XEmacs 21.4 Release Status
Last Update: 29 November 2001
OK, at long last I've done the ``Real Update'' promised for
for the change history of XEmacs 21.4.
Last Status Update: 29 November 2001
We are now down to a very few issues that need to be resolved
before XEmacs 21.4 is promoted to
stable. At that point,
XEmacs 21.1 will be retired. We expect this to occur early
in the first quarter of 2002.
Please help us test!
The current gamma test version is
21.4.5. Currently known bugs and their statuses are in
Also see the planning document
and the individual feature pages (linked from there).
Caution: These have not been updated recently.
They will be enough for a general introduction.
Synopsis of Current Important Issues
- Improved syntax tables
Some languages with crufty baroque syntax (you guessed it,
Perl) require ``modal'' support for their constructs
even within a single buffer, or syntax highlighting and
indentation is rather crude.
The implementation of local syntax tables has been a success
as far as Perl modes are concerned, but evidently causes
problems for C-related modes and Python.
- Customization, especially faces
A number of issues plague the Customize subsystem. The
inability to set non-ISO-8859 fonts with Customize will not be
satisfactorily resolved for 21.4, at least not for the next
few patchlevels. Currently on several platforms, setting some
components of a face with Customize may make it impossible to
adjust others. This will probably be resolved quickly, or at
least workarounds will be provided with a full resolution in
the medium term (late first quarter 2002).
There are deeper problems with the popup menus on MS Windows,
which for some systems but not others makes them entirely
unusable. Andy Piper is investigating.
- ``Native'' widget support
The native widget support is fully integrated at the base
level, and is automatically used, when available, in Custom
buffers. There remain some problems with complex widgets, at
least on the Athena Widgets platforms.
More seriously, the progress bar is associated with crashes in
The buffers tab control widget flashes on some platforms.
This may be associated with insufficient preemption of
redisplay as new expose events arrive.
- Integration of XEmacs/GTK
with the main line
GTK is not yet really an ``issue'' as far as the core team is
concerned, but very frequently asked about.
XEmacs/GTK has been integrated with the mainline source since
before the release of 21.4.0. The configuration script defaults
to --with-gtk=no on all platforms. If you find some
instability, and a fair number of missing or buggy features
acceptable return for the latest and flashiest version,
configure it with --with-gtk=yes.
It builds and runs, but it must be considered experimental.
The core development team has very little time to spend on GTK
issues, and cannot respond to GTK-related requests in a timely
fashion. Les Schaffer used to maintain a GTK
XEmacs bugs page (it disappeared between June and October
2004) for enthusiasts.
Discussion of the development process, bugs, etc will take place
on the XEmacs Beta Testers mailing list xemacs-beta. (Occasional
short progress reports will be posted to the comp.emacs.xemacs
newsgroup.) To subscribe to xemacs-beta (or any XEmacs-related
mailing list), visit
or send an e-mail message to
with `subscribe' (without the quotes) as the body of the
The tester versions are available, as all XEmacs
stable and development code is, by anonymous CVS and anonymous
FTP. Procedures for download and testing, and testing objectives
and priorities, are described in a separate document, XEmacs Pre-release Tester
Guidelines. Please bookmark it and refer to it often, as the
objectives and priorities will change.
Additional detail is provided in the
- December 19:
The draft proposal was submitted to the board, and ``people
with projects'' were asked for detailed status reports.
- January 2:
A revised draft was posted on www.xemacs.org, along with a RFC
to xemacs-beta. Some projects demoted to ``planned for future
- January 9:
Feature freeze announced.
- January 11:
- February 1:
Decide details of default configuration for prerelease
versions, and schedule of changes, if any.
- February 7:
Open new development branch in CVS. Weekly tarballs that build
and run from now until release. Bug/issue list updated at least
Code expected to be complete. Interim reports from PWPs;
triage the features. Reports emphasize known issues for
testers to bang on.
Announce explicit testing goals (bugs, issues, features) to
xemacs-beta. Update frequently.
- February 15:
Final reports from taskmasters: code complete and design bugs
cleared. Triage features not meeting this criterion.
- April 15 (original proposal: March 1):
"Release" 21.4.0 as "gamma"; move devel code to trunk as 21.5,
open 21.4 as new stable branch, branch 21.1 off trunk. 21.1
will continue to be supported as the "stable" branch, with
continuing active work on bugfixes in both 21.4.x and 21.1.x,
- 2002 January (? original proposal: April 2):
Acceptance of 21.4.x as stable by Vin; mothball 21.1. (Ie,
21.1 support will be limited to fixing showstoppers.)
The following individuals are specifically responsible for some
planned part of this release.
- Role players
Stephen Turnbull, 21.4 Release Manager (water boy)
Martin Buchholz, Beta Release Maintainer (general plumbing)
Vin Shelton, Stable Release Maintainer (final acceptance)
- Feature creatures
- Steve Baur
- Martin Buchholz
- Olivier Galibert
- Yoshiki Hayashi
- Bill Perry
- Andy Piper
- Hisashi Miyashita
- Michael Sperber
- Matt Tucker
- Jan Vroonhof
- Ben Wing
- Kirill Katsnelson
- Special mention
Steve Youngs, Packages Maintainer (the real
XEmacs, into which this release will drop seamlessly)
Adrian Aichner, for the homepage design and (with Martin
Buchholz) SourceForge CVS-to-web implementation---the primary
means for keeping you up-to-date.