I determined that I needed to upgrade emacs since I was using an out-of-date version. I downloaded the latest (fully precompiled win32 binary) gnu emacs (which was version 21.3). However, my severely hacked .emacs configuration file didn’t seem to play nice with the new version. Many of the extensions I added via my .emacs file were now included within the base installation and were no longer needed.

Therefore, it was time to prune the .emacs beast I created. However, I couldn’t seem to find documentation to get tramp / plink remote editing magic to work within the new version. I spent some time looking back at the items I blogged for earlier versions of emacs and realized that I didn’t really want to go down that road. I know at the end of that road I would feel like an enlightened emacs guru, however the magic happens here documentation and tedium of working out a solution didn’t appeal to me.

I found from reading some documentation that XEmacs included Tramp out of the box. I used the XEmacs setup executable to download and install all the listed packages. Then I dropped the plink.exe into the C:\Program Files\XEmacs\XEmacs-21.4.13\i586-pc-win32 folder (since I was planning on using plink instead of ssh inside Cygwin). I opened XEmacs, hit ctrl-x and ctrl-f, and typed /[plink/user@host]/home/user/file … and it worked perfectly! (I plan to do a little .emacs configuring to set the default connection type to plink to simplify things.) However, I am very happy that XEmacs was so easy to use out of the box. Great job!