I'm trying to get the latest stable release of emacs on linux mint (emacs-24.5). But, for some reason apt-get only installs 24.3.1. I would usually be OK with that, but I'm trying to use spacemacs, and a lot of the packages require at least 24.4.

I've tried installing it myself, but ./configure doesn't work (it says I need a whole bunch of libraries, and those libraries need a whole bunch of libraries...), I tried to install it without the libraries, and it only make a bad looking text based terminal only version.

I even tried using linuxbrew, but I couldn't find out how to get the gui working, since I couldn't just do:

brew install emacs --with-cocoa

I noticed that ubuntu comes with emacs 24.5, and I'm willing to install that operating system, since i've only been using linux mint for a day. But is there any way I can get emacs 24.4 or 24.5 on mint? A different package manager, something to install all the libraries that the manual make requires.

Also I have already looked on stack overflow and tried this tutorial but it did not work: Emacs 24.4 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 14.04

When I tried to install it myself, it gave me an error about X and gtk or some other window library, even after I did what all the tutorials said to do to get X libraries.

Thanks for any help and sorry if this isn't the right place to ask this kind of question. Also, ask me if I need to specify what errors I got etc...

  • (StackOverflow is a programming forum..)
    – Kusalananda
    Jun 26, 2016 at 8:16
  • 1
    This is a good question! If you work out a solution on your own, be sure to answer your own question. :)
    – Wildcard
    Jun 26, 2016 at 8:49
  • Isn't this Unix and Linux stack exchange?
    – Vityou
    Jun 26, 2016 at 14:40

3 Answers 3


Use Ubuntu elisp ppa to install latest Emacs snapshot available. After installing you need to run emacs-snapshot instead of emacs.

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-elisp/ppa 
$ sudo apt-get update 
$ sudo apt-get install emacs-snapshot 

This will install emacs without any further steps. Good luck.

  • That works, but ironically emacs 25 isn't officially suported by spacemacs, but it will probably work better that emacs 24.3.
    – Vityou
    Jun 26, 2016 at 14:44

I was able to install it after running these 2 scripts: https://gist.github.com/favadi/18438172892bc4178b27 and https://github.com/favadi/build-emacs/blob/master/build-emacs.sh

And then when they failed, I went back to the emacs 24.5 I downloaded as a .tar.gz, extracted it, and did:

make install.

Those 2 scripts apparently installed the dependencies that were missing.


This is a general procedure for building with source on Debian-based distros, like Ubuntu and Mint.

Get your dependencies:

sudo apt-get build-dep emacs24 # or emacs24-lucid or whatever


tar xf emacs-whatever.tar.gz
cd emacs
./configure --with-whatever # see below

Install with checkinstall. This basically runs make install, but watches which files are installed and automatically creates a .deb and registers the package with the OS. Then you can e.g. remove it with dpkg -r package-name, or copy the .deb to another similar machine and install it.

sudo apt-get install checkinstall
sudo checkinstall


Emacs has a lot of compile-time configuration options. You can take the defaults or try tweaking it. I generally use similar options to what Arch Linux does e.g. this or this.

  • So could you make the .deb on an ubuntu, and then transfer it over to a linux mint?
    – Vityou
    Jun 27, 2016 at 18:33
  • @codersarecool Maybe. I'd only recommend installing a .deb on the same OS, e.g. Debian Jessie -> Debian Jessie or Ubuntu 16.04 -> Ubuntu 16.04. Obviously the architectures need to match too. You also need to install the dependencies (the easiest way is probably to use build-dep). But it might work, and it's easy to undo if it doesn't.
    – jpkotta
    Jun 27, 2016 at 19:54

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