The MH-E Developers Guide

This is Edition 2.1 of the MH-E Developers Guide, last updated 2016-01-17.

Copyright © 2000-2008, 2010-2014, 2016 Bill Wohler

The MH-E Developers Guide is free documentation; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3, or (at your option) any later version. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU General Public License.”

The MH-E Developers Guide is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Table of Contents

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1 Introduction

So you want to be an MH-E developer. This document describes the steps you need to take to get there. First, it captures the philosophy of the development team. There is then a section for each feature in the SourceForge site, where MH-E development is hosted. Finally, the nuts and bolts of creating a release is described.

In other words, this is the single sheet of music that all the MH-E developers are playing.

And remember, this is your document. If you think something is bogus, start a movement on the mailing list. One of the tenets of the philosophy is rough consensus. If you can get a rough consensus that agrees with your point of view, then the document shall be changed accordingly.

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2 Definitions

A project admin is the one who can effect changes at the SourceForge site, accept news items, tickets, and so on. The project admin is currently Bill Wohler <>.

A developer is one who is given the right to check in changes into the Git repositories and be assigned tickets. Users who do not have Git access contribute by submitting patches in a ticket (see Tickets).

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3 Prerequisites

There are a few minor prerequisites to get out of the way if you wish to contribute to the MH-E project. The first is to get an account at SourceForge, the second is to get an account at Savannah, the third is to get on the mh-e-devel mailing list, and the fourth is to get on the emacs-devel mailing list. The latter is optional for all except the project admin.

Developers should be familiar with the Emacs Lisp Manual as well as the Emacs Manual.

If you think that you want to become an MH-E developer, please contact the project admin1. Generally speaking, if you have contributed to the MH-E mailing lists and newsgroup over the years, you will be given Git privileges as soon as you have submitted your papers (see below). If you are new, the project admin may ask you to prove your mettle by contributing to the mailing list and submitting patches. Do submit your paperwork anyway, since the legal process will most likely take longer than it takes for us to get to know you.

You will need to sign papers with the Free Software Foundation to gain access to the Git repositories at SourceForge and at Savannah. The repositories at Savannah contain the MH-E source code, images, and documentation. The repository at SourceForge contains everything else such as the web pages and files for unit testing and releasing.

First, please read Information For Maintainers of GNU Software. The section, Legal Matters, in particular will help you understand the following step.

As stated above, you must first submit a assignment of copyright to the Free Software Foundation to gain access to the Git repositories. It would be best if you could fill out the request-assign.future form included below. I’ve entered Emacs rather than MH-E as the name of the package since that is recommended for Emacs developers (since MH-E developers are Emacs developers). Note that your answers will be incorporated into a longer, official form that will be mailed to you. This you will have to sign and return to the Free Software Foundation.

If you have any questions or would like to know whether you are already listed in copyright.list, please send a note to the project admin2.

Please email the following information to, and we
will send you the assignment form for your past and future changes.


[What is the name of the program or package you're contributing to?]

[Did you copy any files or text written by someone else in these changes?
Even if that material is free software, we need to know about it.]

[Do you have an employer who might have a basis to claim to own
your changes?  Do you attend a school which might make such a claim?]

[For the copyright registration, what country are you a citizen of?]

[What year were you born?]

[Please write your email address here.]

[Please write your snail address here.]

[Which files have you changed so far, and which new files have you written
so far?]

Once you have SourceForge and Savannah logins and the legal matters out of the way, you need to request MH-E and Emacs developer status. To gain MH-E developer status, send an email to the project admin3 with your SourceForge login. To gain Emacs developer status, go to the My Group Membership page, search for Emacs in the Request for Inclusion section, check the box next to Emacs, and mention that you’re a MH-E developer and that you’ve completed your papers in the comment box, and submit your request.

On a less serious note, there is a page with the pictures of the developers. Send the project admin4 a URL to your picture and a URL to your home page or whatever where you’d like folks to go if they clicked on your picture. Also send a fun "Job Title". Feel free to add your own picture (see Project Home Page).

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4 Philosophy

This chapter discusses the philosophy and principles of the MH-E project. The first section covers our coding philosophy, while the second section summarizes the principles of the team that have evolved over time.


The core philosophies of the MH-E project regarding the code are as follows:

  1. Keep the code small and fast
  2. Refrain from adding lots of code to the codebase that would be better served with hooks.
  3. In order to provide maximum compatibility with other MH interfaces and MH itself, MH-E should use MH itself as much as possible. MH-E is, after all, a interface to MH and therefore should not implement MH.
  4. MH-E should be easy to use out-of-the-box for new users.

That last priority struggles mightily with the other priorities. For example, the user could write his own hooks for many features. However, the average user is not going to do so. Indeed, the customization buffer may be too intimidating and providing radio buttons and checkboxes in the menu may be the way to go in some cases.

In a less contentious way, making MH-E easier to use may mean better integration with other software packages (such as tm or goto-addr). Or pre-written hook functions could be provided. We should get as much mileage out of customize as we can to reduce the amount of code that users have to write.

See Version Numbers.

Guiding Principles

The guiding principles of the MH-E developers are:

  1. While we all are scratching an itch on this project, we also have very few users and a great desire to have more. Our users are sacrosanct; we will go the extra distance to please our users.
  2. Using vulgar language towards our users and/or developers is unacceptable.
  3. The team makes decisions by consensus through articulated arguments. If one wants to express an opinion, they do it by presenting evidence to support their claim in a respectful way, and not by insulting others’ points of view. While it takes some time and effort to articulate the reasons behind one’s point of view, we enjoy the process and often gain a better understanding of the issues by the end.
  4. We are all committed to a high-quality product. We have no artificial deadlines, so if it takes an extra iteration or two to find the optimal solution to a problem, then we do it.
  5. We believe in collective ownership. We keep our egos in check and say "Thank you" to a colleague when he rewrites our code. He’ll thank you when you fix his.
  6. Finally, we’re here to have fun.

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5 Coding Conventions

The Emacs Lisp Tips and Conventions and the Information for Emacs Developers must be followed5. In addition, please observe the conventions described in this chapter.




Style Guide

Miscellaneous Tips and Conventions

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6 Git Repository

The version control system used by MH-E and Emacs is Git. The book Conversational Git provides a gentle introduction. This can be followed up by the Git book, Pro Git, for all of the gory details. The GitForEmacsDevs wiki page describes how the Emacs project uses Git.

The Git Repository at SourceForge provides git clone URLs and a view to the source code itself. You can check out the repository with this:

git clone ssh://$ mh-e

If you haven’t already done so, tell Git who you are.

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global "$"

There are several subdirectories or modules:


The contrib module contains generally useful software that does not belong in the main codebase. Each file should contain a feature, as well appropriate set-key and autoload or add-hook statements to allow users to incorporate these features with a minimum of configuration. Any customization must occur via the customize package.


The doc module contains the MH-E manual that is incorporated into Emacs and pushed to the online site at SourceForge.


The htdocs module contains the home page of the MH-E project at SourceForge, this document, and other internal documents that are not part of the MH-E distribution.


The src module contains files that are used to build and maintain MH-E as well as other files that are placed in MH-E releases. The Emacs Lisp source and images for MH-E are obtained separately from the Emacs repository.

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6.1 Emacs Git Repository

After checking out MH-E from SourceForge, you’ll have a src directory that is lacking .el files and images. These are stored in the Emacs repository at Savannah. You have several means of getting these files:

  1. Run make emacs-devel.

    This will make a clone of the Emacs repository that you can use to push back upstream. This target assumes that your current login is the same that you have on Savannah. If your login differs, override the USER variable as follows:

    USER=user make emacs-devel
  2. Run make emacs.

    This will make a clone of the Emacs repository, but you will not be able to push changes back upstream. This target does not require that you have a login on Savannah. This target is used if you just run make.

  3. Link to an existing Git Emacs tree.

    If you already have Git Emacs, link src/emacs to it. This makes it easier to check your changes against multiple versions of Emacs6. Assuming Emacs and MH-E are at the same level:

    cd src
    ln -s ../../emacs/

We may have created an mh-e branch so that we can continue developing in the rare case that there is a freeze in the Emacs master branch. To obtain this branch, use:

cd src/emacs
git checkout mh-e

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6.2 Checking in Files

The process for checking in files is simple as we try to keep things as frictionless as possible:

  1. Create an entry in the ChangeLog (see ChangeLogs).
  2. Check in file, using the ChangeLog entry as the log message (see Log Messages).

When the file is checked in, a report is generated and mailed to Developers are encouraged to review the attached diff for correctness, and to become familiar with more of the MH-E code.

At the moment, this report is not generated. Until it is, please consider sending a quick diff before or after your check-in to manually. The diff can be generated with git diff before the fact or git show after the fact. I’d suggest a simple Subject such as:

Subject: git: SF #NNNNN: Description

One should consider backing out or correcting a patch if only one person complains and their complaint rings true. But the hard and fast rule is that if 1/3 of the developers (rounding up) protest the check-in, then the update needs to be remedied to the developers’ satisfaction or backed out. Otherwise, it is assumed that the consensus thinks that the patch is a good thing.

If developers are unsure about a particular update, they are encouraged to post a patch for review before checking in the file.

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6.3 ChangeLogs

Emacs no longer requires a ChangeLog file; however, they are still useful for drafting commit messages. In MH-E, touch a ChangeLog file in the top level of the MH-E development environment or the Emacs source code so that C-x 4 a (add-change-log-entry-other-window) will insert appropriate text with relative paths for you (even from a diff!). This file has been added to .gitignore, which will prevent it from being checked in with git commit -a.

Here are example ChangeLog entries:

2006-07-03  Bill Wohler  <>
	Release MH-E version 8.0.2.

	* src/README: Update for release 8.0.2.

2006-06-15  Bill Wohler  <>

	* lisp/mh-e/mh-search.el (mh-index-new-folder): Use -2 suffix
	instead of <2> suffix for folder names, as <> are illegal
	filename characters on Windows (SF#1507002).

The first bullet shows the text that should be used when making a release.

As usual, the string in parenthesis indicates the documentation section, Makefile variable or target, or program function or variable.

Multiple targets with the same text may appear in the same entry.

For consistency, phrase the issue number as follows (see Updating MH-E-NEWS):






The Emacs manual has full documentation on the ChangeLog commands.

For more information regarding the style of the ChangeLog entries, please see the GNU Coding Standards and the Information for Emacs Developers.

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6.4 Log Messages

The conventions for checking files into the Emacs repository are as follows:

It is not necessary to add release information since that information will be encoded in the tags.

At worst, setting the log information will be a cut and paste operation. At best, it will be a keystroke or two.

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7 Hints for Developers

If you’re editing, for example, mh-e/src/emacs/lisp/mh-e/mh-e.el, and wish to compile MH-E from within Emacs with mh-e/src/Makefile, use:

M-x compile RET (cd ../../../..; make) RET

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8 Mailing Lists

The MH-E project supports three mailing lists:,, and None of the lists are included in any other, so MH-E developers should subscribe to all of them. is for general discussion between users and developers. Developers discussing ways to implement bug fixes or features should probably keep the discussion on to stimulate feedback from the user community. is used by MH-E developers to announce Git check-ins and discuss SourceForge issues that would not be of interest to subscribers. is used to announce new releases of MH-E. Other news items pertinent to MH-E may be posted there as well.

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9 Tickets

Bug reports, feature requests, and patches, as well as discussions about bugs or new features are all collected in Tickets.

Developers should follow the bug-gnu-emacs mailing lists/newsgroup and move issues into Tickets if it has not been done already. Similarly, MH-E issues reported in other systems should be transferred to SourceForge. The issue may be cut and pasted into a new ticket, or a URL to the source of the original ticket may be all that appears in the ticket.

Legally speaking, patches that are less than 15 lines can usually be incorporated, although it is always best to try to incorporate them in a “clean room” environment. Do read Legally Significant Changes for the details.

Tickets can also be used to get the ball rolling among developers. They are used to register what we feel we should work on. For example, a developer may have questions about the way MH-E handles MIME that we should discuss before we attempt to fix it: What do other people do? How should we attack this? That developer opens a ticket with a mime label and a discussion ensues.

A brief life cycle of a ticket proceeds something like this. A ticket is entered. Depending on the nature of the ticket, developers comment on the feature request or patch’s usefulness and integrity, or try to reproduce the reported bug. A developer changes the status from unread to open, adds any labels as necessary, and updates the priority as appropriate. See Status for other ways to disposition the ticket.

Next, if you see an open ticket that you think you could handle, assign the ticket to yourself. The project admin (wohler) reserves the right to assign tickets to others.

If you fix a ticket, set the status to closed-fixed and set the milestone to the next release. Please also assign the ticket to yourself if you have not done so already, so you get credit in the reports. If a documentation change is required, add a documentation label, leave the status open, and assign the ticket to the documentation czar (wohler). See Releases for a motivation of why this process is useful.

Also, please include the output of git log -1 commit for all related commits into the the issue tracker comment section when resolving issues.

The rest of the chapter describes the statuses and labels that have been set up for the MH-E project.

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9.1 Status

The Status field controls the workflow of the ticket. Put simply, the MH-E workflow is:

unread --> open --> closed-*

When tickets are initially created, they are marked unread.


The open status means that a developer was able to reproduce the problem, or felt that a feature request or patch has merit. Developers should add a comment describing their findings.


When all aspects of a ticket have been fixed, including code and documentation, the ticket is marked closed-fixed.


The closed-invalid status is used to indicate that the code is working as advertised. In other words, this is not an issue. Adding a note to clear up the confusion for the user is desirable when closing. Contrast with closed-works-for-me.


The closed-works-for-me group is used to indicate a ticket that cannot be reproduced and therefore cannot be fixed. Contrast with closed-invalid.


The closed-wont-fix status means that a developer acknowledges that the issue exists but is not going to fix it. There is probably a good reason for it. The closed-invalid or closed-works-for-me states are preferred.


The closed-duplicate status means that this ticket is a duplicate of another. Be sure to add a note which mentions the ticket number that this ticket is a duplicate of. If this ticket has some good information in it, add a back reference to the duplicate ticket.

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9.2 Labels

Labels can be created on the fly. Several labels are in general use by the MH-E project. They include contrib, documentation, mime, patch, security, support, and ui.


The contrib label is used for all tickets in the contributed software.


The documentation label is used for tickets in the documentation arena. In addition, if there are any code changes made as a result of a ticket that require changes to the manual, the documentation label should be added. Don’t close a ticket that carries a documentation label; instead, after the issue has been fixed or implemented, assign the ticket to the documentation czar (wohler). The documentation czar will close the ticket when the manual has been updated.


The mime label is used for tickets that pertain to MIME.


The patch label is added to tickets that include patches.


The security label is used for tickets in the security arena. At present, MH-E does not include any security code, so this label might be used for PGP interaction.


The support label is added to tickets that contain questions. Developers are encouraged to field any questions that they can answer. After answering a question, set the status to closed-fixed.

Using a search query of labels:support creates a MH-E FAQ.


The ui label is used for tickets that describe items the user sees such as font-lock, key definitions, menus, and customization.

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9.3 Milestone

The Milestone field contains the name of the target release for the ticket. Initially, a ticket is Unassigned. The milestone is updated if you resolve a ticket or the ticket is assigned to a future release. See Release Schedule for additional details on how this field is used.

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10 Releases

This section contains information about how the MH-E project releases software. In additional to making tarballs available, the software and documentation must be incorporated into Emacs and the online documentation must be updated.

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10.1 Release Schedule

One of the goals of the release process is to keep iterations short so that the timeliness and quality of releases is increased from the user’s point of view. For the developer’s sanity, it should be clear when we’re done by limiting the scope of the release and avoiding the addition of new features late in the cycle.

Here’s a suggestion for an iteration cycle when development is moving quickly.

A new milestone is created (see Version Numbers). Each developer goes through the tickets and chooses a month’s worth of work for him to do. For each selected item, he sets the milestone to the new milestone and assigns the task to himself.

The first month should be full of fervent activity. Development should slow down in the second month while the new features are fine-tuned. The third month is devoted to the release itself (see table below). This process should result in quarterly releases.

It is acceptable and often desirable to shorten each step in this cycle in order to keep the number of items in the release notes below 7 +/- 2, but in order to keep the releases fresh, it’s probably not a good idea to lengthen the process.

If a new ticket arises that a developer wants to work on, the developer sets the milestone of that ticket and resets the milestone of one of his other tickets back to Unassigned. This keeps the release from growing without bound.

The following table shows a formal schedule for a release. This is used in major releases or when it seems necessary. Many releases are of the “release early, release often” variety. When development is proceeding slowly, releases might occur after a ticket has been resolved without going through freezes and beta releases.

If the circumstances warrant, post the milestones (not to be confused with the ticket’s milestone) leading up to that release as a news item (see News).

T-3 monthsDevelopment
T-2 monthsRefinementNew features are fine-tuned.
T-4 weeksSoft FreezeAll P7 and higher features must be committed. P6 features should be committed. Any other new features destined for the release must be committed no later than this time. However, note that it is advisable not to release new user-visible features this late in the game. It is better to add new features at the beginning of a release cycle to allow for suitable usability testing. Testing commences.
T-3 weeksHard FreezeAll P7 and higher tickets must be resolved. P6 tickets should be resolved. Testing continues.
T-2 weeksBeta 1Cut beta release. Upload to SourceForge.
T-1 weeksBeta 2Cut beta release. Upload to SourceForge.
T-0 weeksRelease!Cut release. Upload to SourceForge.

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10.2 Coordinating with Emacs Releases

The MH-E software in Emacs can get out of sync with the last MH-E release. For example, let’s say MH-E 8.3 gets released. Later, Emacs developers make some changes to MH-E. The MH-E version in Emacs is still labeled as 8.3, but it doesn’t contain the same software as in the released version of MH-E. Therefore, it is a good idea to make a MH-E release at regular intervals to synchronize the latest MH-E release with Git Emacs.

Experience has shown that releasing near or in an Emacs freeze is not a good idea since changes will surely happen before the Emacs release. To guarantee that the releases are coordinated, perform all of the steps up to and including Merging mh-e Branch. Then, after Emacs is released, continue the MH-E release.

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10.3 Version Numbers

Normal releases that include resolved tickets are minor releases. For minor releases, incompatible changes may not be made.

In some cases, there is a bug that needs to be fixed and released quickly and requires no change in MH-E-NEWS. In these cases, a patch release that includes only that fix is used.

Major releases signal to the user that the new version may not work as it did before and that reading of the release notes is mandatory. Major releases occur when incompatible changes are made that are visible to the user. Types of changes include changing the name of or deleting functions, key bindings, and customization variables. The converse is true; these sorts of changes should not be applied to minor releases.

By itself, merely adding a new feature does not justify a major release. On the other hand, a major release is called for if the code is completely rewritten, even if the user cannot notice any difference.

Beta releases bump the patch or minor number of the previous version to 90 for a planned minor or major release respectively.

For example, if 5.0 or 5.0.2 was the last release of MH-E and 5.1 is planned as the next release, then the beta is numbered 5.0.90. Subsequent betas would be numbered 5.0.91, 5.0.92 and so on. If, instead, 6.0 is planned as the next release, then the beta is numbered 5.90 and subsequent betas would be numbered 5.91, 5.92 and so on.

Alpha releases bump the patch or minor number to 80.

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10.4 Release Prerequisites

The first thing to do is to update the local SourceForge repository:

cd src
git pull --ff-only

If the pull fails due to local commits, use:

git rebase --preserve-merges

The next thing to do is to merge the master branch into the mh-e branch (if is being used).

cd src/emacs
git checkout master
git pull --ff-only

If the pull fails due to local commits, use:

git rebase --preserve-merges

Complete the merge with:

git checkout mh-e
git merge

Next, recompile:

cd src/emacs
cd lisp
make autoloads

Then check the code for coding convention compliance as described in Coding Conventions. Some of this is automated by running test-mh-e and checking for compilation errors and warnings. You will be prompted to run M-x mh-unit in the most recent version of Emacs.

Next, go to Tickets and search for all tickets for the current milestone whose status is open, and labels is documentation. For example:

milestone:mh-e-8.5 AND labels:documentation AND status:open

If these searches reveal any undocumented features, document them, close the ticket, and reassign the ticket to the author before proceeding.

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10.5 Updating MH-E-NEWS

When the src module is released (see Git Repository), the file src/emacs/etc/MH-E-NEWS needs to be updated. Separate the old news with the new with a C-l (unless both the new and old news are only a paragraph long).

Create a top-level item such as Changes in MH-E 8.6. Add an introductory paragraph that briefly describes the benefit of the release or otherwise entices the reader to read further.

Follow the existing format for documenting user-visible changes only including New Features, New Variables, and Bug Fixes. List SourceForge issues as (SF#123456), as well as third-party issues such as (Bug#123456, Debian#123456).

In order to find what is appropriate for MH-E-NEWS, several things can be done.

  1. Go to Tickets, select the current milestone from the list in the left-hand column, and list the closed tickets.
  2. Run the release-utils --variable-changes previous-tag to produce a list of new and deleted variables suitable for inclusion in MH-E-NEWS.
  3. Run C-h m in MH Folder and MH Letter modes in both the new and old versions to show the key binding changes.
  4. View the log with:
    git log previous-tag^..HEAD

    Search for SF# in the log to get a list of SF numbers.

The previous steps usually catch most items. To use a finer sieve, use the following command:

git diff previous-tag^

See Committing Release Files before checking in this file.

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10.6 Updating NEWS

Update etc/NEWS by adding text similar to the following:

* Changes in Specialized Modes and Packages in Emacs 24.4

** MH-E has been updated to version 8.5 - see separate MH-E-NEWS file.

It’s possible that the update occurs before Emacs had been released with a previous version of MH-E; in this case, simply bump the version number in the text above rather than add an entire new stanza.

See Committing Release Files before checking in this file.

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10.7 Updating README

Ensure that the target Emacs version is correct, as well as the supported Emacs versions.

Update the version number in various places in the INSTALL section.

If the manual was updated and will be released as well, update its README similarly.

See Committing Release Files before checking in this file.

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10.8 Updating mh-e.el

Update the variable mh-version and the version in the Version header field in src/emacs/lisp/mh-e/mh-e.el.

See Committing Release Files before checking in this file.

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10.9 Committing Release Files

When releasing MH-E, use the following commit messages when checking in README, src/emacs/etc/MH-E-NEWS and src/emacs/etc/NEWS, and src/emacs/lisp/mh-e/mh-e.el (see Updating MH-E-NEWS, Updating NEWS, Updating README, and Updating mh-e.el):

Release MH-E version 6.0.

* README: Update for release 6.0.
Release MH-E version 6.0.

* NEWS, MH-E-NEWS: Update for MH-E release 6.0.
* mh-e.el (Version, mh-version): Update for release 6.0.

If the doc module is being released as well, two additional commit messages are needed. Here are sample entries for them.

Release MH-E manual version 8.0.1.

* README: Update for release 8.0.1.
Release MH-E manual version 8.0.1.

release 8.0.1.

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10.10 Merging mh-e Branch

Before tagging the release, ensure that all changes made in any feature branches, such as the mh-e branch if it is being used (see Emacs Git Repository), have been merged into master.

cd src/emacs
git checkout mh-e
git pull --ff-only

If the pull fails due to local commits, use:

git rebase --preserve-merges

Continue with:

git checkout master
git pull --ff-only

If the pull fails due to local commits, use:

git rebase --preserve-merges

Complete the merge with:

git merge mh-e

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10.11 Tagging Releases

It is critical that a snapshot of the software is created each time the software is released. In Git, this is performed with tags.

Tag names should have the form identifier-M.N.P where M is the major number, N is the minor number, and P is the patch number. The P portion is optional.

Since the modules will most likely have different release schedules, each module will have different identifiers and version numbers in the tags. The identifiers used include:


Here is an example that shows recent releases of each module. For the src and doc modules, we want to tag both the SourceForge repository as well as the repository at Savannah. To ensure that this is done correctly, make is used. However, for the contrib module, we do these things manually.

make TAG=mh-e-8.0 tag
make TAG=mh-e-doc-8.0 tag
git tag -a -m"Release MH-E contrib version 1.0" mh-e-contrib-1.0
git push --tags

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10.12 Creating Tarballs

The modules in the Git Repository map to the distribution tarballs as follows:


The tarballs listed in the table above are built by running make dist in each module. For example:

make TAG=mh-e-5.2 dist

The dist target ensures that the given tag exists, and that there aren’t any uncommitted changes in the workspace. It then ensures that the tarball is named correctly and that tar extracts the archive into a subdirectory that has the same name as the tarball’s prefix. For example, if release was mh-e-5.2, then the tarball would be named mh-e-5.2.tgz and would extract into the directory named mh-e-5.2.

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10.13 Creating SourceForge Releases

Since the most recent download is featured on the project page, it is important when releasing other modules along with src, to create the src release last.

First, create the tarball (see Creating Tarballs), and place it in a temporary directory such as /tmp/mh-e.

Next, create the release notes. This is done by copying the README into the temporary directory and then inserting the appropriate release notes to it.

For the src module, use the appropriate section of the src/emacs/etc/MH-E-NEWS file for the release notes.

For the doc and contrib modules, first write a paragraph that summarizes the release, putting the most important things in the first sentence. Then, append the associated git log entries for the release notes. In the case of the doc module, merge the entries for doc and mh-e.texi.

Insert the release notes between the COPYRIGHT and INTRODUCTION sections of the README. Add a form feed (^L) between the release notes and the INTRODUCTION. Use the previous release as an example.

Then select the appropriate folder in the MH-E Files page for your release, press the Add Folder button, and enter your release (for example, 8.5). Click on the new folder named 8.5. Now press on the Add File button and add the tarball and README files (you can multiple select the files in the open file dialog) from your temporary directory.

For additional information, see the Release Files for Download (FRS) documentation.

If there were any beta releases leading up to this release, move them into the appropriate sub-directory of the OldFiles folder so that they won’t be visible to users. This is shown in the following example:

ssh -t $USER, create
ln -s /home/frs/project/m/mh/mh-e mh-e.files
mv mh-e.files/MH-E/8.2.90 mh-e.files/OldFiles/mh-e

The link only has to be made once; the .files suffix is used since you may want to make a .web link to /home/project-web/mh-e as well. For additional information about the SourceForge shell, including instructions on uploading your SSH key, see the Interactive Shell Service documentation.

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10.14 Announce the Release

Now that the release is ready for download, announce it as described in News.

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10.15 Updating the Debian Package

This task is the duty of Peter Galbraith <>. The steps are listed here since it may be useful to others to make an unofficial package of the Git tree.

To build a Debian package, you’ll need to have installed the Debian package build-essential as well as those listed in the Build-Depends-Indep: line of the file debian/control. Currently, there are the packages debhelper and texinfo. The package fakeroot is also used below and dpkg-dev-el is also useful.

apt-get install build-essential fakeroot debhelper texinfo dpkg-dev-el

Run the following commands from the top of the Git tree to clean up the tree of backup files and make a source tar file:

rm `find . -name "*~"`
debian/rules source

This will make a new file such as mh-e_7.0.orig.tar.gz. Unpack it in a working directory and step into its top directory. Edit the first line of the file debian/changelog to change the version number between parentheses to something appropriate (e.g. 7.0.+git-0), or add another entry to the changelog and edit the version number. If you installed the package dpkg-dev-el above, simply do C-c C-v to insert this block and C-c C-f to finalize the entry when done editing the version number.

You can then create a Debian package by running:

fakeroot debian/rules binary

This creates ../mh-e_7.0.+git-0_all.deb which can be installed using standard Debian package management:

dpkg -i ../mh-e_7.0.+git-0_all.deb

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10.16 Updating the XEmacs Package

This task is the duty of Mike Kupfer <>. The steps are listed here since it may be useful to others to make an unofficial package of the Git tree.

The rest of this section needs to be completed.

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10.17 Updating the Online Documentation

This task is the duty of Bill Wohler <>. Other developers may skip this section.

To install an updated version of the manual online at SourceForge, first ensure that you don’t have any local modifications in doc. Then run the following commands:

$ cd doc
$ make update-web-site

If it’s necessary, update the web pages that refer to the documentation. See Project Home Page. However, the links within will change rarely, if ever.

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10.18 Updating the Free Software Directory

Update the MH-E wiki page in the FSF Free Software Directory. See Free Software Directory.

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10.19 After the Release

After the release is complete, add the string +git to the version number. See Updating mh-e.el.

Then run git push to update upstream.

Edit the milestones and press the Edit button next to the current release. Change the status to Closed and press the Save button.

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11 News

Announcements about new releases are submitted at SourceForge and to

In all cases, use the following template for the subject:

MH-E m.n.p released
MH-E contributed software m.n.p released
MH-E manual m.n.p released

11.1 SourceForge News

The easiest thing to do is emulate the look and feel of previous news postings. The postings should be written using the following guidelines.

Include the release notes from src/emacs/etc/MH-E-NEWS into a scratch buffer. To avoid ugly wrapping, make every paragraph one line by setting the fill column to some very large number, and running fill-region.

The contrib and doc releases, which do not have release notes, should replace the MH-E-NEWS excerpt with the output of git log created earlier. See Creating SourceForge Releases.

Once your news posting is written and formatted, submit it.

11.2 The mh-e-announce mailing list

The announcement that is sent to the mailing list should begin with the text:

Project home page at:

followed by the release notes.

However, the announcement for contrib and doc releases, which lack release notes, should replace the MH-E-NEWS excerpt with the output of git log created earlier. See Creating SourceForge Releases.

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12 Project Home Page

The MH-E home page contains a brief overview of the MH-E project. This web space also includes other internal documents, such as this one.

To update these documents, check out the htdocs module (see Git Repository). The home page is the file index.php, while this document is in doc/devguide.texi. Make your changes and check them in.

To install your updates into the MH-E web space at SourceForge, first ensure that you don’t have any local modifications in htdocs. Then run the following commands:

$ cd htdocs
$ make update-web-site

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13 Free Software Directory

The FSF Free Software Directory contains a description of all of the free software, including MH-E. It is the responsibility of the project admin7 to keep the entry for MH-E up to date. It must be updated when there is a release of MH-E, or when a significant new feature has been added which should be advertised.

This entry is the master for the short and long descriptions of MH-E in various places including the SourceForge page, the MH-E home page, the Debian package, and the XEmacs package. These items should be updated each time the master entry is modified.

To update the entry, edit open the MH-E wiki page for editing and make any desired changes. For new releases, this includes the Version identifier, Version date, and Version download fields. Next, update the Last review date and Submitted date fields. If the documentation has been updated, update the Documentation note accordingly.

Finally, if any changes were made to the short or long descriptions, it is likely that the following will have to be updated: the SourceForge MH-E project description (see Editing the SourceForge Project Description), the top-level index.php file in the Project Home Page, the control file in the Debian package (see Updating the Debian Package), and the XEmacs package (see Updating the XEmacs Package).

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14 Miscellaneous Topics

This section contains a few additional items from the SourceForge project page that have been activated.

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14.1 Backups

This task is the duty of Bill Wohler <>. Other developers may skip this section.

The SourceForge tools (tickets, news, and wiki) can be exported in the Project Export page. Check the Check All checkbox and press the Export button. You’ll soon receive an email with an scp command to use to download a zip file of the exported data.

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14.2 Wiki

Had the wiki feature been available earlier, it’s possible that this document and other pages on the MH-E home page would be found there. Please feel free to start adding pages and allow our wiki to grow organically. The permissions have been opened up so that any SourceForge user can create and edit pages.

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Appendix A GNU General Public License

Version 3, 29 June 2007
Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this
license document, but changing it is not allowed.


The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works.

The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program—to make sure it remains free software for all its users. We, the Free Software Foundation, use the GNU General Public License for most of our software; it applies also to any other work released this way by its authors. You can apply it to your programs, too.

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.

To protect your rights, we need to prevent others from denying you these rights or asking you to surrender the rights. Therefore, you have certain responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

Developers that use the GNU GPL protect your rights with two steps: (1) assert copyright on the software, and (2) offer you this License giving you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify it.

For the developers’ and authors’ protection, the GPL clearly explains that there is no warranty for this free software. For both users’ and authors’ sake, the GPL requires that modified versions be marked as changed, so that their problems will not be attributed erroneously to authors of previous versions.

Some devices are designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so. This is fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users’ freedom to change the software. The systematic pattern of such abuse occurs in the area of products for individuals to use, which is precisely where it is most unacceptable. Therefore, we have designed this version of the GPL to prohibit the practice for those products. If such problems arise substantially in other domains, we stand ready to extend this provision to those domains in future versions of the GPL, as needed to protect the freedom of users.

Finally, every program is threatened constantly by software patents. States should not allow patents to restrict development and use of software on general-purpose computers, but in those that do, we wish to avoid the special danger that patents applied to a free program could make it effectively proprietary. To prevent this, the GPL assures that patents cannot be used to render the program non-free.

The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification follow.


  1. Definitions.

    “This License” refers to version 3 of the GNU General Public License.

    “Copyright” also means copyright-like laws that apply to other kinds of works, such as semiconductor masks.

    “The Program” refers to any copyrightable work licensed under this License. Each licensee is addressed as “you”. “Licensees” and “recipients” may be individuals or organizations.

    To “modify” a work means to copy from or adapt all or part of the work in a fashion requiring copyright permission, other than the making of an exact copy. The resulting work is called a “modified version” of the earlier work or a work “based on” the earlier work.

    A “covered work” means either the unmodified Program or a work based on the Program.

    To “propagate” a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law, except executing it on a computer or modifying a private copy. Propagation includes copying, distribution (with or without modification), making available to the public, and in some countries other activities as well.

    To “convey” a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or receive copies. Mere interaction with a user through a computer network, with no transfer of a copy, is not conveying.

    An interactive user interface displays “Appropriate Legal Notices” to the extent that it includes a convenient and prominently visible feature that (1) displays an appropriate copyright notice, and (2) tells the user that there is no warranty for the work (except to the extent that warranties are provided), that licensees may convey the work under this License, and how to view a copy of this License. If the interface presents a list of user commands or options, such as a menu, a prominent item in the list meets this criterion.

  2. Source Code.

    The “source code” for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. “Object code” means any non-source form of a work.

    A “Standard Interface” means an interface that either is an official standard defined by a recognized standards body, or, in the case of interfaces specified for a particular programming language, one that is widely used among developers working in that language.

    The “System Libraries” of an executable work include anything, other than the work as a whole, that (a) is included in the normal form of packaging a Major Component, but which is not part of that Major Component, and (b) serves only to enable use of the work with that Major Component, or to implement a Standard Interface for which an implementation is available to the public in source code form. A “Major Component”, in this context, means a major essential component (kernel, window system, and so on) of the specific operating system (if any) on which the executable work runs, or a compiler used to produce the work, or an object code interpreter used to run it.

    The “Corresponding Source” for a work in object code form means all the source code needed to generate, install, and (for an executable work) run the object code and to modify the work, including scripts to control those activities. However, it does not include the work’s System Libraries, or general-purpose tools or generally available free programs which are used unmodified in performing those activities but which are not part of the work. For example, Corresponding Source includes interface definition files associated with source files for the work, and the source code for shared libraries and dynamically linked subprograms that the work is specifically designed to require, such as by intimate data communication or control flow between those subprograms and other parts of the work.

    The Corresponding Source need not include anything that users can regenerate automatically from other parts of the Corresponding Source.

    The Corresponding Source for a work in source code form is that same work.

  3. Basic Permissions.

    All rights granted under this License are granted for the term of copyright on the Program, and are irrevocable provided the stated conditions are met. This License explicitly affirms your unlimited permission to run the unmodified Program. The output from running a covered work is covered by this License only if the output, given its content, constitutes a covered work. This License acknowledges your rights of fair use or other equivalent, as provided by copyright law.

    You may make, run and propagate covered works that you do not convey, without conditions so long as your license otherwise remains in force. You may convey covered works to others for the sole purpose of having them make modifications exclusively for you, or provide you with facilities for running those works, provided that you comply with the terms of this License in conveying all material for which you do not control copyright. Those thus making or running the covered works for you must do so exclusively on your behalf, under your direction and control, on terms that prohibit them from making any copies of your copyrighted material outside their relationship with you.

    Conveying under any other circumstances is permitted solely under the conditions stated below. Sublicensing is not allowed; section 10 makes it unnecessary.

  4. Protecting Users’ Legal Rights From Anti-Circumvention Law.

    No covered work shall be deemed part of an effective technological measure under any applicable law fulfilling obligations under article 11 of the WIPO copyright treaty adopted on 20 December 1996, or similar laws prohibiting or restricting circumvention of such measures.

    When you convey a covered work, you waive any legal power to forbid circumvention of technological measures to the extent such circumvention is effected by exercising rights under this License with respect to the covered work, and you disclaim any intention to limit operation or modification of the work as a means of enforcing, against the work’s users, your or third parties’ legal rights to forbid circumvention of technological measures.

  5. Conveying Verbatim Copies.

    You may convey verbatim copies of the Program’s source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice; keep intact all notices stating that this License and any non-permissive terms added in accord with section 7 apply to the code; keep intact all notices of the absence of any warranty; and give all recipients a copy of this License along with the Program.

    You may charge any price or no price for each copy that you convey, and you may offer support or warranty protection for a fee.

  6. Conveying Modified Source Versions.

    You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    1. The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and giving a relevant date.
    2. The work must carry prominent notices stating that it is released under this License and any conditions added under section 7. This requirement modifies the requirement in section 4 to “keep intact all notices”.
    3. You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged. This License gives no permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.
    4. If the work has interactive user interfaces, each must display Appropriate Legal Notices; however, if the Program has interactive interfaces that do not display Appropriate Legal Notices, your work need not make them do so.

    A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an “aggregate” if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation’s users beyond what the individual works permit. Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does not cause this License to apply to the other parts of the aggregate.

  7. Conveying Non-Source Forms.

    You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these ways:

    1. Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by the Corresponding Source fixed on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange.
    2. Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.
    3. Convey individual copies of the object code with a copy of the written offer to provide the Corresponding Source. This alternative is allowed only occasionally and noncommercially, and only if you received the object code with such an offer, in accord with subsection 6b.
    4. Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. You need not require recipients to copy the Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to copy the object code is a network server, the Corresponding Source may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party) that supports equivalent copying facilities, provided you maintain clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the Corresponding Source. Regardless of what server hosts the Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements.
    5. Convey the object code using peer-to-peer transmission, provided you inform other peers where the object code and Corresponding Source of the work are being offered to the general public at no charge under subsection 6d.

    A separable portion of the object code, whose source code is excluded from the Corresponding Source as a System Library, need not be included in conveying the object code work.

    A “User Product” is either (1) a “consumer product”, which means any tangible personal property which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes, or (2) anything designed or sold for incorporation into a dwelling. In determining whether a product is a consumer product, doubtful cases shall be resolved in favor of coverage. For a particular product received by a particular user, “normally used” refers to a typical or common use of that class of product, regardless of the status of the particular user or of the way in which the particular user actually uses, or expects or is expected to use, the product. A product is a consumer product regardless of whether the product has substantial commercial, industrial or non-consumer uses, unless such uses represent the only significant mode of use of the product.

    “Installation Information” for a User Product means any methods, procedures, authorization keys, or other information required to install and execute modified versions of a covered work in that User Product from a modified version of its Corresponding Source. The information must suffice to ensure that the continued functioning of the modified object code is in no case prevented or interfered with solely because modification has been made.

    If you convey an object code work under this section in, or with, or specifically for use in, a User Product, and the conveying occurs as part of a transaction in which the right of possession and use of the User Product is transferred to the recipient in perpetuity or for a fixed term (regardless of how the transaction is characterized), the Corresponding Source conveyed under this section must be accompanied by the Installation Information. But this requirement does not apply if neither you nor any third party retains the ability to install modified object code on the User Product (for example, the work has been installed in ROM).

    The requirement to provide Installation Information does not include a requirement to continue to provide support service, warranty, or updates for a work that has been modified or installed by the recipient, or for the User Product in which it has been modified or installed. Access to a network may be denied when the modification itself materially and adversely affects the operation of the network or violates the rules and protocols for communication across the network.

    Corresponding Source conveyed, and Installation Information provided, in accord with this section must be in a format that is publicly documented (and with an implementation available to the public in source code form), and must require no special password or key for unpacking, reading or copying.

  8. Additional Terms.

    “Additional permissions” are terms that supplement the terms of this License by making exceptions from one or more of its conditions. Additional permissions that are applicable to the entire Program shall be treated as though they were included in this License, to the extent that they are valid under applicable law. If additional permissions apply only to part of the Program, that part may be used separately under those permissions, but the entire Program remains governed by this License without regard to the additional permissions.

    When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of it. (Additional permissions may be written to require their own removal in certain cases when you modify the work.) You may place additional permissions on material, added by you to a covered work, for which you have or can give appropriate copyright permission.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, for material you add to a covered work, you may (if authorized by the copyright holders of that material) supplement the terms of this License with terms:

    1. Disclaiming warranty or limiting liability differently from the terms of sections 15 and 16 of this License; or
    2. Requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material or in the Appropriate Legal Notices displayed by works containing it; or
    3. Prohibiting misrepresentation of the origin of that material, or requiring that modified versions of such material be marked in reasonable ways as different from the original version; or
    4. Limiting the use for publicity purposes of names of licensors or authors of the material; or
    5. Declining to grant rights under trademark law for use of some trade names, trademarks, or service marks; or
    6. Requiring indemnification of licensors and authors of that material by anyone who conveys the material (or modified versions of it) with contractual assumptions of liability to the recipient, for any liability that these contractual assumptions directly impose on those licensors and authors.

    All other non-permissive additional terms are considered “further restrictions” within the meaning of section 10. If the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term. If a license document contains a further restriction but permits relicensing or conveying under this License, you may add to a covered work material governed by the terms of that license document, provided that the further restriction does not survive such relicensing or conveying.

    If you add terms to a covered work in accord with this section, you must place, in the relevant source files, a statement of the additional terms that apply to those files, or a notice indicating where to find the applicable terms.

    Additional terms, permissive or non-permissive, may be stated in the form of a separately written license, or stated as exceptions; the above requirements apply either way.

  9. Termination.

    You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to propagate or modify it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License (including any patent licenses granted under the third paragraph of section 11).

    However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

    Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.

    Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received copies or rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated, you do not qualify to receive new licenses for the same material under section 10.

  10. Acceptance Not Required for Having Copies.

    You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program. Ancillary propagation of a covered work occurring solely as a consequence of using peer-to-peer transmission to receive a copy likewise does not require acceptance. However, nothing other than this License grants you permission to propagate or modify any covered work. These actions infringe copyright if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or propagating a covered work, you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so.

  11. Automatic Licensing of Downstream Recipients.

    Each time you convey a covered work, the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensors, to run, modify and propagate that work, subject to this License. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties with this License.

    An “entity transaction” is a transaction transferring control of an organization, or substantially all assets of one, or subdividing an organization, or merging organizations. If propagation of a covered work results from an entity transaction, each party to that transaction who receives a copy of the work also receives whatever licenses to the work the party’s predecessor in interest had or could give under the previous paragraph, plus a right to possession of the Corresponding Source of the work from the predecessor in interest, if the predecessor has it or can get it with reasonable efforts.

    You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. For example, you may not impose a license fee, royalty, or other charge for exercise of rights granted under this License, and you may not initiate litigation (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that any patent claim is infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the Program or any portion of it.

  12. Patents.

    A “contributor” is a copyright holder who authorizes use under this License of the Program or a work on which the Program is based. The work thus licensed is called the contributor’s “contributor version”.

    A contributor’s “essential patent claims” are all patent claims owned or controlled by the contributor, whether already acquired or hereafter acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this License, of making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further modification of the contributor version. For purposes of this definition, “control” includes the right to grant patent sublicenses in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License.

    Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor’s essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version.

    In the following three paragraphs, a “patent license” is any express agreement or commitment, however denominated, not to enforce a patent (such as an express permission to practice a patent or covenant not to sue for patent infringement). To “grant” such a patent license to a party means to make such an agreement or commitment not to enforce a patent against the party.

    If you convey a covered work, knowingly relying on a patent license, and the Corresponding Source of the work is not available for anyone to copy, free of charge and under the terms of this License, through a publicly available network server or other readily accessible means, then you must either (1) cause the Corresponding Source to be so available, or (2) arrange to deprive yourself of the benefit of the patent license for this particular work, or (3) arrange, in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License, to extend the patent license to downstream recipients. “Knowingly relying” means you have actual knowledge that, but for the patent license, your conveying the covered work in a country, or your recipient’s use of the covered work in a country, would infringe one or more identifiable patents in that country that you have reason to believe are valid.

    If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.

    A patent license is “discriminatory” if it does not include within the scope of its coverage, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the non-exercise of one or more of the rights that are specifically granted under this License. You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a discriminatory patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you (or copies made from those copies), or (b) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent license was granted, prior to 28 March 2007.

    Nothing in this License shall be construed as excluding or limiting any implied license or other defenses to infringement that may otherwise be available to you under applicable patent law.

  13. No Surrender of Others’ Freedom.

    If conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot convey a covered work so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not convey it at all. For example, if you agree to terms that obligate you to collect a royalty for further conveying from those to whom you convey the Program, the only way you could satisfy both those terms and this License would be to refrain entirely from conveying the Program.

  14. Use with the GNU Affero General Public License.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have permission to link or combine any covered work with a work licensed under version 3 of the GNU Affero General Public License into a single combined work, and to convey the resulting work. The terms of this License will continue to apply to the part which is the covered work, but the special requirements of the GNU Affero General Public License, section 13, concerning interaction through a network will apply to the combination as such.

  15. Revised Versions of this License.

    The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the GNU General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.

    Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU General Public License “or any later version” applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that numbered version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of the GNU General Public License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

    If the Program specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of the GNU General Public License can be used, that proxy’s public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Program.

    Later license versions may give you additional or different permissions. However, no additional obligations are imposed on any author or copyright holder as a result of your choosing to follow a later version.

  16. Disclaimer of Warranty.


  17. Limitation of Liability.


  18. Interpretation of Sections 15 and 16.

    If the disclaimer of warranty and limitation of liability provided above cannot be given local legal effect according to their terms, reviewing courts shall apply local law that most closely approximates an absolute waiver of all civil liability in connection with the Program, unless a warranty or assumption of liability accompanies a copy of the Program in return for a fee.


How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs

If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.

To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively state the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least the “copyright” line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.
Copyright (C) year name of author

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at
your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program.  If not, see

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

If the program does terminal interaction, make it output a short notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:

program Copyright (C) year name of author
This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type ‘show w’.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; type ‘show c’ for details.

The hypothetical commands ‘show w’ and ‘show c’ should show the appropriate parts of the General Public License. Of course, your program’s commands might be different; for a GUI interface, you would use an “about box”.

You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or school, if any, to sign a “copyright disclaimer” for the program, if necessary. For more information on this, and how to apply and follow the GNU GPL, see

The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General Public License instead of this License. But first, please read

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Index Entry  Section

accounts, Savannah: Prerequisites
accounts, SourceForge: Prerequisites
After the Release: After the Release
Announce the Release: Announce the Release
assignment of copyright: Prerequisites

branches: Release Prerequisites
branches: Merging mh-e Branch
bug-gnu-emacs: Tickets
bugs: Tickets
bugs, discussing: Tickets

ChangeLog: ChangeLogs
ChangeLog: Log Messages
check-ins, protesting: Checkins
closed-duplicate status: Status
closed-fixed status: Status
closed-invalid status: Status
closed-wont-fix status: Status
closed-works-for-me status: Status
Coding Conventions: Coding Conventions
Coding Conventions: Release Prerequisites
Coding Standards: Coding Conventions
compiling MH-E: Hints for Developers
contrib: Git Repository
contrib label: Labels
contributed software: Git Repository
Conventions, coding: Coding Conventions
Conventions, verification: Coding Conventions
Conventions, verification: Release Prerequisites
copyright, assignment of: Prerequisites
Creating SourceForge Releases: Creating SourceForge Releases
Creating Tarballs: Creating Tarballs
customize: Philosophy
customize: Git Repository

Debian: ChangeLogs
Debian: Tickets
Debian: Updating MH-E-NEWS
Debian: Updating the Debian Package
Debian Package, Updating: Updating the Debian Package
Definitions: Definitions
developer: Definitions
developers guide: Git Repository
developers photos: Git Repository
developers, pictures: Prerequisites
Directory, FSF Free Software: Free Software Directory
discussing bugs: Tickets
discussing issues: Tickets
discussing tickets: Tickets
doc: Git Repository
documentation label: Labels
documentation, updating online: Updating the Online Documentation

Emacs: Git Repository
Emacs Lisp Coding Conventions: Release Prerequisites
Emacs Lisp Coding Standards: Coding Conventions
Emacs Lisp Manual: Prerequisites
Emacs manual: Prerequisites
Emacs, requesting Git repository access: Prerequisites
emacs-devel: Prerequisites
eval-when-compile: Coding Conventions

feature requests: Tickets
features, discussing: Tickets
Free Software Directory: Free Software Directory
FSF Free Software Directory: Free Software Directory

Git Repository: Git Repository
Git Repository: Creating Tarballs
Git repository, requesting access: Prerequisites
Git, clone: Git Repository
Git, config: Git Repository
Git, log messages: Checkins
Git, modules: Creating Tarballs
Git, tag: Tagging Releases
Git, tags: Creating Tarballs
GNU Coding Standards: Coding Conventions
goto-addr: Philosophy

Hints for Developers: Hints for Developers
home page: Git Repository
htdocs: Git Repository
htdocs: Project Home Page

Introduction: Introduction
issues, discussing: Tickets

labels: Labels
labels, contrib: Labels
labels, documentation: Labels
labels, mime: Labels
labels, patch: Labels
labels, security: Labels
labels, support: Labels
labels, ui: Labels
legal matters: Prerequisites
Library Headers: Coding Conventions
lisp-mnt: Coding Conventions
log messages: Checkins
log messages: Log Messages

Mailing Lists: Mailing Lists
mailing lists, emacs-devel: Prerequisites
mailing lists, mh-e-announce: Mailing Lists
mailing lists, mh-e-announce: News
mailing lists, mh-e-announce: News
mailing lists, mh-e-devel: Introduction
mailing lists, mh-e-devel: Definitions
mailing lists, mh-e-devel: Prerequisites
mailing lists, mh-e-devel: Prerequisites
mailing lists, mh-e-devel: Checkins
mailing lists, mh-e-devel: Mailing Lists
mailing lists, mh-e-users: Mailing Lists
mailman: Prerequisites
Makefile: Coding Conventions
Makefile targets, dist: Creating Tarballs
Makefile targets, tag: Tagging Releases
manual: Git Repository
manuals, Emacs: Prerequisites
manuals, Emacs Lisp: Prerequisites
master branch: Release Prerequisites
master branch: Merging mh-e Branch
merging: Release Prerequisites
merging: Merging mh-e Branch
mh-e branch: Release Prerequisites
mh-e branch: Merging mh-e Branch
MH-E home page: Git Repository
MH-E manual: Git Repository
MH-E web site: Git Repository
MH-E, requesting Git repository access: Prerequisites
mh-e-announce: Mailing Lists
mh-e-announce: News
mh-e-announce: News
mh-e-devel: Introduction
mh-e-devel: Definitions
mh-e-devel: Prerequisites
mh-e-devel: Prerequisites
mh-e-devel: Checkins
mh-e-devel: Mailing Lists
mh-e-users: Mailing Lists
milestone: Milestone
mime label: Labels
modules: Creating Tarballs
modules, contrib: Git Repository
modules, doc: Git Repository
modules, htdocs: Git Repository
modules, src: Git Repository

news: Updating MH-E-NEWS
NEWS: Updating NEWS
News: News

online documentation, updating: Updating the Online Documentation
open status: Status

packages, goto-addr: Philosophy
packages, tm: Philosophy
patch label: Labels
patches: Definitions
patches: Tickets
patches: Tickets
Philosophy: Philosophy
photos: Git Repository
pictures: Prerequisites
Prerequisites: Prerequisites
project admin: Definitions
Project Home Page: Project Home Page
protesting check-ins: Checkins

Release Prerequisites: Release Prerequisites
release-utils: Updating MH-E-NEWS
releases: Coding Conventions
Releases: Releases
releases: Creating SourceForge Releases
request-assign.future: Prerequisites

Savannah, accounts: Prerequisites
Savannah, requesting access: Prerequisites
security label: Labels
Software Directory: Free Software Directory
source: Git Repository
SourceForge: Introduction
SourceForge, accounts: Prerequisites
SourceForge, MH-E web space: Project Home Page
SourceForge, requesting access: Prerequisites
src: Git Repository
src: Updating MH-E-NEWS
Standards, coding: Coding Conventions
status: Status
status, closed-duplicate: Status
status, closed-fixed: Status
status, closed-invalid: Status
status, closed-wont-fix: Status
status, closed-works-for-me: Status
status, open: Status
status, unread: Status
support label: Labels

tags: Tagging Releases
tags: Creating Tarballs
tarballs, making: Creating Tarballs
tarballs, making: Creating SourceForge Releases
tarballs, naming: Creating Tarballs
tarballs, naming: Creating Tarballs
ticket labels: Labels
ticket status: Status
Tickets: Tickets
tickets: Tickets
tickets, discussing: Tickets
tm: Philosophy

ui label: Labels
unread status: Status
unreproducible resolution: Status
Updating the Debian Package: Updating the Debian Package
Updating the Online Documentation: Updating the Online Documentation
Updating the XEmacs Package: Updating the XEmacs Package

Verification, conventions: Coding Conventions
Verification, conventions: Release Prerequisites
version numbers: Tagging Releases
version numbers: Creating Tarballs

wiki: Wiki

XEmacs: Updating the XEmacs Package
XEmacs Package, Updating: Updating the XEmacs Package

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Bill Wohler <>


Bill Wohler <>


Bill Wohler <>


Bill Wohler <>


This project condones ignoring the misguided exception to using English sentences in the summary sentence in a commit message as well as the archaic two space following a period rule, so please exercise your own discretion in these cases.


You may need to take some steps to ensure that your load-path is correct in each context. For example, one way to do this is to add the following code to your .emacs:

(if (not (file-exists-p "/usr/local/src/mh-e/src/emacs/lisp/mh-e/IGNORE"))
    (add-to-list 'load-path "/usr/local/src/mh-e/src/emacs/lisp/mh-e"))

Then, to avoid using this particular version of MH-E, touch the file /usr/local/src/mh-e/src/emacs/lisp/mh-e/IGNORE.


Bill Wohler <>