I'm going through the documentation for the interactive function and there are some code letters which are documented like this:

d -- Value of point as number.  Does not do I/O.
P -- Prefix arg in raw form.  Does not do I/O.

My question is what does it mean when it mentions "Does not do I/O" ? We have the function recompile which uses (interactive "P"). The recompile function also uses the variable compile-command whose default value is this:

(defcustom compile-command (purecopy "make -k ")

Now I believe executing make command is actually a form of I/O as it involves spawning new process, possibly creating object files. But probably I'm mis-understanding how it's used in the context of Emacs.

1 Answer 1


It just means that it doesn’t prompt the user for any information.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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