I recently upgraded to (K)ubuntu 16.04 which includes Emacs 24.5.1. Since the upgrade, Emacs stalls for more than three minutes when opening any Python file. The problem occurs when opening a new Python file as well as on existing files. I tried eg.

emacs --no-init-file example.py

where the file can be a literal hello world program, non existing or any small Python script. The problem also occurs when opening a Python file after editing other files or when using dired to open the file. I left no extensions installed on that system.

CPU load and memory footprint are normal while Emacs stalls (below 1% on my system). Ctrl+G allows circumventing the problem. Once the first Python file has loaded, all other Python files load normally w/out delay.

I tried removing all configuration files

rm -r .emacs*

but that did not help either (note that I could not reproduce the problem on other (K)Ubuntu systems). The only message I get from Emacs is likely not related: "Warning: no abbrev-file found, customize `abbrev-file-name' in order to make mode-specific abbrevs work.". How can I get Emacs to be usable for editing Python files again? Any hints are welcome. Thanks.

  • Do you see the same problem even when you do emacs -Q example.py? Note that the -Q option is different than -q. Commented May 16, 2016 at 17:42
  • Possibly sounds like a symptom of this: emacs.stackexchange.com/q/18438/50
    – Malabarba
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:05
  • According to your answer it's too late, but for this kind of problem setting debug-on-quit can get a backtrace from hitting Ctrl+G which is usually helpful for solving.
    – npostavs
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


To resolve this issue, I first ruled out the configuration and local elpa packages. After making sure that the same issue does not reproduce on other installations w/ the same emacs version, the remaining cause could only be buried in the system configuration. After re-installing all emacs related packages and removing all emacs related python extensions from the system (there were yasnippets, emacs-goodies-el, pylint etc.), the problem was resolved. Unfortunately, I don't know which of the packages caused the problem.

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