[ESS] Centos/RedHat EL6 x86_64 RPMS for Emacs 24.2 and ESS 12.09

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at me.com
Fri Oct 5 15:49:25 CEST 2012

On Oct 5, 2012, at 8:17 AM, Rodney Sparapani <rsparapa at mcw.edu> wrote:

> On 10/03/2012 10:52 PM, Paul Johnson wrote:
>> For various reasons, I'm have to run RedHat RHEL 6.3 on some systems
>> and I was surprised that the Emacs there is really old. And no ESS
>> pre-packaged that I could find.  Don't RedHat users need ESS? I
>> rebuilt RPMs from Fedora on EL6.3 systems so I could be confident that
>> everything would work well.
>> Here's the RPM repository folder.
>> http://pj.freefaculty.org/EL/6/x86_64/
> Nicely done!  But, as you say, an equally incomprehensible problem is that no recent version of Emacs is available for RHEL 5 or 6.  And
> building Emacs from source can fail since the default toolkit is GTK.
> Most likely, you will need to configure Emacs --with-x-toolkit=lucid

Rodney and Paul,

I would not say that it is incomprehensible.

Bear in mind the RHEL and its derivatives, such as CentOS, are Linux distributions targeted for servers, not for end users or desktop clients. As such, the priority is on stability, maximizing up time and multi-year support timelines, not on providing the latest and greatest applications for desktop users.

If one wants to use the most recent versions of applications on a Linux based platform, then you should be looking at Fedora or Ubuntu, not at server distributions.

With that in mind, RHEL has always been versions behind on various applications and even the Linux kernels, much less on components that will have a very narrow user base, such as ESS. RHEL 6 does have Emacs 23, but I don't expect to see Emacs 24 on it, at least not via RH channels. RHEL 5 still has Emacs 21 and that won't change either.

As Rodney noted, the underlying components to build more recent versions of various applications will not be in place either.

The introduction of the EPEL (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL) a few years ago, as an extension of the Fedora infrastructure, has made additional components (not updates to core components) available to RHEL users, that are not otherwise available via RH directly. But, those packages are based upon the activities of a volunteer based group of individuals who have made time to make those available. If one were so motivated, they could go through the process to make ESS available as an RPM via the EPEL. Short of that, it is easy enough to download the ESS tarball and install it on an RHEL based server, just as one can do on a local desktop.


Marc Schwartz

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