As part of the Emacs-24.4 release, emacs-devel is conducting a survey to find out which vanilla GnuEmacs packages/modes people enable by default. The responses are in one big plain-text alphabetical list which isn’t really conducive to browsing.
I’ve gone through the most frequently enabled ones to see what they do. I figured others might be interested, so I’ve put the top ones in order of popularity, along with brief descriptions and links to the related pages if one exists. Enjoy!
uniquify– Uniquify overrides the default mechanism for making buffer names unique (using suffixes like
<3>etc.) with a more sensible behaviour which use parts of the file names to make the buffer names distinguishable. This will be turned on by default in 24.4.
column-number-mode– Displays which column the cursor is currently on in the mode line.
show-paren-mode– show-paren-mode allows you to see matching pairs of parentheses and other characters. When the cursor is on one of the paired characters, the other is highlighted.
transient-mark-mode– Transient Mark mode gives you much of the standard selection-highlighting behavior of other editors. This is on by default in recent Emacsen.
ibuffer– Ibuffer is an advanced replacement for BufferMenu, which lets you operate on buffers much in the same manner as Dired.
blink-cursor-mode– Toggle cursor blinking. This is on by default.
flyspell-mode– Flyspell enables on-the-fly spell checking in Emacs by the means of a minor mode.
recentf-mode– Recentf is a minor mode that builds a list of recently opened files. This list is is automatically saved across Emacs sessions. You can then access this list through a menu.
eldoc-mode– Eldoc-mode is a MinorMode which shows you, in the echo area, the argument list of the function call you are currently writing.
dired-x– Dired X provides extra functionality for DiredMode.
windmove– Wind Move lets you move point from window to window using Shift and the arrow keys.
line-number-mode– Line Numbers displays line numbers in a buffer, or otherwise indicates line numbers, without actually changing the buffer content.
winner-mode– Winner Mode allows you to undo and redo changes in the window configuration with the key commands