What’s coming up in Emacs 24

UPDATE: Emacs 24 has not yet been released. Developers can get it from the version control system (git/master, for example). Alpha/nightly builds are available for Windows and Mac OSX. This is still a bleeding-edge version. Expect much breakage, even from popular packages like BBDB.

See C-h n (view-emacs-news) for all the details. Some highlights:

Emacs packages

M-x list-packages to browse and install packages, which are enabled by default. If you’ve installed a number of packages but you don’t want them to all load at startup, customize package-load-list. Not that many packages yet, but I’m sure people will add more.

Emacs themes and user-interface changes

M-x customize-themes lets you choose color themes or create your own. There have also been a number of user-interface cleanups (scrollbars on the right, smoother antialiasing, that sort of stuff), but nothing radical.

Bidirectional support

Big one for international support.


x-select-enabled-clipboard is now true by default, which means Emacs newbies in Linux won’t get confused by an inability to copy and paste between applications.

Version control

With the increasing popularity of distributed version control systems such as bzr, we now have a way to pull updates using M-x vc-update (also known as M-x vc-pull). There’s also a M-x vc-merge command. Looking forward to git support for both of these.


There is a create-animated-image function. Interesting.

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  • Steve

    Where is available emacs 24?

  • Good point. Added first paragraph about where to get it. =)

  • Waiting for it to be a little more stable (after my 30 day emacs challenge, I use it for everything and need stability with all packages I use). The package installer part can definitely make the difference in converting a lot of people (or at least, I think I can convert a few people I know!), it can lead to far easier custumisation. I just hope it does not take as long as the move from v22 to v23!



  • amir mia

    Bidi support!

    Fantastic. If arabic is working on emacs, I’d like to make a donation. Who (organization/person) do I send it to?

  • Amir: Wait for the Emacs 24 release so that you can confirm that it works. =) The Free Software Foundation will happily accept donations for Emacs and other open source software free software, I think. (Be careful and don’t call it “open source software” around them.) If you want to donate to specific developers who’ve been working on bidi, you can probably check the emacs-bidi mailing list archives to see who’s been active in this area, and ask them who’s most to thank for Arabic support. =)

    Thanks, Aaron, for the update!

  • Langos

    Is list-packages assumed to finally replace ELPA?

    Thanks you for the post.

  • scb

    @Langos, I think list-packages *is* ELPA.

  • Langos

    Ah, thank you.
    (currently its called like M-x packages-list-paclages)

    regards, L.

  • Aaron

    Hi Sacha,

    In your reply to Amir you said: “The Free Software Foundation will happily accept donations for Emacs and other open source software,” so I wanted to point you to this article:


    I think the distinction between Free Software and Open Source Software is an important one to understand. I’m not sure what the FSF would actually do if you sent them a donation that was labelled “for open source software.” They might accept the donation; but then again they might very well send the donation back to you (or at least write to you for clarification) because if you really meant to be donating to the cause of “open source” (whatever that is), then clearly the FSF is the wrong place to send the money since not only do they not support the cause of open source, they actively campaign against it (or at least they campaign to help people understand there is a difference between the two).

  • Hah, that’s true. Good point! <laugh>

  • https://launchpad.net/~cassou/+archive/emacs is a ubuntu repo for the latest emacs.
    Has one tried the binaries from it?
    have you just compiled from upstream?

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