short story: The theme just did not show up automatically at emacs start, when it is invoked by an after-init-hook. However, with emacs-startup-hook it worked as expected:

(use-package heaven-and-hell
;;:hook (after-init . heaven-and-hell-init-hook) ;; does not work
  :hook (emacs-startup . heaven-and-hell-init-hook) ;; this one does

I run plain emacs (emacs -l test.el -Q) with a test script (modified from this question)


(defun buffer-hook-function ()
  (append-to-file (format "%s" (buffer-list)) nil  "log.txt")
  (append-to-file "\n" nil  "log.txt")

(append-to-file "Running ...\n" nil  "log.txt")

(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook (lambda () (append-to-file "emacs-startup-hook\n" nil  "log.txt")))
(add-hook 'after-init-hook (lambda () (append-to-file "after-init-hook\n" nil  "log.txt")))
(add-hook 'before-init-hook (lambda () (append-to-file "before-init-hook\n" nil  "log.txt")))
(add-hook 'window-setup-hook (lambda () (append-to-file "window-setup-hook\n" nil  "log.txt")))
(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook (lambda () (append-to-file "emacs-startup-hook after window-setup-hook\n" nil  "log.txt")))
(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook (lambda () (append-to-file (format "after-init-time %.2fs (printed via emacs-startup-hook)\n" (float-time (time-subtract (current-time) after-init-time))) nil "log.txt")))
(add-hook 'buffer-list-update-hook 'buffer-hook-function)


Running ...
  (*scratch*  *Minibuf-0* *Messages*  *code-conversion-work*  *Echo Area 0*  *Echo Area 1*)
  after-init-time 0.03s (printed via emacs-startup-hook)
  emacs-startup-hook after window-setup-hook
  (*scratch*  *Minibuf-0* *Messages*  *code-conversion-work*  *Echo Area 0*  *Echo Area 1*)

So after-init-hook does not appear, but after-init-time seems to be set, which seems to come from an after-init-hook.

I still do not see why after-init-hook is not called. This question refers to the command-line processing part of after-init-hook, so I tried different configurations, terminals and (non-)window modes.

  • Why after-init-hook is not called?
  • Does this mean, other packages with init hooks can also fail?

Edit: Using emacs 26.2, Manjaro Linux 18.0.4 xfce

Update: after rewriting my theme and addressing an issue in spacemacs-theme, after-init seems to work so far via heaven-and-hell. emacs-startup hook had other issues like additional syntax highlighting via prog-mode-hook did not work.

Update 2: The example test.el perhaps always fails. If you run without -Q it is invoked: emacs -l test.el:

Running ...
  (*scratch*  *Minibuf-0* *Messages*  *code-conversion-work*  *Echo Area 0*  *Echo Area 1*  *load*)
  Running ...
  (*scratch*  *Minibuf-0* *Messages*  *code-conversion-work*  *Echo Area 0*  *Echo Area 1*)
  after-init-time 0.06s (printed via emacs-startup-hook)
  emacs-startup-hook after window-setup-hook

1 Answer 1


Why after-init-hook is not called?

It is called, but it's called before test.el gets a chance to modify it. (elisp) Startup Summary:

 17. It runs the normal hook `after-init-hook'.


 21. It processes any command-line options that were not handled


 25. It runs `emacs-startup-hook'.

"command-line options that werer not handled earlier" includes -l test.el. So by the time you are adding to after-init-hook it is too late.

  • ok, I just guessed loading el-files must come earlier than after-init-hook processing (5. It does some basic parsing of the command-line arguments.?). Otherwise is there a way at all for loading custom init files via command line besides of the hardcoded options?
    – tdd
    Jul 12, 2019 at 7:18
  • I can answer my comment: No. See here: after-init-hook: This normal hook is run, once, just after loading all the init files (site-start.el, your init file, and default.el), before loading the terminal-specific library (if started on a text terminal) and processing the command-line action arguments.
    – tdd
    Jul 12, 2019 at 7:30

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