Your Emacs Virtual Box Recipe


Okey I love emacs, you are allowed to say I am a nerd.
But I use emacs.
So I could solve your problems with a Ctrl-Alt-x kung fu combination, involving yoga-like finger movements.

So do not mess with me… :D (I am like the Zohan, only with glasses :)

In my daily work I use Windows7, Eclipse and Excel, because they are far superior than text-based visicalc spreadsheet (sorry Stallman).

For all the rest I use Emacs with Org Mode.
So I need a decent platform (read: Linux) below the Emacs beast. After some time, I ended up tuning a Debian Network install, virtualized with Oracle VirtualBox. It rocks, and I will give you my recipe:

  • Install the debian via network install iso, to minimize package installation
  • Install Plain Emacs 23 plus Xfce 4.0 as windows manager (Very light) + Klipper (reason below)
  • Grab org-mode from its repository (the dev version is more advanced then the stable one):
  • Keep your configuration to the minimum. I do not edit .emacs. I fill in my modules inside .emacs.d/init.el
  • Configure Seameless mode on Virtual box: it will look nice on your win desktop, for sure
  • Tune Klipper to Sync the clipboard. It will save your day when you go back and forth in seamless mode (see picture)
  • Configure Xfce to boot emacs and klipper at login (you do not need shells…you have EMACS)
  • Shutdown your box. Tune the memory: try giving it only 112 MB of RAM. Your linux box will boot, and will consume very little resource on your Host O.S., even if you have as little as 2GB of RAM.  To speed up things, 323MB will pay all your bills.
  • Configure sudo accordingly, disable unused services (like sshd)

First revision: Oct 15th 2012

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1 Response to Your Emacs Virtual Box Recipe

  1. While I still don’t like Emacs (though I have been regularly using it for 6 months now) – especially its perverse approach to keyboard shortcuts – I am yet to find anything that beats using screen with the console version of Emacs (not the X-based one) running remotely on an always-on Linux box. Give it a try if you have access to a server you can use for development: it’s even better than VMs, if you don’t work offline.

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