On my primary computer, I have the following set up for emacs and everything works like a charm. I use emacs cvs, auctex cvs, and latexmk on a Ubuntu 14.04. However, I just put the same set up on another computer running Ubuntu 14.04 but LaTeX files are opened in fundamental-mode.

enter image description here

In my init I have:

;; Start server and set directory
(setq server-socket-dir (format "/tmp/emacs1000"))
;; Not sure if (useruid) does anything or the difference between
;; (server-start) and '(server-mode t) in custom
;(setq server-socket-dir (format "/tmp/emacs1000" (user-uid)))

;; Package list M-x package-list-packages
(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives 
         '("marmelade" . "http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/"))
(add-to-list 'package-archives 
         '("melpa" . "http://melpa.milkbox.net/packages/"))
(add-to-list 'package-archives 
         '("elpa" . "http://tromey.com/elpa/"))

;; Package initialize

;; AucTex & RefTeX
(add-to-list 'load-path "/usr/local/share/emacs/site-lisp/")
(load "auctex.el" nil t t)
(load "preview-latex.el" nil t t)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'turn-on-reftex)
(setq reftex-plug-into-AUCTex t)
(global-font-lock-mode t)
(setq font-lock-maximum-decoration t)
(setq TeX-auto-save t)
(setq TeX-parse-self t)
(setq-default TeX-master nil)
(setq TeX-save-query nil)

;; Copy and paste between Emac   instances     
(setq x-select-enable-clipboard t)
(setq interprogram-paste-function 'x-cut-buffer-or-selection-value)

;; Disablin autosave                                                           
(setq auto-save-default nil)

;; Adjusting tab distance
(setq-default indent-tabs-mode nil)
(setq-default tab-width 2)

;; Enable Line Numbering
(setq line-number-mode t)
(setq column-number-mode t)

;; Set the fill column
(setq default-fill-column 80)

;; Turn on Auto Fill mode automatically in all modes
;; Auto-fill-mode the the automatic wrapping of lines and insertion of
;; newlines when the cursor goes over the column limit.
;; This should actually turn on auto-fill-mode by default in all major
;; modes. The other way to do this is to turn on the fill for specific modes
;; via hooks.  
(setq auto-fill-mode 1)

;;  Turn on visual line mode
(global-visual-line-mode t)

;; Prevent Emacs from making backup files
(setq make-backup-files nil)

;; Cleverref setup
    (lambda ()
      (if (boundp 'reftex-ref-style-alist)
       '("Cleveref" "cleveref"
         (("\\cref" ?c) ("\\Cref" ?C) ("\\cpageref" ?d) ("\\Cpageref" ?D)))))
      (add-to-list 'reftex-ref-style-default-list "Cleveref")
       '("cref" TeX-arg-ref)
       '("Cref" TeX-arg-ref)
       '("cpageref" TeX-arg-ref)
       '("Cpageref" TeX-arg-ref)))))

;; Latexmk setup
(defun run-latexmk ()
  (let ((TeX-save-query nil)
        (TeX-process-asynchronous nil)
        (master-file (TeX-master-file)))
    (TeX-save-document "")
    (TeX-run-TeX "latexmk"
         (TeX-command-expand "latexmk -pdf %s" 'TeX-master-file)
  (if (plist-get TeX-error-report-switches (intern master-file))
      (TeX-next-error t)
      (minibuffer-message "latexmk: done."))))

(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 
      (lambda ()
         '("Latexmk" "latexmk -pdf %s" TeX-run-TeX nil t
           :help "Run Latexmk on file")

;; Set okular to open with C-c C-v view option 
(setq TeX-view-program-list
      '(("Okular" "okular --unique %u")))
(setq TeX-view-program-selection '((output-pdf "Okular")))

;; Paren checking
(load "paren")
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/elpa/rainbow-delimiters-20150320.17")
(require 'rainbow-delimiters)
(add-hook 'prog-mode-hook 'rainbow-delimiters-mode)

;; Adaptive wrap
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/elpa/adaptive-wrap-0.5")
(require 'adaptive-wrap)

(when (fboundp 'adaptive-wrap-prefix-mode)
  (defun my-activate-adaptive-wrap-prefix-mode ()
    "Toggle `visual-line-mode' and `adaptive-wrap-prefix-mode' simultaneously."
    (if visual-line-mode
        (adaptive-wrap-prefix-mode 1)
      (adaptive-wrap-prefix-mode -1)))
  (add-hook 'visual-line-mode-hook 'my-activate-adaptive-wrap-prefix-mode))

 ;; custom-set-variables was added by Custom.
 ;; If you edit it by hand, you could mess it up, so be careful.
 ;; Your init file should contain only one such instance.
 ;; If there is more than one, they won't work right.
 '(TeX-PDF-mode t)
 '(TeX-newline-function (quote newline-and-indent))
 '(TeX-show-compilation t)
 '(TeX-source-correlate-method (quote synctex))
 '(TeX-source-correlate-mode t)
 '(TeX-view-program-list (quote (("Okular" "okular -unique %o#src:%n%b"))) t)
 '(TeX-view-program-selection (quote ((output-pdf "Okular"))) t)
 '(compilation-auto-jump-to-first-error t)
 '(inhibit-startup-screen t)
 '(ispell-lazy-highlight nil)
 '(server-mode t))

In my latexmkrc, I have

$pdflatex = 'pdflatex --shell-escape -interaction=nonstopmode %O %S
-file-line-error -synctex=1';

In my bash_aliases, I have the following

alias emacs='emacsclient -t -s server --alternate-editor='
alias ipython='ipython3'

Considering both set ups are identical running the same software, why wont this work on a different computer? I run into this problem every time I have to set back up emacs on any of my computers.

Messages received from C-h e:

Loading paren...done
Starting Emacs daemon.
File mode specification error: (void-function pushnew)
File local-variables error: (void-function pushnew)
When done with a buffer, type C-x #
  • 1
    You seem to be loading auctex.el in your init file. If the problem is related to the AucTex mode being absent, I'd start by trying to locate auctex.el, which I suspect is absent from another computer.
    – wvxvw
    Mar 23, 2015 at 8:30
  • 1
    @dustin :) That screenshot clears things up. The string within the parentheses provide 3 sets of information.. it's not a single thing. (1) Fundamental mode is enabled (2) You opened that file using emacsclient and thus Server (3) You have visual-line-mode enabled and thus Wrap. Mar 23, 2015 at 15:39
  • @dustin So what is it that's not working? Do the latex files always open in Fundamental mode? Mar 23, 2015 at 15:41
  • 1
    @dustin After emacs starts up, the *Messages* log should have some errors. You can jump to that buffer directly using C-h e. Does that buffer list error or warning messages? If so, can you update your question with a list of those errors/warnings? Mar 23, 2015 at 15:55
  • @wvxvw The (load "auctex.el" nil t t) has the NOERROR argument as nil. So Dustin should be seeing package loading errors if auctex.el (and preview-latex.el) are not found. Mar 23, 2015 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


This might be the issue:

(add-to-list 'load-path "/usr/local/share/emacs/site-lisp/")

The packages in that directory don't necessarily come bundled with emacs, they're system-specific and they depend on how you install Emacs. So these packages might be present on one machine but absent from the other.

You should install AucTeX yourself.

  • Call M-x list-packages.
  • In that list install the Auctex package by hitting i x.
  • I use the cvs version off of github so I don't install it through the package manager. I am going to Georgia now so have to look at this later.
    – dustin
    Mar 23, 2015 at 15:59
  • Also, this everything done was 100% identical to my other system so it is odd it isn't working.
    – dustin
    Mar 23, 2015 at 16:04
  • @dustin in that case, I recommend you remove all those lines you have which are configuring the load-path, they're doing more harm than good (and they could be the cause). Also remove the package-update-load-path function. Emacs should take care of all that stuff for you, just add (package-initialize) to the top of your init file.
    – Malabarba
    Mar 23, 2015 at 16:05
  • Added information requested by kaushal
    – dustin
    Mar 23, 2015 at 16:13
  • If you add (load "paren") (add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/elpa/rainbow-delimiters-20150320.17") (add-hook 'prog-mode-hook 'rainbow-delimiters-mode) this to your answer, I will be able to accept. I had to remove (require 'rainbow-delimiters) (global-rainbow-delimiters-mode)
    – dustin
    Mar 29, 2015 at 22:42

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