I run several applications, in several languages, that store their error stacks locally. I made a small emacs mode that allows me to browse those errors and navigate the related code. The code I wrote, at its core, is basically loading those stacks from the database in a buffer and setting that buffer in compilation code. Then I can browse code by using previous-error, next-error, etc. to navigate the code. compilation-mode is great because it knows many error regexps so I don't need to deal with them (I add to add just 3 new regexps to local variable compilation-error-regexp-alist)

Very convenient and that has been working fine for years. The paths of the stacks are absolute, which suits fine to compilation mode.

But more and more I run those applications in lightweight containers. Then, the path of those stacks does not works because I have mounted the container filesystem in different paths in my host (I run emacs exclusivelly in the host, and I store the stacks there). Then, emacs cannot find the path the files are and I cannot browse them.

I mount the root filesystem os my containers in known locations. So, for a stack /a/b/c/d.c:80 in container "foo", I can calculate the path very easily: /containers/foo/a/b/c/d.c:80

I tried to use compilation-search-path, with no avail (compilation-find-file does not concatenate an absolute path to the elements of the search path, only the basename)

I would appreciate some hint of how to achieve what I want (basically smarting compilation-find-file to prepend a path to those paths in its "error lines") that does not violates compile.el encapsulation.

2 Answers 2


Just for the record, I ended up solving it via defadvice (it is a hackish solution imho). When browsing the stacks, I set the value of a local variable (container-path) to the container path of that specific stack and then I have the following defadvice:

(defadvice compilation-find-file (around relocate-to-container (marker filename directory &rest formats) activate)
  (if (and container-path (file-name-absolute-p filename))
      (let ((filename (concat container-path filename)))

I think you might be able to use an old hack in compile.el:

(setq-local comint-file-name-prefix "/containers/foo/a/b/c/d.c:80")

This was meant originally for use inside rlogin.el buffers (i.e. a remote shell), but your situation is basically the same.

You might like to M-x report-emacs-bug and ask for its name to be fixed since it really doesn't have much to do with comint.

  • Sadly, that does not work. In compilation-find-file, there is an (if (file-name-absolute-p filename) ... (setq filename (file-name-nondirectory filename)) that strips the directory part. I need the full absolute path to be appended to /containers/foo
    – juanleon
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 14:43
  • Then you should report this via M-x report-emacs-bug.
    – Stefan
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 16:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.