I've downloaded the .tar.xz file from the GNU Emacs page, and extracted it, but now I have a huge directory full of files, and I have no idea what to do with them. The README is unhelpful, too.

I am using Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) in Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 1. That means I only have a CLI to work with, unless I use an external X server.

I don't want any of the apt packages for Emacs. I know how to install them, and I want the latest version (GNU Emacs 26.3).

  • To start, 1) which Linux version have you installed (Ubuntu server, Ubuntu desktop, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, et al.), & 2) which release number? Different releases have different tools for us to recommend. 3) Did you want emacs w/ the GTK+,GUI packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/emacs25, the Lucid GUI packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/emacs25-lucid, or no GUI packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/emacs25-nox ? Please click edit and add that vital info to your question so all the facts we need are in the question. Please don't use Add Comment, since that's our channel to you.
    – K7AAY
    May 11, 2020 at 21:04
  • You want instructions on building emacs. The emacs source has tons of documentarian, explore. Read [A-Z]* to start.
    – waltinator
    May 12, 2020 at 3:41

2 Answers 2


To install WSL 2, you will need the following requirements:

  • Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18917 or higher.
  • WSL 2 will be generally available in Windows 10, version 2004 and later.

The latest stable version of Emacs 26.3 is a native Ubuntu package and can be installed in WSL 2 in all currently supported versions of Ubuntu with the following command:

sudo snap install emacs --classic

The beta version (27 at the time of the answer) can be installed with:

sudo snap install emacs --channel=beta --classic

The latest development version of Emacs 28.0 can be installed with the following command:

sudo snap install emacs --channel=edge --classic
  • Sadly, I can't use snap in WSL May 19, 2020 at 11:18
  • 1
    The current snap is ( github.com/alexmurray/emacs-snap ) . I end up installing from ( sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kelleyk/emacs ), which leads me to face with socket problems on emacs --daemon.
    – alper
    Jul 20, 2020 at 11:21
  • What should I do to install emacs v28.1? @karel
    – alper
    Feb 21, 2021 at 11:39
  • @alper The latest release of Emacs at GitHub is currently version 28.0.50. The same version 28.0.50 of Emacs is also a snap package, To install it run sudo snap install emacs --channel=edge --classic.
    – karel
    Feb 21, 2021 at 11:48

Using flatpack to install 27.2 version

sudo apt install flatpak
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
flatpak install flathub org.gnu.emacs           

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