Distel works by talking to Erlang nodes using the Erlang distribution
protocol. It creates an “Emacs node,” similar to the “C nodes” of
erl_interface, and then talks directly to Erlang nodes with RPC
and other forms of message-passing.
Of course, this means that to use Distel you need to have an Erlang node running. The node should be able to load some supporting modules for Distel to make RPCs to – setting this up is simple, and described in the INSTALL file in the distribution. Other aspects of the node's setup, such as which other modules it can find, will also affect Distel's operation. More on this in the relevant sections.