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Ubuntu (10.10) offers emacs21,22,23 and emacs-snapshot. What are the differences between them and which one does the emacs package install by default? Also, I presume emacs-snapshot-gtk is the most up to date one. I would like to use this because it seems to pay attention to my .Xdefaults settings, which emacs doesn't. What disadvantages might this cause?

I use emacs for LaTeX, ORGmode and ESS/R programming.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

emacs-snapshot is a development version of Emacs. It has more goodies but likely also more bugs, so use it at your own risk. The others are released versions; the only reason I can think not to install the latest one is if you're very short on disk space.

The emacs package depends on emacs23 (you can see the dependencies in any package administration tool).

Gtk programs don't use X resources (.Xdefaults). Non-gtk (but X) versions of Emacs do.

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emacs22 will be going away in favor of emacs23, so you can safely ignore emacs22. – Kees Cook Nov 9 '10 at 5:53
So if I want to make use of .Xdefaults what do I use? (I thought this was a difference between emacs and emacs-snapshot but apparently not...) – Seamus Nov 9 '10 at 10:30
Move the contents of .Xdefaults into .Xresources seems to have made the standard emacs recognise it. – Seamus Nov 9 '10 at 11:22
@Seamus: Short answer: ~/.Xresources is the file to use. Long answer: X resources are stored on the server. On Ubuntu and most other unix systems, when you log in, ~/.Xresources is loaded. A few other systems load ~/.Xdefaults, but not Ubuntu. A few applications look for their own resources in ~/.Xdefaults when they start, but not Emacs (at least not emacs23-x on 10.04, though it loads ~/.Xdefaults-$(hostname)). If you change your resource file, you can load it manually with xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources (-load would also override any system resources). – Gilles Nov 9 '10 at 18:13

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