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There are several methods to install and manage packages for Emacs:

  • package.el
  • el-get
  • use-package

What is the easiest way to install package? It seems package.el ships with the default Emacs installation.

I tried use-package, each time I start Emacs, it will take a few second to contact hosts like melpa...

  • I'm using package.el as it comes with (recent versions of) Emacs. It only contacts repositories when you ask it to, so there's no cost to managing packages this way. – rekado Dec 23 '14 at 6:58
  • Package.el is the standard way and here is some help: wikemacs.org/wiki/Package.el el-get is an alternative solution which existed before package.el and can still be complementary sometimes. Use-package is (correct me if I'm wrong) a macro around package.el. – Ehvince Dec 23 '14 at 10:17
  • @Dan Thank you. That's highly valuable. – Nick Dec 23 '14 at 11:24
  • I'll put in a word for my package manager, straight.el, since I personally prefer it (obviously) to package.el. You can read the extremely verbose documentation to learn about the differences. I won't put this as an answer, since it doesn't answer your question: the standard package manager is package.el, whereas straight.el is almost certainly never going to be shipped with Emacs. Re: @Ehvince I've added functionality to use-package to allow using it with other package managers, including straight.el. – Radon Rosborough Jul 13 '17 at 3:54
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Well you've answered your own question: package.el is the standard way to install packages, because it's built into Emacs 24.

Everything else is non-standard (and probably somewhat subjective. I manage most third-party libraries via el-get, personally).

  • you're right. The reason I ask this question is to find out what others use for package management. package.el mess up with the package auto-complete. (Maybe it's not package.el's fault). I tried use-pacakge and el-get, finally satisfied with el-get. – Nick Dec 23 '14 at 7:42
  • MELPA and MELPA-Stable are the best for vetted packages. El-Get is the best for things under your vetting. – grettke Dec 24 '14 at 3:19
  • @grettke After using different methods/repositories for a while, I begin to realize that your words is really invaluable: concise and to the point. Thank you! – Nick Dec 27 '14 at 11:49

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