When I pull 25.1 down from FTP and configure using the following (extrapolated from this run):

curl -o "/tmp/emacs-25.1.tar.xz" "https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/emacs/emacs-25.1.tar.xz"
tar xf "/tmp/emacs-25.1.tar.xz" -C /tmp
cd /tmp/emacs-25.1
./configure --prefix=/Users/travis/emacs --with-ns --with-modules
sudo make install

it's actually seems to be configuring without the --prefix. I'm basing that assumption off

  1. There's nothing in the prefix dir after make install.
  2. There's still stuff in /tmp/emacs-25.1/.

So, I think to myself, 'no big deal, I'll just copy /tmp/emacs-25.1/ to /home/travis/emacs myself' – but that's a no-go.

Copying everything back into /tmp/emacs-25.1 does work, but it's bordering on too hacky.

Why isn't --prefix being respected? Do I misunderstand its purpose? This seems to apply across the board for macOS builds regardless of version.


On macOS, Emacs builds itself a self-contained application bundle by default. You can find it in the build tree via the output at the end of the ./configure step.

You must run "make install" in order to test the built application.
The installed application will go to nextstep/Emacs.app and can be
run or moved from there.
The application will be fully self-contained.

You can then copy/move this bundle to ~/Applications or /Applications. To override this behavior, take a look at ./configure --help, under "Optional Features:"

Optional Features:
  --disable-option-checking  ignore unrecognized --enable/--with options
  --disable-FEATURE       do not include FEATURE (same as --enable-FEATURE=no)
  --enable-FEATURE[=ARG]  include FEATURE [ARG=yes]
  --enable-silent-rules   less verbose build output (undo: "make V=1")
  --disable-silent-rules  verbose build output (undo: "make V=0")
                          disable self contained build under NeXTstep

--disable-ns-self-contained will give you a more traditional layout, respecting --prefix.

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