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If you are working remotely, TRAMP is a tool that makes it easy to edit remote files from the comfort of your home or anywhere else.

What is TRAMP

TRAMP is an emacs plugin that enables remote file i/o over ssh. Note that GUI wrappers of emacs such as XEmacs or Aquamacs can also make use of TRAMP. It stands for `Transparent Remote (file) Access, Multiple Protocol.'

Where to get it

Download the most recent tar.gz from GNU FTP

Note [1]: GNU Emacs (22 or later) includes tramp already, and there is a tramp package for XEmacs, as well. So maybe it is easier to just use those.

Installation and Configuration

Paraphrasing the directions here:

  1. Download and install emacs if you haven't already.
  2. Download the most recent TRAMP tar.gz from the GNU FTP site (above).
  3. Choose where you want the TRAMP library files to live. The files seem to be able to work anywhere, after configuration.
  4. Unpack the tar.gz using tar -xvf [filename], to wherever you want the library to go.
  5. Run ./configure --with-contrib inside the unpacked tramp directory.
  6. Run make.
  7. Run make-install.

This was tested on a Mac, so some incompatibility is possible. If there are errors, check the real guide above for details. Now that tramp is installed, you can open files over ssh. In emacs type Control-x-f, and specify the file path as follows:


Where USERNAME is you, HOSTNAME is the computer you're accessing, and FILEPATH is the absolute path to your file (starting at /). You should be prompted for a password if the host requires it. Many emacs GUIs also have an "Open Recent" Menu, and this still works with that.