I recently had to re-install my work laptop with Oracle Linux 7. With
backups, it didn’t take too long to reinstall. The most time consuming
task was compiling Emacs 24.5 from source. Emacs 24.5 is required for
the excellent Prelude starter kit I have recently adopted. There are a
lot of pre-requisite packages for Emacs that are available (but not
included) in Oracle Linux 7.
As part of the ‘Emacs for Everything’ experiment, I have also started
to use an Emacs package called ‘elfeed’ to read RSS feeds and while
it worked in my new, shiny environment, I noticed it ran much slower
then previously. I tracked this degradation to the fact that OL7 ships
with a dated version of ‘GnuTLS’ (3.3.8 released in September 2014)
whereas the latest version is 3.4.9 (released in February 2016).
As GnuTLS is a secure transport communications layer, I decided to
upgrade it and recompile Emacs including the updated libraries as I’d
Usually, I remove the bundled software package using yum and install
the new version from source in ‘/usr/local’. However, in this case,
lots of packages depend on GnuTLS including fundamental ones like
Gnome 3 so I had to leave the existing package alone.
Inevitably, since I last built it, the GnuTLS package had been updated
and now depended on a crypto package called Nettle that was
installed but version 2.x. More yak shaving ensued involving
‘pkgconfig’ and LD_LIBRARY_PATH but finally I was able to build Emacs
using the latest version of GnuTLS.
I was rewarded by ‘elfeed’ performance reverting to its previous
stellar levels. elfeed fetches feeds in parallel and is very fast. It
takes less than 20 seconds to update my 150 feeds and the keyboard
interface enables me to process feeds very quickly compared with a Web
interface like Feedly although the latter does sync between multiple