-live (because Overtone) -- but
> haven't yet found the time to merge my own stuff back into it.
> Best / Fredrik
> On 12 July 2014 12:54, Arne Brasseur <arne.brasseur at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'm starting to look at and evaluate a couple of the "emacs starter kits"
> > out there, maybe eventually declaring .emacs.d bankruptcy, or maybe
> gently
> > merging the parts I like.
> >
> > I'm particularly interested in Emacs-Live since it's great for playing
> with
> > Clojure and Overtone, but it's also the most opinionated and hardest to
> > combine with an existing setup.
> >
> > Do you have experience with any of these, in particular Prelude or
> > Emacs-Live? What's do you think of these? Has anyone succesfully made the
> > transition?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Arne
> >
> > --
> > | @plexus  | arnebrasseur.net | The Happy Lambda |
> >
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| @plexus <https://twitter.com/plexus>  | arnebrasseur.net | The Happy
Lambda <https://leanpub.com/happylambda> |
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