The situation is:

I install pdf-tools manually and load it with the following snippet:

(use-package pdf-tools
   :pin manual
   :load-path "my/load/path/to/the/git/repo/lisp"

Everything works fine, and I am happy with this setup. But....

The problem is:

I cannot install any package which depends on pdf-tools, since the package manager does not recognize it as being installed. Thus, M-x package-list-packages lists me quite a bunch of packages which are "incompatible" because they depend on pdf-tools. But it is there!

How can I convince the package manager to install these packages?


I've tried the answer given to this very similar question and added pdf-tools to package--builtin-versions. Still not available for the package manager, the other package depending on it is still blocked.

  • If the package manager doesn't recognise it as being installed then (at least by default) it would install it as a dependency. – phils May 23 '20 at 22:39
  • E.g. If I tell the package manager to install pdf-view-restore and pdf-tools isn't already installed, then they will both be installed. – phils May 23 '20 at 22:41
  • I think "incompatible" would more likely indicate that the package manager does recognise that pdf-tools is installed, and that the other packages depend upon a newer version of it. – phils May 23 '20 at 22:49
  • I see. The reasoning seems to be right, but I cannot verify that the versions are the problem. pdf-tools are version 1.0, the requirement for the 'incompatible' packages is > 0.8 or 0.7, depending on the package. So versions do not seem to be the problem. My problem is: How do I tell the package manager to consider pdf-tools & friends as installed? It seems that I should hack package-alist, but I am not really willing to do it. – Public Image Ltd. May 24 '20 at 12:38

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