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There seem to be the following versions: emacs23, emacs23-nox, e3, emacs23-lucid, and jove, as choices to download. Where can I find out what the differences are?

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The short answer is that you almost certainly want emacs23: it's the full version of Emacs 23 with graphical support.

emacs23-nox is the same, but without any graphical support. If you're installing Emacs onto a server or other environment that lacks an X window system, you should fetch this version instead. (Note that emacs23 works just fine on the terminal, so the only reason to prefer emacs23-nox to emacs23 is if you don't want to drag in the dependencies.)

e3 and jove are not Emacs; they're lightweight editors that have Emacs modes to them.

emacs23-lucid is XEmacs, which used to be called "Lucid Emacs".

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    2014 here. should it be emacs24 now? – Kinjal Dixit Jan 29 '14 at 8:31
  • The -lucid variant is useful if you want X without a graphical desktop, e.g. over ssh. – Carsten S Mar 4 '14 at 13:56
  • ^ The version without graphical support is the -nox variant. – SabreWolfy Apr 22 '14 at 10:42
  • There is no emacs24-nox yet. emacs23-nox is still the latest for ubuntu as of Jul 2014. – user1854266 Jul 23 '14 at 22:50
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    @SabreWolfy, I did not express that well. I use emacs-lucid if I want to install emacs on a server and use it with X forwarded over ssh. – Carsten S Sep 5 '16 at 10:32

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