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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Free/Libre And Open Source Text Editor

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GNU Emacs is one of the most powerful free/libre and open-source text editors, available for several operating systems regardless of the machine type such as GNU/Linux, BSD, macOS, Windows, and Solaris.

Now, after a year of development, Nicolas Petton has released a new version 27.1 of the Emacs text editor. Obviously, it comes with a wide variety of new changes, ranging from installation, startup, and editing to changes in specialized modes and packages.

GNU Emacs 27.1: What’s New

With Emacs 27.1, Cairo drawing functionality ( --with-cairo configure option) is no longer experimental. Now, if you configure Cairo drawing using Cairo >=1.16.0 with Emacs 27.1, you can even display multicolor fonts like Noto Color Emoji.

Subsequently, it also brings support for built-in printing when you build Emacs with GTK+. However, if you want to build Emacs with GTK 2 and GTK 3, you now require GTK 2.24 and GTK 3.10 respectively.

Another major change that Emacs 27.1 includes is the dropping default configuration of ImageMagick. This means Emacs no longer uses ImageMagick to display, resize, and rotate images owing to security and stability concerns with it.

However, if you still want ImageMagick, you can override the default using configure --with-imagemagick.

Speaking of the new mode, v27.1 has added a new command tab-bar-mode, which enables the tab bar at the top of each frame. Not only that, you can also use a new global-tab-line-mode command to enable the tab line above each window.

In image mode, it has added a new Exif library that can parse JPEG files and output data. Even ‘image-mode’ uses this library to automatically rotate images according to the orientation in the Exif data.

The list of new enhancements does not end here. Hence, for full details, I would suggest you read the summary of Emacs 27.1. However, here I’m listing other key new features included in GNU Emacs 27.1:

  • Using HarfBuzz as a text shaping engine
  • Built-in support for arbitrary-size integers
  • Using ‘portable dumper’ in place of unexec
  • Support for XDG conventions for init files
  • Additional early-init initialization file
  • Using Lexical-binding by default
  • Default dynamic module support
  • New ‘jsonrpc’ library to write JSONRPC applications
  • Support for Unicode Standard version 13.0
  • New package to parse ISO 8601 time, date, duration, and intervals
  • Battery Status support in all Cygwin builds

Get GNU Emacs 27.1

Now, if you want to download Emacs 27.1, head over to the official page. If you’re already using Emacs, just update the package using the default package manager in your system.

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