This is a quick note to future me (and anyone encountering this same issue). TL;DR - the solution

While running into issues getting the golang layer configured, I discovered that a lot of pain was caused by a cached configuration and some outdated information.

System Info

  • OS: Darwin
  • Golang: go version go1.10.3 darwin/amd64 (installed via Homebrew)
  • Emacs: 26.1
  • Spacemacs: 0.300.0 (develop)
  • Spacemacs branch: f2a4cc
  • Graphics display: t
  • Distribution: Spacemacs
  • Editing style: vim
  • Completion: helm
  • Layers:
     (markdown :variables markdown-command "pandoc")
     (org :variables
          org-enable-reveal-js-support t
          org-want-todo-bindings t)

Incorrectly configured $GOROOT

After brew install go, Homebrew suggests the following:

You may wish to add the GOROOT-based install location to your PATH:
  export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/opt/go/libexec/bin

I had originally set this, but this caused all sorts of problems such as the inability to go get packages with complaints that the standard library packages couldn’t be found. I suspect this is due to go having problems dealing with symlinks, as running ls -lat /usr/local/opt/go shows that folder is symlinked to /usr/local/Cellar/go/1.10.3. To fix this, I changed my $GOROOT to /usr/local/Cellar/go/1.10.3/libexec. This appears to be the right solution, although I’m concerned that I will need to change this every time I upgrade go.

Outdated information

First off, the Spacemacs go layer documentation incorrectly states the “oracle” package is a pre-requisite. This package was obsoleted at the end of 2016 perthis Stack Overflow post. The solution is to instead install the “guru” package which has replaced it using:

go get -u -v

Cached Configuration

Spacemacs wasn’t pulling in my correct $GOROOT environment variable, which I verified by enabling syntax checking (SPC t s) while in a .go file. Some furious befored-bed Googling led to the following issues:

The next problem was getting Spacemacs to pull the updated $GOROOT from my environment definition. Up until now, I’ve been configuring my shell using ~/.zshrc.After reading the Spacemacs FAQ about environment variables, I’ve moved the contents of my ~/.zshrc to ~/.zshenv so that variables are sourced unconditionally (instead of only for interactive shells).

This solves the problem of where to put my $GOROOT definition, but it still wasn’t being pulled into Spacemacs properly. This comment by@ljupchokotev is what finally pointed me in the right direction: the Spacemacs environment file.

Spacemacs pulls environment variables intelligently from your shell config file and stores them in ~/.spacemacs.env Sometimes this file has old contents and must be re-created


  • Set the proper $GOROOT for go installed via Homebrew: export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/Cellar/go/<go version>/libexec
    • Optional: set this in ~/.zshenv, ~/.profile, or ~/.bash_profile
  • Delete ~/.spacemacs.env and restart Emacs.