GNU Emacs Removes Color Emoji Support on the Mac

By Xah Lee. Date: .

The following is written By Sebastian Wiesner (aka lunaryorn) on 2016-11-21, originally hosted at [] The link is dead as of 2019-03-24.

Bye Bye Emojis: Emacs Hates MacOS

Two years ago Emacs 24.4 dramatically improved support for MacOS (which was still OS X back then) with a new Core Text based font rendering engine. Among better and more consistent rendering this change—with the right fontset configuration—enabled colored emoji. Not the most important feature, but nice to have and doing no harm either.

In Emacs 25.1 it is gone. What I initially thought was a mistake in my configuration turned out to be a NEWS entry [[2019-03-24 ]] (emphasis mine):

On the OS X Cocoa (“Nextstep”) port, multicolor font (such as color emoji) display is disabled. […] This will be enabled again once it is also implemented in Emacs on free operating systems. […]

Let's sink this in: The Emacs developers deliberately disabled a feature that was working perfectly fine for MacOS users just because it is not available for free systems †1. What a daft decision.

In the FSF's little ivory tower of free software happiness this decision surely makes sense, but as a user, as a maintainer of a popular Emacs package that tries to deliver a great user interface, I feel like I'm being given the finger. It is a clear message that no matter what we contribute †2 as MacOS users we will always be second-class citizen in Emacs land †3.

We are not welcome, and never will be.

Last updated at Nov 22, 2016 • Originally written on Nov 21, 2016 • By Sebastian Wiesner

on hackernews

Here's what emacs lead John Wiegley has to say:

emacs dev john wiegley 2015-10-01 kj3gw
emacs lead John Wiegley 2015-10-01
john wiegley emacs macos emoji 2016-11-21 tz5fd
john wiegley emacs macos emoji 2016-11-21 [source [ accessed: 2019-03-24]]

How to Display Emoji on MacOS

2022-01-22 Note: this seems fixed on MacOS's emacs distro as of 2022-01-22

emacs on macOS unicode 2017 09 22 44951
Emacs on macOS does not do emoji by default, 2017-09-22

FSF GNU emacs disabled displaying color emoji on Mac, so that Mac won't work better than linux. See GNU Emacs Removes Color Emoji Support on the Mac


download font “symbola” at Download Free Unicode Fonts

put this in your Emacs Init File:

;; specify font for all unicode characters
(when (member "Symbola" (font-family-list))
  (set-fontset-font t 'unicode "Symbola" nil 'prepend))
emacs on macOS unicode fixed 2017 09 22 25437
Emacs on MacOS, displaying emoji using font Symbola, 2017-09-22

Emacs Controversy

The Emacs Cult

xah lee