In my .emacs I have (require 'sr-speedbar). It works fine, but at startup I always see the compile-log-buffer with Warning (bytecomp): reference to free variable 'helm-alive-p'.

According to this question it has to be some wrong definition somewhere, but where?

I guess it has to be in the elisp code in the package, but there is also a .elc-File. I am a newbie to elisp, so I don't want to break anything. How do I get rid of this warning?

2 Answers 2


Maybe you have to install the helm package...

Another 'solution' is adding this line to your .emacs

(setq byte-compile-warnings '(not free-vars ))
  • Installing helm didn't solve the problem, so I'll stick with your 'solution'. :-)
    – itmuckel
    Jun 7, 2016 at 11:03
  • 1
    The variable helm-alive-p is defined at line 949 of the current version: github.com/emacs-helm/helm/blob/master/helm.el If the OP has (require 'helm) somewhere before the defadvice of pop-to-buffer -- which contains the offending code of ...(if (featurep 'helm) (not helm-alive-p)... then you would not see a reference to a free variable. However, I don't fully understand why you are byte-compiling when you start Emacs. That is something that normally gets done when installing a package or building, but not every time Emacs is launched. Why is the OP always compiling?
    – lawlist
    Jun 7, 2016 at 20:24
  • This question is for Micha90, not for me (comment the previous message). I don't use sr-speedbar but with a quick try I notice that the library is really compiled at startup... That's strange but it's like that.
    – djangoliv
    Jun 8, 2016 at 8:06

Installing helm didn't solve the problem, so I'll stick with your 'solution'. :-)

Try to write (require 'sr-speedbar) after your (require 'helm) with many of your helm configuration along.

(require 'helm)
(require 'helm-config)
;; Your preferred configuration for Helm.
;; ...

(require 'sr-speedbar)

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