Emacs fans, limber up your fingers -- there's a new GNU in town. Almost six years after the release of the previous version, the Free Software Foundation has announced the release of GNU Emacs 22. (Actually, 22.1, but who's counting?) This release includes support for GTK+, drag and drop support for X, a number of new modes, and a graphical interface to the GNU Debugger (GDB).
The FSF has come under some criticism for taking so long to release a stable version. The previous release, Emacs 21, came out in October 2001.
In May, Jon Corbet wrote an interesting piece about the frustration some developers were feeling when their patches and new features failed to appear in a stable release for several years. With many free and open source projects turning to six-month and shorter development cycles, GNU Emacs' development cycle seems long indeed.
This release includes build support for Linux on AMD64, S/390, and Tensilica Xtensa machines, FreeBSD/Alpha, Cygwin, Mac OS X, and Mac OS 9 with Carbon support. The Leim package is now part of GNU Emacs, so users will be able to get input support for Chinese, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and other languages without downloading a separate package. New translations of the Emacs tutorial are also available in Brasilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, simplified and traditional Chinese, Italian, French, and Russian.
In all, the release includes nearly six years of development work. See the release announcement and NEWS file distributed with Emacs 22 for the full set of changes.