I have started getting the error message 'Package emacs-24.4 is unavailable' when trying to install packages from MELPA. I'm using GNU Emacs 24.3.1 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu).

Similar questions have been asked here and here.

In both of those cases, the accepted answer was this:

The reason for this can be a lingering old version of package.el in your load path. package.el was officially included in GNU Emacs 24, and the downloadable file for earlier Emacs versions doesn't support dependencies on built-in packages (emacs-24.1 is considered a built-in package here).

Type M-x locate-library RET package to find where Emacs is getting its package.el from. The path it shows should end with lisp/emacs-lisp/package.elc. If it doesn't, try getting rid of the indicated file (or changing the load path so Emacs doesn't find it).

So I tried M-x locate-library RET package, and got this:


This seems to be as it ought to be, so getting rid of that file or changing the load path presumably isn't going to help.

I don't really understand the error message. Is it telling me that the packages I'm trying to install will only work with a more up-to-date Emacs? Calling Emacs 24.4 an unavailable package in this context (i.e. while using a package manager within Emacs 24.3) seems confusing.

What should I do?

  • I'm getting it when I try to install Cider. – Westcroft_to_Apse Dec 3 '16 at 21:12
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    The message means that the package you're trying to install requires Emacs≥24.4, but you only have 24.3, hence the error. – Stefan Dec 3 '16 at 21:16
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    Oh, okay. What a confusing error message! I would have thought that if the Emacs package manager complains that a 'package' is unavailable, it must mean a package that could potentially be installed through the Emacs package manager - not that Emacs itself needs to be upgraded. – Westcroft_to_Apse Dec 3 '16 at 21:29

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