My journey with an M1 and Emacs

TLDR; Things are coming together but just wait if you want to use this type of macbook in a Professional development capicity.

*Note: At the time of writing this, Docker was not supported and both Rust and Go would not compile on M1 and were in beta versions.

I had not upgraded my existing macbook in 8 years and Apple finally decided to cut me off from OS upgrades. So naturally, I grabbed an Apple M1 Macbook Air without thinking much. The first thing that I did was attempt to install Homebrew. Well that was a nightmare. There was not any good documentation on how to do it, so I am going to let you know how I got both systems up

So let’s get to work, the way for me to get around it without much diving in, was clone the repo into /opt/homebrew with one terminal running in M1 and a copy running in Rosetta, I installed Homebrew the usual way. I then added to my .zshrv the following lines:

rosetta=$(sysctl -n sysctl.proc_translated)

if [ $rosetta -eq 0 ];
    echo ">>> CPU_ARCH: m1"
    export PATH=/opt/homebrew/bin:$PATH
    echo ">>> CPU_ARCH: rosetta2"
    export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH

This allowed me to tell what kind of terminal that I was running in. Rosetta2 mostly works with a few hiccups with C so I have been attempting to use the M1 and edit brew files as I go. I next needed emacs (if you are a vim user, it works outside of the box) and I use d12frosted/emacs-plus. When attempting to install, I would run into an error compiling Rust.* I preceded to use emacs in Rosetta mode which lasted about 2 weeks before they patched emacs for ARM. This was great news but now blocked me from using Rosetta, because it knew I was on an ARM processor and jumping straight to using that patch. This was great news and bad news because Homebrew still didn’t support Rust. After doing some debugging, I figured out that librsvg was where the Rust dependency was being required from. I immediately changed this line in the formula from:

depends_on "librsvg"


depends_on "librsvg" => :recommended

This gave me emacs again! Yay, I could code like I am normally do. Everything installed with Straight and started writing this. After posting a PR for my patch and a day later, homebrew updated patches for Rust and Go on Christmas. So the moral of this Christmas tale is that I guess I should have been more patient but now I am just happy to have emacs working on the M1 and not using Rosetta as it is a far better and smoother experience.

If patience was one of my virtues, I wouldn’t be a developer. 😆