I'm trying to build Emacs 19.34 (which dates from 1996) because I'm interested in its historical behaviour. I've unpacked the archive and read the INSTALL file. That file seems to say that I should run the configure script in the same directory, but there is no such script.

What (probably obvious) thing am I missing?

1 Answer 1


configure is a file generated from configure.in:

dnl  Autoconf script for GNU Emacs
dnl To rebuild the `configure' script from this, execute the command
dnl     autoconf

Although I thought tarballs should usually come with it pre-generated, did you download the tarball from git?

It's possible that you will run into problems trying this with a current autoconf version. It looks like you could use configure1.in as configure if you fail to generate it yourself.

  • I downloaded the tarball from here. Unpacking the tarball resulted in a configure.in but no configure. It also resulted in the INSTALL I've been working from. Which, I have just discovered, does mention autoconf, but about 400 lines after it tells me to run configure. Thanks! Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 14:16
  • 1
    In newer Emacs this is explained in INSTALL.repo, but there wasn't any repo back then. If you download the tarball from ftp.gnu.org/old-gnu/emacs, it comes with a configure file.
    – npostavs
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 14:24
  • Thanks! It turns out I should have read INSTALL more closely. It has a later section on configuring "by hand". So I might edit your answer accordingly. Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 14:36
  • I think the "by hand" section should only be needed if running ./configure fails.
    – npostavs
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 14:38
  • Running ./configure was failing in a sense. I'll see how I go with following the instructions in INSTALL. If that doesn't work I'll try your advice to copy configure.in to configure. Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 14:45

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