I see that both linum and nlinum are actively maintained: one is built-in, another recently had a release.

With older Emacs version, linum used to be slow with a lot of folding in a buffer (e.g. in Org mode, and with hs-minor-mode in various source code modes). So I switched to nlinum.

Currently (on Emacs 15 and 26) I see that linum is sort of fast again, though maybe not always as smooth as nlinum.

Is there a reason why I should stick to one of them from maintainability POV? That is, does one of them obsolete, or is going to obsolete, another?

  • 3
    You might want to check out display-line-numbers-mode in recent Emacs versions. It uses code implemented in C, so it might be faster than both, and it ships with Emacs, so there will be an incentive to maintain it.
    – user12563
    Apr 19, 2019 at 17:30
  • Not a great question for emacs.SE, I think. Discussions of what different people prefer and why is better for something like Reddit. Emacs.SE is looking for specific Q&A, and especially how-to Q&A.
    – Drew
    Apr 19, 2019 at 18:05
  • 1
    @Drew: sorry about that. My question was not about preference, but about status, e.g. whether either of the packages is becoming obsoleted with recent Emacs development. It appears that both are!
    – 9000
    Apr 19, 2019 at 18:08
  • @DoMiNeLa10: Make it an answer please, and I'll accept it.
    – 9000
    Apr 19, 2019 at 18:09
  • 1

1 Answer 1


The intention behind nlinum.el was to obsolete linum.el but it turns out that some customizations of linum.el can't really be adapted to nlinum.el (mostly the "relative line numbers").

Also the new display-line-numbers-mode in Emacs-26 aims to obsolete both of those. But again, some customizations of nlinum.el and linum.el can't be adapted to display-line-numbers-mode.

Of the three, I think linum.el is the least maintained one and will probably be the first to be officially obsoleted. But all three are likely to still be around for many years.

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