As I lamented yesterday, I had lost my .emacs file. I searched all my computers that I thought I’d ever run Emacs on, but couldn’t find it. Then a few minutes ago, I checked my iBook G4, knowing there was no chance of a copy being there, but checking just for completeness. But there was a copy there! O joy! My .emacs and I are reunited at last. What’s funny about this is that I honestly don’t remember ever running Emacs on this laptop, it being such a puny little machine. To safeguard against losing this file again, I have now copied it to every machine I ever use, even if that machine doesn’t have Emacs installed.
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?