I love the versatility of emacs, even without any additional packages. You get a powerful and fast editing environment that is ridiculously extendable if you so desire.

I used to maintain quite an extensive .emacs configuration, with all sorts of third party packages and custom functions. But early this year, after about a year of heavy Emacs use, I felt the pain of maintaining a working, organized, and fast Emacs setup was just too much. After a certain threshold, twiddling around editor configuration for hours seems to look awfully like useless bike-shedding. And I did find myself sinking a couple hours at a time on my .emacs and .emacs.d. “Time for a fucking change,” I thought.

So, I took an axe to my .emacs. I made a very minimal configuration that distilled my previous learnings into a simple collection of basic overrides. The basics are all there, and the remaining annoyances require too big of an investment of effort over a long time to be worth it for me.

A bonus of this minimal config is that emacs is instantaneous, even without the whole “run emacs as a daemon and connect to it” shenanigans.

(I must admit that lately I’ve dropped even this in favor of Sublime Text 3 + sublemacspro).

But anyway, here’s my minimal config (also here as this gist):

; Want a fast emacs startup? Copy this to ~/.emacs.minimal and:
;   cp ~/.emacs ~/.emacs.bak
;   echo "(load-file \"/absolute/path/to/.emacs.minimal\")" > ~/.emacs
; Switch it back if you don't like it.

;; cutoff for word wrap
(setq-default fill-column 79)

;; F12 toggles auto-fill mode
(global-set-key [f12] 'auto-fill-mode)

;; C-- keybinding for undo (removes the shift)
(global-set-key [(control -)] 'undo)

;; turn on pending delete (when a region
;; is selected, typing replaces it)
(delete-selection-mode t)

;; when on a tab, make the cursor the tab length
(setq-default x-stretch-cursor t)

;; avoid garbage collection (default is only 400k)
(setq-default gc-cons-threshold 4000000)

;; twiddle miscellaneous customization options
  '(sentence-end-double-space nil)
  '(truncate-partial-width-windows nil)
  '(line-number-mode t)
  '(column-number-mode t)
  '(query-user-mail-address nil)
  '(visible-bell t))

;; prevent creation of backup files. I'd rather manually handle that.
(setq make-backup-files nil)

;; set indentation to 2
(setq standard-indent 2)

;; set newline as required for every file's last line
(setq require-final-newline nil)

;; freaking don't ask me to type out "yes" and "no"
(defalias 'yes-or-no-p 'y-or-n-p)

;; Prevent the cursor from blinking
(blink-cursor-mode 0)

;; Don't use messages that you don't read
(setq initial-scratch-message "")
(setq inhibit-startup-message t)

;; key binding for fill-region
(global-set-key (kbd "C-c f") 'fill-region)

;; disable color crap that pukes up everywhere
(setq-default global-font-lock-mode nil)