Sometimes Emacs takes 13 seconds to load. If you’re me, it always does. That’s solvable using the emacs --daemon command. You run emacs --daemon to start an emacs server and then use the emacsclient command to connect to the server almost instantly (emacsclient -t opens a new frame on the current terminal).

The problem is sometimes Emacs crashes. It doesn’t crash everyday, nor does it crash every week, but, sometimes, it does. And sometimes Emacs crashes when you’re working on several large projects and have tons of buffers open. If you’re using emacs --daemon, suddenly all your projects crash.

To fix this problem, I wrote a simple script called projectroot. It’s a ~60 lines C script, available here. What it does, using a similar logic to the projectile Emacs plug-in, is to find the root of the project you’re currently on and echo it back to stdout.

You can use it to write simple useful aliases. On my .profile file, I have e aliased to emacsclient -t and v aliased to mvim -v. So I added a couple of functions to my .zshrc file:

function ep {
    emacsclient -t -s $(basename $(projectroot)) $@

function ep-start {
    emacs --daemon=$(basename $(projectroot)) $@

function ep-stop {
    emacsclient -t -s $(basename $(projectroot)) -e '(save-buffers-kill-emacs)'

ep-start will launch an Emacs daemon with the current project’s root basename as it’s name. So if you’re inside of ~/somewhere/some-project/test it’ll be called some-project. emacsclient provides us with a -s flag, which let’s us connect to a named Emacs daemon.

In a similar fashion, ep will connect to the server corresponding to the current project. Because I’m using $@ inside of the function, I can run ep <file1> <file2> ... just as I would run emacsclient -s some-project without the shortcut.

Running ep-stop inside of a project will terminate its server saving all the buffers.

I also wrote a small bash script to list running Emacs servers, I called it emacs-servers and put it on my $PATH:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
function main {
  local serverdir="${TMPDIR:-/tmp}/emacs${UID}"
  local -a servers
  for file in ${serverdir}/*; do
    if [[ -S ${file} ]]; then

  echo "${servers[@]}"


(it has some other weird output that’s an unknown to me - ping me on twitter if you know what it is).

I think this is an improvement over running a single emacs server or manually naming servers. I already use tmux for managing my terminal sessions by work, open-source etc. so keeping something that’s encoded on the directory structure on my mind seemed silly, but I’d love to know what other people think of this. I’ve posted this on reddit, so there’s a reddit thread here I’ll be likely watching.

My dotfiles are available at