Easy to install ESS under Windows
pauljohn at ku.edu
Sun Apr 18 19:25:42 CEST 2004
My students don't understand very much about Windows, even though they
fiercely insist on using it. It totally baffles me. Some kept coming
back to me says "we can't make Xemacs work" or "we can't make ESS work
in Emacs" and I sat down with a Windows system to try to figure it out.
I agreed with them that Xemacs installation is too slow to be feasible.
We did find a startup program, but the ftp servers were so impossibly
slow that I gave up.
I prefer Emacs anyway, so I checked into that.
4 years ago, back when I did use windows sometimes, I remember that
someone--was it Richard Heiberger??--had written the simplest possible
install instruction. But I can't find that now on the net.
I think that the ESS guide here is pretty good:
but we did not tumble on to this until pretty late in the advanture.
So I made some "idiot proof" install instructions. In particular, I
want to avoid telling people to edit or create ".emacs" and instead of
telling them "install wherever you want," I'm telling them exactly where
to put it, so there's not ambiguity.
In case you want to install Emacs on a personal computer, here's what
you do. This is not the most elegant strategy, but it does work on the
Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems that I have used.
Get this file:
I found copies on many of the ftp mirrors, including:
I do not know if the version of the file called
is better or worse. I suspect it is better.
make a directory
Note: no space.
open the tarball (using winzip or any other tar-equipt compression
program you want), you dump the emacs-21.3-fullbin-i386.tar.gz it into
It creates a directory so you see
Look inside there for subdirectories
bin : "binary", meaning programs. There you see "runemacs.exe" which is
the thing you would double click on. You can create desktop shortcuts
in the usual way if you want.
lisp: a collection of files in lisp format that supply addon capability
site-lisp: an empty place where you can install things like ESS
In the Windows Explorer, go into the bin directory, double click the
"addpm" program. That makes a little registry change in your system. It
adds an Emacs start menu iterm. I always go move the icon for emacs into
the Editor group and delete the GNU Emacs group. You don't have to.
Now, go get a version of ESS. I would install this one:
Untar it into the site-lisp directory.
It will create its own directory, so it should be
THen create a file called "site-start.el" and in the site-lisp
directory. You need only one line:
(that's all on one line). Note, if you change directories or such, then
you have to fix that. Store that file in
Its such a small file I attached it to this email.
(I choose to put this in site-start.el because then ESS will work for
all users, not just the ones who are smart enough to find directions
that explain how to put the same element into the user .emacs file.)
That should get the job done. If your R is working and if the R/bin
directory is in your path, then Emacs will be able to find it. So open
a file with the extension R, then type
(M is for "meta", which may be the ALT key on your system)
If R does not start inside Emacs shell, then it means your R is
installed incorrectly/incompletely. Most likely, you need to add the
directory that holds R/bin into your search PATH. In Windows2000 or XP,
that's a setting you can change in the control panel/system/environment.
In Win 95/98, you can put a line in your autoexec bat that adds the
R/bin to your PATH. I could look up that syntax for you, but don't want
to encourage you to use those systems.
Honestly, I don't know why it seems so complicated to install Emacs and
ESS when you look around the internet. Maybe I'm not helping by adding
one more voice in the mess. It must be true that there are many many
ways to do it.
This way works, I've seen it with both eyes on 2 windows computers.
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Size: 73 bytes
Desc: not available
More information about the ESS-help