Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I install slime through ELPA. Here is what my .emacs file looks like:

(setq inferior-lisp-program "sbcl --noinform")
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/slime/") 
(require 'slime)
(setq package-archives '(("gnu" . "http://elpa.gnu.org/packages/")
                         ("marmalade" . "http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/")
                         ("melpa" . "http://melpa.milkbox.net/packages/")))

I get the following error when I start emacs:

Warning (initialization): An error occurred while loading `/home/name/.emacs':

File error: Cannot open load file, slime

To ensure normal operation, you should investigate and remove the cause of the error in your initialization file. Start Emacs with the `--debug-init' option to view a complete error backtrace.

When I debug:

Debugger entered--Lisp error: (file-error "Cannot open load file" "slime")
  eval-buffer(#<buffer  *load*> nil "/home/name/.emacs" nil t)  ; Reading at buffer position 91
  load-with-code-conversion("/home/name/.emacs" "/home/name/.emacs" t t)
  load("~/.emacs" t t)
  #[0 "\205\262

When I visit ~/.emacs.d/elpa/slime-20130308.1112, slime.el is clearly there. Other people online seem to be having issues too. If I cannot get it to work with emacs24, how can I setup a slime environment for common lisp?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I installed emacs 24 using the Debian amd64 package from Damien Cassou's ppa. I had some problems with slime (I don't recall if they were the same as those above). I fixed it by reinstalling quicklisp (http://www.quicklisp.org/), then using it to install slime:

(ql:quickload :quicklisp-slime-helper)

It works fine with sbcl for me (on two machines). I just looked at my .emacs; I have nothing added to my load-path, just

(load (expand-file-name "~/quicklisp/slime-helper.el"))
(setq inferior-lisp-program "sbcl")
(require 'slime)
(slime-setup '(slime-fancy))
share|improve this answer
That solution worked for me. Thank you :) – anonymous Mar 9 '13 at 15:53
  1. I've just noted that you load path says (add-to-list 'load-path "~/slime/") but your slime.el file is at ~/.emacs.d/elpa/slime-20130308.1112 so in a different location. You probably have to correct it for: (add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/elpa/slime-20130308.1112/")

  2. You have not said (--noinform) where is your sbcl (setq inferior-lisp-program "sbcl --noinform"). So that I guess you have to do, at command line: $ which sbcl then the system will say to you where sbcl is (probably /usr/bin/sbcl) and inform it to emacs by (setq inferior-lisp-program "/usr/bin/sbcl")

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.