I installed ESS using the following chuck of code:

(use-package ess
  :init (require 'ess-site)
  :mode (("\\.[rR]\\'" . R-mode)
         ("\\.Rnw\\'" . Rnw-mode))

Everything works fine, however the ESS process (ESS buffer) is started when I start Emacs and before I work with R. The content of the buffers says:

[ess-site:] ess-lisp-directory = '/home/andrej/.emacs.d/elpa/ess-20180926.54'[ess-site.el]: ess-customize-alist=nil 
[ess-site.el _2_]: ess-customize-alist=nil 
Creating global Emacs toolbar[ess-site:] *very* end ...

Could somebody explain me why this happens? I suspect that :init command loads ESS at startup. Is that correct? I also wonder how to correct this initialization. Thanks for any pointer.

1 Answer 1


That's normal. (require 'ess-site) loads that file, which will load a bunch of other ESS files. This is just setting up your local configuration (which is probably the default configuration unless you've made further changes).

There isn't an "ESS process", what you're seeing is just a buffer, *ESS*, where the messages generated while loading these files are put. R isn't started until you explicitly call it (i.e., M-x R).

So there's nothing wrong here and nothing to correct.

  • Only to complement the thread, you need to open an R file to make the plugin actually work (menus appearing).
    – KiM
    Jan 7, 2022 at 10:54

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