Building the Development Version of Emacs on OpenBSD

And now, the continuing stoooory of a quack who’s gone to the dogs, I mean, a recipe for how to build the development version of Emacs as easily as possible under yet another operating system:

This time it’s OpenBSD.

(This recipe is for OpenBSD 6.7, but it should be the same on most modern versions of OpenBSD.)

Building Emacs under GNU/Linux is totally trivial, which isn’t a surprise, since so many Emacs developers use that as their primary OS. Building under OpenBSD has some quirks.

Anyway, first, as root, install the build requirements.

pkg_add gcc git gnutls gmake jansson automake autoconf
pkg_add `pkg_info -f emacs | grep ^@depend | sed 's/^.*://'`

pkg_add will prompt you for what versions of automake/autoconf to install. Just choose the newest ones.

Then, as a non-root user, run this:

git clone
cd emacs
CC=egcc ./configure --without-makeinfo
make -j4

And now you should see a beautiful Emacs window on your OpenBSD monitor:


By the way, I wondered what the easiest way to run a bunch of VMs on Linux was these days, and I started futzing around with VMWare… which failed.

Then somebody suggested virt-manager, which was just an “apt install virt-manager” away, and that worked without any problems: I just started it, “New virtual machine” and pointed it to the .iso file of OpenBSD 6.6. Easy peasy.

4 thoughts on “Building the Development Version of Emacs on OpenBSD”

  1. Hi Lars, great article. I am on OpenBSD and trying to compile Emacs 30 from source, like described in the article, but it seems the option “–without-makeinfo” doesn’t exist anymore, so I am unable to compile it because firstly it doesn’t know where makeinfo is and secondly that option now does not exist, do you know a new way to do this?

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