I have Emacs 24.3.1 and I'd like to upgrade to the latest Emacs 24.4.x. All documentation that I have visited suggests building from a tarball or source. Is there a reason why there are no package manager options to upgrade my Emacs? If not, how do I upgrade my Emacs using the package manager?

Here is some info about my Emacs, which I believe comes default on Ubuntu 14.04:

  Installed: 45.0ubuntu1
  Candidate: 45.0ubuntu1
  Version table:
 *** 45.0ubuntu1 0
        500 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

3 Answers 3


You can install the nightly packages from the ubuntu-elisp ppa.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-elisp/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install emacs-snapshot
  • 1
    This works like a champ on Linux Mint 17.3 “Rosa” (on a Ubuntu 14.04 base). Note that emacs-snapshot must be run explicitly; the traditional "emacs" command will run the old emacs 23. Feb 2, 2016 at 1:51
  • 5
    @johntellsall: to fix that, update-alternatives --config emacs as root, select emacs-snapshot.
    – serv-inc
    Jun 3, 2016 at 9:20
  • 3
    update-alternatives --config editor does not show emacs in the list. Is there a way to get it to show up here?
    – Andrew Mao
    Jul 20, 2017 at 20:04

Emacs 24.4 is still relatively new. Ubuntu is considered a stable distro, and for that reason software sometimes lags behind. If Emacs 24.4 isn't packaged, you'll need to build it yourself.

You can find comprehensive instructions on how to install GNU Emacs 24.4 on Ubuntu in this guide: http://ubuntuhandbook.org/index.php/2014/10/emacs-24-4-released-install-in-ubuntu-14-04/


You can also use the Emacs stable releases PPA, e.g.:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kelleyk/emacs
sudo apt update
sudo apt install emacs28

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