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15.2 Load Suffixes

We now describe some technical details about the exact suffixes that load tries.

— Variable: load-suffixes

This is a list of suffixes indicating (compiled or source) Emacs Lisp files. It should not include the empty string. load uses these suffixes in order when it appends Lisp suffixes to the specified file name. The standard value is (".elc" ".el") which produces the behavior described in the previous section.

— Variable: load-file-rep-suffixes

This is a list of suffixes that indicate representations of the same file. This list should normally start with the empty string. When load searches for a file it appends the suffixes in this list, in order, to the file name, before searching for another file.

Enabling Auto Compression mode appends the suffixes in jka-compr-load-suffixes to this list and disabling Auto Compression mode removes them again. The standard value of load-file-rep-suffixes if Auto Compression mode is disabled is (""). Given that the standard value of jka-compr-load-suffixes is (".gz"), the standard value of load-file-rep-suffixes if Auto Compression mode is enabled is ("" ".gz").

— Function: get-load-suffixes

This function returns the list of all suffixes that load should try, in order, when its must-suffix argument is non-nil. This takes both load-suffixes and load-file-rep-suffixes into account. If load-suffixes, jka-compr-load-suffixes and load-file-rep-suffixes all have their standard values, this function returns (".elc" ".elc.gz" ".el" ".el.gz") if Auto Compression mode is enabled and (".elc" ".el") if Auto Compression mode is disabled.

To summarize, load normally first tries the suffixes in the value of (get-load-suffixes) and then those in load-file-rep-suffixes. If nosuffix is non-nil, it skips the former group, and if must-suffix is non-nil, it skips the latter group.