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Emacs - it all starts here

 10. September 2017

Emacs originally was an acronym for Editor MACroS. RMS says he “picked the name Emacs because was not in use as an abbreviation on ITS at the time.”

The first Emacs was a set of macros written in 1976 at MIT by RMS for the editor TECO (Text Editor and COrrector, originally Tape Editor and COrrector) under ITS (the Incompatible Timesharing System) on a PDP-10.

RMS had already extended TECO with a “real-time” full-screen mode with reprogrammable keys. Emacs was started by Guy Steele as a project to unify the many divergent TECO command sets and key bindings at MIT, and completed by RMS.

Where does the name “Emacs” come from? 

Many people have said that TECO code looks a lot like line noise; you can read more at news:alt.lang.teco. Someone has written a TECO implementation in Emacs Lisp (to find it, see *note Packages that do not come with Emacs::); it would be an interesting project to run the original TECO Emacs inside of Emacs.

For some not-so-serious alternative reasons for Emacs to have that name, check out the file etc/JOKES (*note File-name conventions::).

What is different about Emacs 25? 

Consult the Emacs ‘NEWS’ file (‘C-h n’) for the full list of changes in Emacs 25.

See Also

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