OH NOES! I’ve Lost My .emacs File!

I was first exposed to Emacs back in 1991. It took me a while to warm up to it, but I did and I have been using it ever since. Once I started using it on a regular basis, I started customizing it. You can write modules and such for it, but for simple customizations, you can just put them in a hidden file called .emacs in your home directory. As time passed, I would add various changes to my .emacs file, adding convenience functions in Lisp and other bits to make me more productive. As I changed jobs and changed computers, I always made a point of taking this file with me so I’d always have it.

When I switched from Windows to OSX in November of 2006, I didn’t immediately need Emacs, so I didn’t think to copy my .emacs file over. And once I didn’t need the Windows machine any more, I put Linux on it and turned it into a server. But guess what I forgot to do. Yep, I forgot to copy my .emacs someplace safe. I hadn’t noticed it was missing until today. I need to run Emacs for something and when I went to make a change to my .emacs file, that’s when I realized it was missing. I checked my backup drive, which has a bunch of stuff off that old PC, but my .emacs file was nowhere to be found.

Even though I haven’t used Emacs in a while, I need to now, and having that file sure would be nice. But even if I didn’t need to use Emacs right now, I’m still a bit sad to see the file go, since I carted it around for so long. Keeping one file with you for 15 years is quite a long time, wouldn’t you agree?


2 thoughts on “OH NOES! I’ve Lost My .emacs File!

  1. Pingback: I Found My .emacs File! w00t! | Joey Gibson's Blog

  2. I discovered Emacs in ’97 when I was doing C++ development for BellSouth (the Sun development tools had great integration with either vi, Emacs or XEmacs editors).

    I’d been a hardcore vi user since 1990 (still am), but I could adapt Emacs (actually, for some reason I opted for XEmacs at the time – can’t remember why – maybe it had better fonts) better for the job at hand. Syntax highlighting – check (vi never had this – it only arrived with vim), split buffers (top for the .h, bottom for the .cpp) – check, tab completion for finding files – check, nice macro record/playback features – check, nice search/replace – check,control behavior of tab key – check, auto replace tabs with 4 spaces check. So, after a while you can imagine I crafted a pretty customized/personal .emacs file. I even continued to use emacs for a while after switching to Java in 2000 (it wasn’t until Eclipse 2.0 before I switched to an IDE and left Emacs behind).

    Then I moved on, and for some reason the .emacs file got left behind. Shame really – I haven’t really used Emacs since – it’s not the same without my .emacs file – and I don’t have the time or inclination to re-create it.

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