Development of the Aquamacs distribution is ongoing. The current focus of development is updating Aquamacs to be based on the most recent release of the main GNU Emacs. I

Mailing lists

Interested in Aquamacs? Subscribe and post to our developer mailing list with development questions, comments, and contributions.

The following mailing lists are available:

  • Aquamacs-devel: for developer discussion (subscription required to post)

  • Emacs on OSX (Archives): for support questions from and interaction with users (subscription required to post)

All mailing lists are public and you are welcome to join!

Development builds

Development builds will be back soon!

Getting the source code

Compiling Aquamacs from the Git repository is (relatively) easy. You need Apple's XCode and a few things from the Homebrew package manager. The code is available from GitHub at Aquamacs Emacs. You can get a shallow (quick) checkout,

git clone --depth 3

or, for a full checkout:

git clone

There's a web view of the Aquamacs repository which allows you to browse and download files.

Refer to the BuildingAquamacs wiki page for instructions on how to build it. It's pretty much automatic.

Want to see the latest change log? Check this out…

Patches and other contributions

Your contributions are more than welcome! Just send e-mail to aquamacs-devel.


Aquamacs Emacs has been developed by David Reitter. GNU Emacs is the work of Richard Stallman and many other developers, including Andrew Choi, Yamamoto Mitsuharu, Adrian Robert who ported GNU Emacs to the Mac. Kevin Walzer co-founded the project and wrote the initial documentation. Nathaniel Cunningham contributed code for the tabbar, among other things. Sidney Markowitz contributed code. Adrian Chromenko and Jessica Walker contributed artwork.

Aquamacs is currently maintained by Win Treese (

We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the authors of packages, whose source code and hints on public forums have already been integrated into the build.

The Aquamacs distribution of Emacs is released under the GNU General Public License. Source code for the base build is a branch of GNU Emacs. Most customizations are bundled in with the application package itself.

Is Aquamacs a fork of GNU Emacs?

Aquamacs is a large-scale customization effort to make Emacs more user-friendly, particularily for users on modern, GUI-based operating systems. Through continuous development over more than fifteen years, Aquamacs has become a distinct application. While you could see Aquamacs as a friendly fork, please consider this: Aquamacs uses the same code-base as GNU Emacs. As GNU Emacs evolves, so does Aquamacs. We keep our code-base synced by merging from the GNU Emacs development branch. Aquamacs contributes back to the GNU Emacs project. Selected changes that were developed for and within Aquamacs are being submitted back to the GNU Emacs project (e.g., bug reporting and mail sending functions, mailclient.el). Numerous bugs have been reported through the development of Aquamacs, and we have successfully lobbied for better support of many things relevant to Mac users and GNU/Linux users alike, for instance soft word wrapping. So, technically speaking, Aquamacs is a downstream project, developing a distribution of GNU Emacs.