I'm a recent Vim "convert" (and yet love most of it), still I have an issue with installing packages using cygwin/emacs.

The related configurations are (I have $http(s)_proxy set up as environment variables in my .bashrc):

;;; init.el
;; This sets up the load path so that we can override it
(package-initialize nil)
(package-initialize t)
(setq package-enable-at-startup nil)
(org-babel-load-file "~/Repos/orgfiles/emacs-setup.org")

From emacs-setup.org:

(require 'package)
  (setq package-list '(
  ;;; list of packages
 (add-to-list 'package-archives
    '("melpa" . "http://melpa.milkbox.net/packages/") t)
  (add-to-list 'package-archives
    '("org" . "http://orgmode.org/elpa/") t)
  (add-to-list 'package-archives
    '("marmalade" . "http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/") t)
  ; fetch the list of packages available
  (unless package-archive-contents
  ; install the missing packages
  (dolist (package package-list)
    (unless (package-installed-p package)
      (package-install package)))

(This was copy pasted from several places from the interwebs...)

My problems are the following:

  • I quiet often (but not always) get the following errors in *Messages*:

     Contacting host: elpa.gnu.org:80
     Failed to download `gnu' archive.
     Contacting host: melpa.milkbox.net:80
     Failed to download `melpa' archive.
     Contacting host: orgmode.org:80
     Failed to download `org' archive.
     Contacting host: marmalade-repo.org:80
     Failed to download `marmalade' archive.
  • when I'm able to download the (e.g.) melpa archive and mark a package for installation, quiet often the installed package contains 0 sized package file(s) after which seemed to be a succesful installation. E.g.: most recently:

     $ ls -l auto-complete-chunk-20140225.146/
     total 2.0K
     -rw-r--r-- 1 zsbotykai None   0 Feb 16 10:54 auto-complete-chunk.el
     -rw-r--r-- 1 zsbotykai None 410 Feb 16 10:54 auto-complete-chunk-autoloads.el
     -rw-r--r-- 1 zsbotykai None 172 Feb 16 10:54 auto-complete-chunk-pkg.el

    So above: auto-complete-chunk.el is empty after the *Messages* install log shows:

     Install package `auto-complete-chunk-20140225.146'? y
     Contacting host: melpa.milkbox.net:80
     Generating autoloads for auto-complete-chunk.el...done
     Saving file /home/zsbotykai/.emacs.d/elpa/auto-complete-chunk-20140225.146/auto-complete-chunk-autoloads.el...
     Wrote /home/zsbotykai/.emacs.d/elpa/auto-complete-chunk-20140225.146/auto-complete-chunk-autoloads.el

Could you please point me out and/or show the direction where/what/how should I investigate the root cause of this?

1 Answer 1


Looks like although setting $http_proxy outside of emacs (as mentioned, in .bashrc) is not enough.

After setting the proxy in the init file:

(setq url-proxy-services '(("no_proxy" . "work\\.com")
                           ("http" . "proxy.work.com:911")))

the problem had gone.

  • 1
    When you get the chance, you should accept your own answer as the correct one so that the questions appears as "answered".
    – nanny
    Mar 18, 2015 at 13:06

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