I would like to create my own startup.el, and it seems that loadup.el is what causes startup to do its thing -- i.e., (load "startup"). I see that an option for starting Emacs is -nl or --no-loadup; however, neither of those have any affect on OSX. Is loadup.el perhaps hard-coded into the executable such that a startup option to the contrary has no effect?

I have tried:

/absolute/path/to/Emacs -nl


/absolute/path/to/Emacs --no-loadup

I am using OSX, and have a very recent version of Emacs Trunk built from the master branch.


Correct; this option is not relevant to the fully-built emacs executable, because that library (and the many others it pulls in with it) are pre-loaded in that executable.

You can, if you so wish, create your own custom executable by modifying the sources before the dumping process occurs.

Refer to:
C-hig (elisp) Building Emacs RET

  • Thank you -- I just read through the reference you pointed out a couple of times and I'll read it again a few more. Of particular interest was the preloaded-file-list which appears to contain the libraries specified in loadup.el. I'm a little hesitant to completely turn Emacs into my own monstrosity, so I'll probably create a custom build that gives me a user option to go with the stock loadup, or my custom loadup. I see that some of the ingredients of startup.el are mandatory for a successful build, so I'll have to locate all of them . . . Thank you very much for your help.
    – lawlist
    Sep 11 '15 at 3:23
  • For cross-reference purposes: This question reminded me to write up a similar answer to How does Emacs manage to start instantaneously with many el-files?
    – phils
    Sep 11 '15 at 5:14

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