1

Emacs site says:

The current stable release is 24.4 (released October 20, 2014; see also dates of older releases).

I have installed it on my Ubuntu 14.04, by downloading the source from the emacs site and compiling it. But I used checkinstall and dpkg instead of make install, so dpkg knows about it.

Now Ubuntu software update asks me if I want to update emacs and other emacs packages, if I am not misunderstood, (also See the following list and the screenshots below).

  • Common facilities for all emacsen (Changes for emacsen-common versions: Installed version: None. Avaliable version: 2.0.7)
  • Emacs (Changes for emacs versions: Installed version: 24.4-1; Available version: 45.0ubuntu1)
  • GNU Emacs common non-DFSG items, including the core documentation (Changes for emacs24-common-non-dfsg versions: Installed version: None; Available version: 24.3+1-1)
  • GNU Emacs editor (with GTK+ user interface) (Changes for emacs24 versions: Installed version: None; Available version: 24.3+1-2ubuntu1)
  • GNU Emacs editor's shared, architecture dependent files (Changes for emacs24-bin-common versions: Installed version: None; Available version: 24.3+1-2ubuntu1)
  • GNU Emacs editor's shared, architecture independent infrastructure (Changes for emacs24-common versions: Installed version: None; Available version: 24.3+1-2ubuntu1)

Q:

  1. Why does Ubuntu software update suggest me another version of emacs, if my installed one is the latest?
  2. What is the difference between the second item (Emacs), the fourth item (GNU Emacs editor (with GTK+ user interface)) in the update list, and my installed Emacs 24.4?
  3. Should I update the emacs, or install the emacs packages, or neither?

    Thanks.


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  • 1
    If you compiled it on your own, then Ubuntu's package manager doesn't know about it. If you will proceed with the installation from the package manager, it will install a separate Emacs. There's no problem in having more than one Emacs, except for having to share the init file, it's easy to contain each installation to its own code, but both Emacs will be able to use each others Lisp code (if you set them to do that). If you are happy with building Emacs on your own, then, I'd keep on doing that, but if it sounds bothersome, then I'd install one from PPA. – wvxvw Mar 24 '15 at 12:44
  • But I used checkinstall and dpkg instead of make install to install my emacs, so dpkg and ubuntu knows about it. I wonder why Ubuntu software update suggests me another version of emacs, if my installed one is the latest. – Tim Mar 24 '15 at 12:47
  • Ubuntu knows about the installed files, but not that this custom package replaces the system emacs packages (if you didn't build the package with the information to let the system know) – Tom Regner Mar 24 '15 at 13:37
  • @Tom it does. Ubuntu software update says the installed version is 24.4-1 (see the list). Before I installed, there is no emacs. I created a deb package from the compiled source, and then dpkg, which I believe let Ubuntu and dpkg knows the installed emacs. – Tim Mar 24 '15 at 13:44
  • BTW, attaching all those screenshots is unnecessary. All you need to do is use tools like apt-cache or aptitude and paste the appropriate lines of output. It will be much easier to digest. – blujay Mar 29 '15 at 11:56
4
  1. It looks like Ubuntu is using it's own numbering system, 45.0ubuntu1 vs 24.4. This may be tricking dpkg into thinking that the Ubuntu version (which appears to be 24.3) is actually newer than your compiled 24.4.

  2. Debian (and thus Ubuntu) provides emacs in a number of different packages, to allow users to stick to a particular version, track the latest release, install only a terminal version etc. I suspect items 2 and 4 on your list are different ways of pointing to the (currently) same files.

  3. I prefer to use the official Emacs sources straight from GNU, and ignore the Debian packaging (or the Ubuntu packages, on that system). Debian pulls out some or all of the info files, for political reasons, and I get confused about which packages I need to get the complete install. I also prefer to track the development branch.

However, if you aren't concerned about getting new features as soon as possible, it may be easier to use the Ubuntu packages. The only thing I would recommend strongly against is trying to use a combination of both. Either use the compiled sources, or the Ubuntu packages, but not both together.

1

Debian and Ubuntu split up Emacs into several binary packages. When you use checkinstall, you instead put everything in a single package.

When you're installing something that isn't packaged by Debian/Ubuntu, that's usually fine; but when you install something that is already packaged by D/U, your custom package will overlap with some of the distro packages, and the dependencies will not mesh together.

So a few potential solutions are:

  1. Remove all Emacs packages, then install your custom package again.

  2. Instead of using checkinstall, build the new version Debian-style. First, download and extract the source package for the current Ubuntu package. Then copy its debian directory into the source directory for the new Emacs version. Then use dch to update the changelog. Then build the package (there are different ways, but I usually use dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc -rfakeroot -j4).

  3. Emacs 24.4 is packaged in Debian testing, even though it's not in Ubuntu yet. So download the Debian source package and build it. Then install the appropriate packages that are built. This method often works for software that is fresher in Debian than in Ubuntu. This is what I did for Emacs 24.4 and it works fine.

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