I am trying to assemble a list of features that work out of the box on Linux but will fail on a standard installation without addinng additional executables or DLLs, or are not implemented at all for Windows.

Specifically, I am interested in features supported directly by the emacs lisp API of a clean installation, potentially after updating packages from ELPA but not installing any new packages explicitly. Since there are inofficial binary releases like Emacs-w64, the official releases from gnu.org should be the relevant point of reference.

More explicitly, this includes the following groups:

  • Features lacking Windows-compatibility at the C-source level.

    The one I ran into is ImageMagick support for transforming images without calling exeternal commands, which silently fails on Windows.

  • Libraries Emacs is normally linked against for binary Windows releases, whose corresponding DLL files are not shipped with Emacs (e.g. libpng or libjpeg).

    dynamic-library-alist should give a complete list of such libraries. Unless it is incomplete, or it may include entries for libraries that the binary was not actually compiled against, nothing should have to be said about these.

  • Libraries which Emacs could be linked against, but isn't in the binary release (if there are any).

  • Ubiquitous Linux tools which are not present on Windows, which the standard emacs-lisp API and builtin interactive commands depend on.

    The most important examples are probably find and grep.

  • Executables required by extensions that are wide-spread enough to be now bundled with Emacs releases.

    An example would be org-mode, whose export feature requires a LaTeX distribution. It is also an example for the unimplemented ImageMagick dependence.

  • 2
    This question might be too open-ended right now ("list all of the missing features"). Instead, could you edit the question to ask how to enable specific features that you want?
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 13:30
  • Well, if you are willing to use Cygwin, then your missing features will be different. And then in Cygwin you might opt to/not to use X-server, which will also add to the discrepancy in limitations.
    – wvxvw
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:01
  • 1
    Here is a link to a write-up of how to build Emacs master branch from source (for Windows), including installing the standard DLL files and GnuTLS: emacs.stackexchange.com/questions/16971/… And, there a few pre-built binary distributions that come with the DLL files already included and GnuTLS -- e.g., vgoulet.act.ulaval.ca/en/emacs/windows
    – lawlist
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 18:29
  • @Dan At any given time the answer is well defined, and the feature set of Emacs changes much over a few years, so it should be within scope. Finding out how to enable a specific feature isn't a problem (unless it is simply not possible), but an overview of missing features would be helpful.
    – kdb
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 10:11
  • @wvxvw I used to, but due to a long list of issues cropping up when using Emacs through cygwin (slow and sometimes failing fork operations, no opening of files by drag-and-drop, ...) I stopped doing it this way.
    – kdb
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 10:17


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