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Special Event: Hacking With Emacs

In 1976, hacking through the night, Richard Stallman (Godfather of Free Software) and Guy Steele (Midwife of Java) produced the first version of Emacs. It has evolved over the last 40 years to become the ultimate hackers' toy box - filled with tools, great fun and infinitely malleable.

Join us for a special West London Hack Night where Nic Ferrier - the UK's premier Emacs Wizard* - will show you how to get started, the feats you can accomplish, and how Emacs can be molded to do your bidding.

We'll be splitting the evening into two parts - a guided tour from Nic, followed by a hands-on hacking session. It'll be fast & furious, but we promise we'll get your brain off to a running start.

It's a free event, but we have limited space so chalk up your RSVP now and we'll see you there. :-)


PS - You don't have to be based in West London to join us. All are welcome.

* The UK has other premier Emacs people, of course. Off the top of my head I can think of at least two Elves, an Armoured Bear, and an Orc.

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  • Vincent M.

    My main takeaway from Nic's talk was about a craft ethos where you are always working on your tools (in moderation), and to use packages and customize mode. Thank you Adam for demonstrating your tiled windows setup to me.

    September 28, 2013

  • Nic F.

    Thanks for having me. It was good fun. If you want to know more about Emacs have a look at the wiki - - you can also check out my blog, which invariably has some emacs related waffle, - and if you're REALLY interested in "making your own chisel" then you need to learn Emacs-Lisp which you can do at - my series of screencasts about emacs-lisp.

    September 27, 2013

    • John S.

      Thanks for the EmacsBites link, looks really useful.

      September 27, 2013

  • John S.

    Great to meet people last night. I have a couple of ways of setting up Emacs for Clojure on my website: - rolling your own with the Marmalade package manager or using Emac Live from Sam Aaron.

    I also have a wider range of tips and tricks around using Emacs on my blog: There even more of tips and tricks to be discovered at

    Enjoy hacking and let me know if you have any questions around Clojure and Emacs.

    September 27, 2013

  • Dane W.

    Really helpful meeting - now I know how to get started with Emacs. Thank you Nic and Kris.

    I went to a Data Science meetup the other day where Mark Needham ( gave an entertaining talk about ranking football teams where he uses Emacs and Clojure - slides are at and code at

    1 · September 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member


    1 · September 26, 2013

  • Adam R.

    Sorry. Last minute change of plan

    September 26, 2013

  • Pete

    Creative technologist/artist

    September 25, 2013

  • Benoit P.

    Hello Nic,

    Which version of emacs do you recommend we have on our laptops ?
    At the moment I'm using[masked]


    September 19, 2013

    • Kris J.

      Yeah, John's right. As long as you've got v24, the minor version shouldn't matter. I'd recommend against v23 (or less), if only because v24 has the package system built-in.

      1 · September 23, 2013

    • Nic F.

      Yeah, any 24 would be fine. We can probably cope with others as well... but 24 is such a game changer it's best to use that.

      September 24, 2013

  • Ian E.

    hello, bit of a daft question but is 7pm the actual start time (i.e. need to arrive before then) or is it a 'doors open' time and things actually kick off a bit later?

    1 · September 23, 2013

    • Kris J.

      Hi Ian, the doors will be open from about 6:30. We'll get started by 7:15 at the latest. I'll send out an email with some extra details soon. :-)

      September 23, 2013

  • Nic F.

    I'm not sure Emacs wizard is right. But I have been using it for ages and I do know a bit about it. Learning Emacs is worthwhile because it's a powerful editing tool that can change the way you work in any language but also, like shell, it can help you make personally useful tools like an lrc robots for example.

    1 · August 13, 2013

    • Kris J.

      I think you're doing yourself a disservice Mr Ferrier. Anyone who can write an event-driven webserver in Emacs Lisp is *at least* an Arch-Conjurer.

      August 13, 2013

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