[ESS] How to run latest ESS to get Polymode etc. on Debian stable

Chris Evans chrishold at psyctc.org
Wed Apr 10 09:25:38 CEST 2013

Dear all,

I am not a programmer though I've ran my own Debian servers for internet work for probably a decade without major problems (given that up now as I think you need to be more up to date with security issues than I can manage to be) and I have done my own work including R via ESS on a Debian laptop for a year or so now and now try to run Windoze only in a VM and as rarely as possible.

I find myself using ESS/R for most things as I love the combination but I use Rstudio for some projects things as that gets me knitr to produce pretty good literate stats outputting through to nice(ish) HTML and I don't find I can do that as painlessly using ESS.  However, I think I see Polymode taking ESS closer to Rstudio's ease and integration with knitr so I'd like to follow the bleeding edge but I think that requires that run a more up to date Emacs than the 23.2.1 that comes with Debian stable.  I couldn't seem to get the emacs-snapshot to work on my system and pulling ESS from SVN seemed to work fine for a while but ended up with my having an emacs/ESS combination that wouldn't work (I can give diagnostics and go back there probably but I'd rather make a clean start).

Can anyone give the list (or just me) advice?  Ideally I'd like to be able to install and invoke two parallel emacs/ESS combinations:
1) the vanilla Debian stable ones (fallback)
2) whatever I would best use to follow the Polymode evolution, perhaps pulling latest stable Emacs directly and the SVN builds of ESS and Polymode on say a daily basis.

I have superuser access to the machine so that's not an issue.  Anyone able to give me instructions in how to achieve this (don't assume I'll know to run make or something, I'm happy to do things like that and to get them running from anacron triggered bash scripts, I am just pretty ignorant about the whole emacs/elisp/ESS guts so need to be alerted to what needs making, what needs byte-compiling and how and the like.

I'm happy to blog the experience somewhere so there's a record others can follow.




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