emacs-plus: stats

Posted on April 24, 2022
Updated on July 20, 2022
Tagged as #emacs-plus

Over time Emacs Plus has grown into quite heavy homebrew formula supporting 4 Emacs versions (starting with Emacs 26), 13 compilation options and 53 icons. For a long time I was accepting new options, patches and icons. Now in the process of rethinking maintenance approach I decided to take a look at how people are using this formula. Luckily, brew provides public analytics even for taps, which is being sent by users unless they decide to disable it.

Of course, it’s not covering 100% of emacs-plus user base, but I still found it interesting and since I might change few things in emacs-plus based on this, I thought that other might be interested in it as well. Enjoy.


version 30 days 90 days 365 days
emacs-plus@29 559 1381 2256
emacs-plus@28 2344 2703 5764
emacs-plus@27 523 602 3737
emacs-plus@26 29 77 496

Since Emacs 28 was released recently™, there is little wonder that it’s being the most popular version among emacs-plus users. What interests me is that people are still using Emacs 26. Since it has zero footprint on maintenance, I am not going to remove older version, though I urge you to switch to latest version.


option (365 days) emacs-plus@27 emacs-plus@28 emacs-plus@29
–HEAD 919 0 0
–with-ctags 0 125 0
–with-dbus 0 72 0
–with-imagemagick 0 308 279
–with-mailutils 0 147 84
–with-native-comp 0 4753 1213
–with-no-frame-refocus 0 364 93
–with-no-titlebar 317 811 77
–with-x11 63 0 0
–with-xwidgets 170 1816 481
–without-cocoa 32 41 0
–without-imagemagick 40 157 0

Interestingly, all available options are used, even if some are used rarely. And all of them require some analysis.

For example, --with-x11 and --without-cocoa are not straightforward from the formula point of view and they add some complexity. Since they are being rarely used, I might deprecate them in emacs-plus@29.

Other options, like --with-mailutils, --with-ctags and --with-dbus are straightforward and add no complexity, though they are rarely used. So I might provide a different way of enabling such options.

Obviously --with-native-comp and --with-xwidgets will stay with us, even though the last one is known source of troubles. This is the case where added value is bigger than maintenance burden.

You may notice that Emacs 26 is not mentioned in this table, but this is simply because of issue #195.


icon installs
modern-doom3 1563
nobu417-big-sur 1499
spacemacs 1401
elrumo2 682
modern-sexy-v2 304
modern-papirus 263
modern 179
modern-doom 168
modern-sexy-v1 145
modern-vscode 138
modern-cg433n 130
modern-black-variant 123
cacodemon 116
modern-purple-flat 109
elrumo1 93
modern-black-dragon 87
modern-paper 45
modern-sjrmanning 40
modern-nuvola 38
emacs-card-british-racing-green 38
retro-gnu-meditate-levitate 36
modern-alecive-flatwoken 36
modern-orange 34

Only 23 icons out of 53 are present here, and I am 100% sure some are missing from analytics, but it’s nice to know the top 3 icons used by our community.

In any case, I have simplified the process of maintaining available icons and I might also provide a way to (easily?) install emacs-plus with any icon, even those that are not part of emacs-plus repository. If that works, I will cleanup icons a little bit based on usage stats and my personal preferences.

So what are the plans?

First of all, I am not going to remove any option without informing you in all possible ways (message in the build log and issue/PR in emacs-plus repository, as I did with --with-no-titlebar option here and here). If you find out that I am going to remove an option that you are using - just let me know, either via email or GitHub issues! emacs-plus still exists only because of its user base. And I want to support your needs to possible extent.

Secondly, I am thinking about providing a wrapper to install emacs-plus with stuff not support by this formula. Nothing fancy, just simple options like --with-dbus and local icons. Unfortunately, brew seems not powerful enough for this task, so I will have to investigate that a bit.

No ETA, as always, but stay tuned. Safe travels!