I am interested in installing Emacs ESS mode. I can follow the instructions here but I would like to know if there is an easier way (without installing a completely new instance of Emacs like the one provided here).

For example, the instructions say that I can use the Linux version, but then I don't know if I should use the Debian, OpenSUSE, or Fedora package listed on the Downloads page.

This is a specific example of a situation alluded to in my previous question that was closed because it was too general to be constructive.

2 Answers 2


Use the latest .tgz package:

Here is the installation version from the documentation (the -12.09-2 part of the file name is current-release specific and will change):

wget http://ess.r-project.org/downloads/ess/ess-12.09-2.tgz
tar -xvf ess-12.09-2.tgz
mv ess-12.09-2 /Applications/Emacs.app/Contents/Resources/site-lisp/
echo "(require 'ess-site)" >> ~/.emacs

Installation via the source isn't so bad, but there is very little documentation on how to install for your specific type of Emacs install on OS X. While in the makeconfig file there are several presets for some types of installations on Mac (you just have to uncomment them), there aren't any written for an Emacs installation via Homebrew which tends to be the easiest way to install the newest Emacs on OS X. After some tinkering the following settings worked for my x11 GNU Emacs installation:

##__ GNU Emacs __  x11 for Mac OS X built using Homebrew 
ETCDIR =/usr/local/Cellar/emacs/24.4/ess-mode/

(And I know, it's a little sloppy, but no issues thus far.)

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