Emacs is a text editor with a long history. It was started in 1976 by Richard Stallman who started the Free Software Movement (from which Open Source was derived). I mention this history because sometimes emacs can seem a little peculiar in its commands and usage. Whether or not you like the way you use emacs is definitely personal preference, but I encourage you to give it a try. Many programmers swear by it. It is also part of the emacs / vi wars. I use both but if you going to only learn one, I would recommend vim.
Obtaining and Installing
Emacs is available for all operating systems but how you obtain it will depend on your particular one. For linux, it is either installed by default or you can probably (if you use a deb based system) do
sudo apt-get install emacs. You can use it in the command line only but it defaults to a kind of gui. For mac, there are other versions, but the standard emacs version works well and you can get it here. It is your standard double click install. For windows it is a little more complicated (and I have never personally experienced install on a windows). GNU has information on how to do it here.
Here are some basic commands but if you are intrigued, I would suggest looking at some of the tutorials listed below.
Here are some more in depth tutorials and cheatsheets.
- Official tutorial: I don’t really like this one but it is here