It's been a while and this question about ELPA fetch errors is getting a lot of views but has no resolution. I want to do some more research. I suspect that GNU ELPA is getting fetched and that the errors are spurious, but I do not know how to confirm that.

Is there a way I can ask Emacs for the local GNU ELPA version, so that I can check if it is up to date? If the repository is versioned, how can I get the date of the most recent package update?

  • I think you are better off (a) providing more details on the old question, we need something reproducible and an edit will make it more visible potentially bringing in to the active list, and later (b) offering a bounty on the old question to bring on to the featured list. Jun 1, 2015 at 14:02
  • Thanks Andrew. (re: a) This question is indeed part of my effort to provide more detail to the original question; any advice as to what else I should provide would be much appreciated. (re: b) I have already offered a bounty, and it went unclaimed. As a result my minimum bounty has been increased to 200 and I am not willing to drop that much until I've fleshed out the question a bit more. Of course if you offer the bounty yourself I'll be grateful. Jun 1, 2015 at 14:30
  • 2
    Sorry the bounty didn't help. What do you mean by the "local ELPA version"? The version of the package manager or the individual locally installed packages? Jun 1, 2015 at 14:38
  • I mean the recency of my local instance of the GNU ELPA repository. I have updated the question; hopefully it is more clear now. Jun 1, 2015 at 14:44
  • You don't have a "local instance of the GNU ELPA repository" unless you cloned it yourself. Emacs doesn't fetch the GNU Elpa repository itself, it only fetches a list of packages offered by it. Is that what you actually want? To check if the list of packages was correctly fetched?
    – Malabarba
    Jul 2, 2015 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


The version information is available by typing list-packages (a) directly in the standard view in the second column (b) by hitting return on a given entry displaying more detailed information. This is valid for both installed packages and for packages available from the repository.

For packages you have installed, they will be found in a directory of the form ~/.emacs.d/elpa/package-name-version, or under package-user-dir if that has been changed, so the director name includes the version information.

Other system installed packages may be found under the directories in the package-directory-list.

Programmatically the list of packages installed is available after package-initialize in the variable package-alist, this contains version information to as a separate field in the data structure. Note "installed" does not mean "activated", the list of names of such activated packages is in package-activated-list.

package.el includes the function package-menu--find-upgrades which gives an example of checking version of installed packages against those available from the repository.

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