Bye Bye Emojis: Emacs Hates MacOS

Two years ago Emacs 24.4 dramatically improved support for MacOS (which was still OS X back then) with a new Core Text based font rendering engine. Among better and more consistent rendering this change—with the right fontset configuration—enabled colored emoji. Not the most important feature, but nice to have and doing no harm either.

In Emacs 25.1 it is gone. What I thought was a mistake in my configuration at first turned out to be a NEWS entry (emphasis mine):

On the OS X Cocoa (“Nextstep”) port, multicolor font (such as color emoji) display is disabled. […] This will be enabled again once it is also implemented in Emacs on free operating systems. […]

Let’s sink this in: The Emacs developers disabled a feature that was working fine for MacOS users just because free systems1 lack support. What a daft decision.

In the FSF’s little ivory tower of free software happiness this decision surely makes sense, but as a user, as a maintainer of a popular Emacs package that tries to deliver a great user interface, I feel like the FSF has given me the finger. I hear a clear message that no matter what we contribute2 as MacOS users we will always be second-class citizen in Emacs land3.

We are not welcome, and never will be.

  1. As if it were our fault that Linux is notoriously lagging behind on desktop. ↩︎

  2. I wrote Flycheck on a Macbook. ↩︎

  3. Even though the Emacs maintainer is a MacOS user himself, and wanted better support for MacOS when he took up that position. He explicitly disagreed with that change, though. ↩︎