How to configure packages, which have no (provide <PACKAGENAME>) call in their source code?

Immediate problem: configure isearch with use-package.
(Editing isearch.el is not an option because it may break updates and may trigger heavy bug hunting)

Edit: answering Drews comment: use-package can be used to cluster elisp code, which should belong to a package/library. The user is then able to write functions or set up keybindings, which are part of a users emacs configuration. Whith this technique it is possible to lazy load self written functions, or even redefine functions from a package after the package/library has been loaded. (Of course there are also other ways to do that but use-package is a nice Domain Specific Language for that kind of configuration).
By "configure" I mean writing a valid use-package sexp which serves the purpose of changing emacs default behavior.
Yes, with "Editing" I meant changing the source code file isearch.el. Emacs is hackable after all.

  • 1
    Strange, if I M-x find-library RET isearch RET and jump to the end of the file, I immediately find (provide 'isearch) there.
    – wasamasa
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 17:30
  • The question is unclear. What do you mean by "configure" isearch.el (which is not a package, BTW)? There's no reason to require isearch.el, as it is loaded automatically. And why do you speak of "editing" isearch.el - are you trying to change some of its code? Unclear question, so far.
    – Drew
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 17:40
  • @wasamasa nice to know it has been fixed in recent versions of emacs. I'm using emacs 25.1 (part of distribution, and I dislike to upgrade, yet) there is no (provide 'isearch) in isearch.el
    – jue
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 8:51
  • 1
    FYI, the missing provide was added in 2016: github.com/emacs-mirror/emacs/commit/…
    – Tyler
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


Immediate problem: configure isearch with use-package.

You can pass the filename as a string instead of a symbol (this is similar to eval-after-load, which is basically what the use-package macro expands to).

(use-package "isearch"

Another possibilty for builtin preloaded packages like isearch is to "use" the "emacs" package (since Emacs always provides the emacs feature):

(use-package emacs ; isearch

Or simply put the provide into your init file:

(provide 'isearch)
(use-package isearch

See also Bug#25026 - Add missing (provide 'isearch) (this is done as of Emacs 26.1).

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