AE can be downloaded from


You get a selection of executables, and the one to pick depends upon which operating systems you wish to run :-

Executable OS Arch Notes Active
ae_dos.exe 16 bit DOS x86 Hampered by the 16 bit DOS 640KB limit. No
ae_dos32.exe 32 bit DOS x86 Uses 32 bit Causeway DOS extender. No
ae_o16.exe 16 bit OS/2 x86   No
ae_os2.exe 32 bit OS/2 x86   No
ae_win.exe 32 bit Windows x86   Yes
ae_cygwin.exe 32 bit Windows x86 Runs under Cygwin. No
ae_cygwin64.exe 64 bit Windows x86_64 Runs under Cygwin64. Yes
ae.nlm NetWare x86   No
ae.efi EFI x86   No
ae_aix41 AIX Power Compiled on an AIX 4.1. No
ae_aix43 AIX Power Compiled on an AIX 4.3. No
ae_aix53 AIX Power Compiled on an AIX 5.3. No
ae_linux_rh72 Linux x86 Compiled on RedHat 7.2. No
ae_linux_rh80 Linux x86 Compiled on RedHat 8.0. No
ae_linux_rh90 Linux x86 Compiled on RedHat 9.0. No
ae_linux_fc2 Linux x86 Compiled on Fedora Core 2. No
ae_linux_fc6_64 Linux x86_64 Compiled on Fedora Core 6. No
ae_linux_fc14 Linux x86 Compiled on Fedora 14. No
ae_linux_fc14_64 Linux x86_64 Compiled on Fedora 14. Yes
ae_sun8sparc SunOS Sparc Compiled on Solaris 8. No
ae_sun10sparc SunOS Sparc Compiled on Solaris 10. No
ae_sun10intel SunOS Intel Compiled on Solaris 10. No
ae_osx10power MacOSX Power Compiled on Leopard. No
ae_osx10intel MacOSX x86 Compiled on Leopard. No
ae_hpux HP/UX   Runs on systems supporting PA 2.0 binaries. No
ae_mips Linux MIPS Cross compiled from Redhat 7.x. 64 bit big-endian MIPS R3000. No
ae_iphone iOS 1.x ARM Cross compiled on Linux using unofficial iphone-dev toolkit. No

At this time, the author only has environments and compilers set up that enable the Active binaries to be rebuilt when changes are made. So the non-Active ones may be a few versions behind. Often these are platforms that are out of vendor support, or that nobody has cared about for many years anyway. Typically the rate of change is small, and the latest configuration file can be made to work with older binaries by removing any lines they complain about.


Installing on UNIX

  1. Copy the executable for your UNIX platform (eg: ae_linux_rh90) to somewhere like /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin or ~/bin, or wherever on the path you consider appropriate, and rename it to ae.
  2. Either copy the ae.ini to the same directory as ae so it can be found, or copy it to .aerc in your home directory. AE uses your local initialisation file in preference to the common one.

On Linux, best colour and keyboard support is obtained using the regular linux or xterm terminals. On older RedHat distributions, the xterm terminfo entry may not include support for colour, and you may have to set the TERM environment variable to be xterm-color.

On AIX, best keyboard and colour support is obtained by using an aixterm, or by logging in from OS/2 using HFTTERM.EXE. It should be noted that HFTTERM.EXE appears to have a bug whereby it doesn't generate the correct datastream for the @9 and @0 keystrokes.

On SunOS, I get best keyboard and screen support when using an xterm or a vt100. SunOS xterm and vt100 terminfo entries don't include colour support. xtermc is not xterm with colour.

On HP-UX, I get best keyboard and screen support when using an xterm or a vt100.

When running aixterm or xterm its best to run with the -fg white -bg black options. This is because the Curses library and terminfo entries assume the 'original pair' corresponds to white on black.

If you use an xterm or vt100 terminal (or something that emulates them), and the system terminfo definitions for these do not include colour support, then look at the sample xterm-color.ti and vt100-color.ti files supplied with AE. These can be added to the system terminfo database by root, using the tic command (or tic_colr on HP-UX). You would use them by setting your TERM environment variable to xterm-color or vt100-color.

Installing on Windows

  1. Copy ae_win.exe to ae.exe, somewhere on the path.
  2. Copy ae.ini to the same directory as ae.exe so it can be found.

AE is a Win32 application, which has had extensive testing on Windows NT, 2000, XP and 2003. Rather less testing has been performed with Windows 95, and quite a few bugs in the Windows 95 version of the Win32 Console API (used for screen redraw) have been identified and worked around. Some oddities relating to the use of the unusual screen sizes still remain. I would not be surprised if there are more problems to be found...

Note: As of Windows 2000, some newly created MS-DOS windows might have a buffer with a very large number of lines. More than the largest size AE can handle. You can change the properties of an existing Window and the shortcut that is used to start it, but there are settings inside the Windows registry covering MS-DOS windows created without a shortcut, and there is no easy GUI way to change this. We bundle console.reg, which can be run at the command line to set the default MS-DOS buffer and window sizes to 80x50.

Installing on 32 bit OS/2

  1. Copy ae_o16.exe or ae_os2.exe to ae.exe, somewhere on the path.
  2. Copy ae.ini to the same directory as ae.exe so it can be found.
  3. Optionally copy ae.ico to the same directory as ae.exe. This allows AE to have a cute icon when running in the Workplace shell.
  4. Optionally create a Workplace Shell Program Object(s) that references the AE executable. The working directory should be the directory where ae.ini can be found.

Installing on 32 bit DOS

  1. Copy ae_dos.exe or ae_dos32.exe to ae.exe, somewhere on the path.
  2. Copy ae.ini to the same directory as ae.exe so it can be found.
  3. Check that COMSPEC in config.sys points to or some other command processor. This ensures 'shelling' out will work, as AE uses system to call up other programs.
  4. Check that files=10 or above in your config.sys.

To use the 32 bit version of AE, you need a 32 bit processor.

Installing on NetWare

  1. Copy ae.nlm to somewhere on the search path.
  2. Copy ae.ini to the same directory as ae.nlm.

Installing on EFI

  1. Copy ae.efi to a suitable directory.
  2. Copy ae.ini to the same directory as ae.efi so it can be found.

Change log

Date Changes
1989-01-15 Initial version (Alpha-Test).
1993-05-01 Made Public Domain.
First official external release to Internet.
Various Lots of development
2004-01-04 Added support for virtual folds identifying directories.
Fixed problem with very large numbers of buffers/languages.
Fixed a problem with search loop detection.
Added search_def_ toggling primitives.
Improved the status line.
Linux versions now built on 2.4.20-8custom RedHat 9.0.
Solaris versions now built on Solaris 8.
AIX versions now built on AIX 4.3.3.
Added initial .tcl/.jacl/.wscp language.
Fixed legal characers in filename in Windows version, again.
2004-07-04 Return directory listings in sorted order.
Return . and .. as non-open virtual folds, regardless.
Linux versions now built on 2.6.5-1.358custom Fedora Core 2.
2005-01-01 Added .xsl and .policy to language definitions.
Fixed unintentional display of -ve char values (Solaris).
Extended max line length from 500 to 2000 on 32 bit systems.
Added console.reg, to set 80x50 default Windows size on 2000+.
Added AE_FULL_FN env var for other_shell, if on virtual fold.
2008-07-16 Added sample vt100-color.ti and xterm-color.ti.
Added ldif language.
Added first MacOSX version.
Added other key bindings that exploit AE_FULL_FN env var.
Improved ae.txt.
Added first iPhone 1.x version.
Added search_ignore to avoid scanning CVS and .svn subdirs.
2011-01-01 Increased number of languages to 80, added a few.
Rebuilt on 16 bit DOS, Win32, Fedora 14, MacOSX, Solaris 10.
2014-01-16 Completely revamped the online documentation.
2018-06-10 Better placement of temporary files on Windows.

Copying of this program is encouraged, as it is fully public domain. The source code is not publically available at present. Caveat Emptor.

The author of AE and this documentation is Andy Key. (email

{{{ Andy