I knew it was a bad idea to upgrade my OS during NaNoWriMo, since every sub-point release tends to do bad things to Emacs. So instead of waiting for December, I waited for the weekend. The Mac is up to 10.4.3 and emacs is now the Nov. 05 Carbon Emacs Package. It’s slow and flaky, but good enough for NaNo use.
[Update] I cleaned most of the crud out of the site-lisp directory inside the package, and that sped emacs up a lot. I kept the mac, psgml and html stuff, plus subdirs.el. The files site-start.el, site-start.elc, and site-start.d/carbon-emacs-builtin-aspell.el are vital; don’t delete them or stuff will break when you least expect it.
The real location of site-lisp is inside the Emacs.app package (control-click and choose Show Package Contents) in Contents/Resources/share/emacs/22.0.50/site-lisp.
[Update #2] Canned Emacs slowed to a crawl, so in the end I gave up, checked the emacs project out from savannah.org again, and built my own emacs. There was only one problem: no more mac-command-key-is-meta variable. I’ve become so addicted to Emacs with my special mac-ified command key shortcuts that the real Emacs was completely unusable.
Fortunately, a bit of googling showed me the new way to make the command key alt and the alt key meta:
(setq mac-command-modifier 'alt) (setq mac-option-modifier 'meta)
Other allowed options are ‘ctrl and ‘hyper. I confess, I don’t know what hyper is.