Commit d43f5a42 authored by Chong Yidong's avatar Chong Yidong
Browse files

Document package manager in Emacs manual.

* doc/emacs/package.texi: New file, documenting the package manager.

* doc/emacs/emacs.texi: Include it.

* doc/emacs/help.texi (Help Summary): Add describe-package.
parent 37846983
2011-08-26 Chong Yidong <>
* package.texi: New file, documenting the package manager.
* emacs.texi: Include it.
* help.texi (Help Summary): Add describe-package.
2011-08-25 Chong Yidong <>
* misc.texi (Printing): Convert subnodes into subsections.
......@@ -96,6 +96,7 @@ EMACSSOURCES= \
${srcdir}/dired.texi \
${srcdir}/calendar.texi \
${srcdir}/misc.texi \
${srcdir}/package.texi \
${srcdir}/custom.texi \
${srcdir}/trouble.texi \
${srcdir}/cmdargs.texi \
......@@ -2,7 +2,7 @@
@c Copyright (C) 1985-1987, 1993-1995, 1997, 2000-2011
@c Free Software Foundation, Inc.
@c See file emacs.texi for copying conditions.
@node Customization, Quitting, Amusements, Top
@node Customization
@chapter Customization
@cindex customization
......@@ -212,6 +212,7 @@ Advanced Features
* Emulation:: Emulating some other editors with Emacs.
* Hyperlinking:: Following links in buffers.
* Amusements:: Various games and hacks.
* Packages:: Installing additional features.
* Customization:: Modifying the behavior of Emacs.
Recovery from Problems
......@@ -1497,6 +1498,7 @@ Lisp programming.
@include rmail.texi
@c Includes picture-xtra.texi
@include misc.texi
@include package.texi
@include custom.texi
@include trouble.texi
......@@ -126,16 +126,20 @@ The complete Emacs manual is available on-line in Info.
Display the name and documentation of the command that @var{key} runs
@item C-h l
Display a description of your last 300 keystrokes
Display a description of your last 300 keystrokes
@item C-h m
Display documentation of the current major mode (@code{describe-mode}).
@item C-h n
Display news of recent Emacs changes (@code{view-emacs-news}).
@item C-h p
Find packages by topic keyword (@code{finder-by-keyword}). For an
alternative interface to the same information, try the @code{info-finder}
Find packages by topic keyword (@code{finder-by-keyword}). This lists
packages using a package menu buffer (@pxref{Package Menu}); for an
alternative interface to the same information, try the
@code{info-finder} command.
@item C-h P @var{package} @key{RET}
Display documentation about the package named @var{package}
(@code{describe-package}; @pxref{Packages}).
@item C-h r
Display the Emacs manual in Info (@code{info-emacs-manual}).
@item C-h s
......@@ -88,6 +88,7 @@ EMACSSOURCES= \
$(srcdir)/dired.texi \
$(srcdir)/calendar.texi \
$(srcdir)/misc.texi \
$(srcdir)/package.texi \
$(srcdir)/custom.texi \
$(srcdir)/trouble.texi \
$(srcdir)/cmdargs.texi \
......@@ -2513,7 +2513,7 @@ Display a menu of files and URLs mentioned in current buffer, then
find the one you select (@code{ffap-menu}).
@end table
@node Amusements, Customization, Hyperlinking, Top
@node Amusements, Packages, Hyperlinking, Top
@section Other Amusements
@cindex boredom
@c This is part of the Emacs manual.
@c Copyright (C) 1985-1987, 1993-1995, 1997, 2000-2011
@c Free Software Foundation, Inc.
@c See file emacs.texi for copying conditions.
@node Packages
@chapter Emacs Lisp Packages
@cindex Package
@cindex Emacs Lisp package archive
@cindex Package archive
@cindex Emacs Lisp package
Emacs includes a facility that lets you easily download and install
@dfn{packages} that implement additional features. Each package is a
separate Emacs Lisp program, sometimes including other components such
as an Info manual.
@kbd{M-x list-packages} brings up a buffer named @samp{*Packages*}
with a list of all packages. You can install or uninstall packages
via this buffer. @xref{Package Menu}.
@findex describe-package
The command @kbd{C-h P} (@code{describe-package}) prompts for the
name of a package, and displays a help buffer describing that
attributes of the package and the features that it implements.
By default, Emacs downloads packages from a @dfn{package archive}
maintained by the Emacs developers and hosted by the GNU project.
Optionally, you can also download packages from archives maintained by
third parties. @xref{Package Installation}.
For information about turning an Emacs Lisp program into an
installable package, @xref{Packaging,,,elisp, The Emacs Lisp Reference
Manual}. For information about finding third-party packages and other
Emacs Lisp extensions, @xref{Packages that do not come with
Emacs,,,efaq, GNU Emacs FAQ}.
* Package Menu:: Buffer for viewing and managing packages.
* Package Installation:: Options for package installation.
* Package Files:: Where packages are installed.
@end menu
@node Package Menu
@section The Package Menu Buffer
@cindex package menu
@cindex built-in package
@findex list-packages
The command @kbd{M-x list-packages} brings up the @dfn{package menu}.
This is a buffer listing all the packages that Emacs knows about, one
on each line, with the following information:
@itemize @bullet
The package name (e.g. @samp{auctex}).
The package's version number (e.g. @samp{11.86}).
The package's status---normally one of @samp{available} (can be
downloaded from the package archive), @samp{installed}, or
@samp{built-in} (included in Emacs by default).
In some instances, the status can be @samp{held}, @samp{disabled}, or
@samp{obsolete}. @xref{Package Installation}.
A short description of the package.
@end itemize
The @code{list-packages} command accesses the network, to retrieve the
list of available packages from the package archive server. If the
network is unavailable, it falls back on the most recently retrieved
The following commands are available in the package menu:
@table @kbd
@item h
Print a short message summarizing how to use the package menu
@item ?
@itemx @key{RET}
Display a help buffer for the package on the current line
(@code{package-menu-describe-package}), similar to the help window
displayed by the @kbd{C-h P} command (@pxref{Packages}).
@item i
Mark the package on the current line for installation
(@code{package-menu-mark-install}). If the package status is
@samp{available}, this adds an @samp{I} character to the start of the
line; typing @kbd{x} (see below) will download and install the
@item d
Mark the package on the current line for deletion
(@code{package-menu-mark-delete}). If the package status is
@samp{installed}, this adds a @samp{D} character to the start of the
line; typing @kbd{x} (see below) will delete the package.
@xref{Package Files}, for information about what package deletion
@item u
Remove any installation or deletion mark previously added to the
current line by an @kbd{i} or @kbd{d} command.
@item x
Download and install all packages marked with @kbd{i}, and their
dependencies; also, delete all packages marked with @kbd{d}
(@code{package-menu-execute}). This also removes the marks.
@item r
Refresh the package list (@code{package-menu-refresh}). This also
retrieves the list of available packages from the package archive
@end table
For example, you can install a package by typing @kbd{i} on the line
listing that package, followed by @kbd{x}.
@node Package Installation
@section Package Installation
@findex package-install
Packages are most conveniently installed using the package menu
(@pxref{Package Menu}), but you can also use the command @kbd{M-x
package-install}. This prompts for the name of a package with the
@samp{available} status, then downloads and installs it.
@cindex package requirements
A package may @dfn{require} certain other packages to be installed,
because it relies on functionality provided by them. When Emacs
installs such a package, it also automatically downloads and installs
any required package that is not already installed. (If a required
package is somehow unavailable, Emacs signals an error and stops
installation.) A package's requirements list is shown in its help
@vindex package-archives
By default, packages are downloaded from a single package archive
maintained by the Emacs developers. This is controlled by the
variable @code{package-archives}, whose value is a list of package
archives known to Emacs. Each list element must have the form
@code{(@var{id} . @var{location})}, where @var{id} is the name of a
package archive and @var{location} is the @acronym{HTTP} address or
directory name of the package archive. You can alter this list if you
wish to use third party package archives---but do so at your own risk,
and use only third parties that you think you can trust!
Once a package is downloaded and installed, it takes effect in the
current Emacs session. What ``taking effect'' means depends on the
package; most packages just make some new commands available, while
others have more wide-ranging effects on the Emacs session. For such
information, consult the package's help buffer.
By default, Emacs also automatically loads all installed packages
(causing them to ``take effect'') in subsequent Emacs sessions. This
happens at startup, after processing the init file (@pxref{Init
File}). As an exception, Emacs does not load packages at startup if
invoked with the @samp{-q} or @samp{--no-init-file} options
(@pxref{Initial Options}).
@vindex package-enable-at-startup
@findex package-initialize
To disable automatic package loading, change the variable
@code{package-enable-at-startup} to @code{nil}. If you do this, you
can use the command @kbd{M-x package-initialize} to load your
@vindex package-load-list
For finer control over package loading, you can use the variable
@code{package-load-list}. Its value should be a list. A list element
of the form @code{(@var{name} @var{version})} tells Emacs to load
version @var{version} of the package named @var{name}. Here,
@var{version} should be a version string (corresponding to a specific
version of the package), or @code{t} (which means to load any
installed version), or @code{nil} (which means no version; this
``disables'' the package, preventing it from being loaded). A list
element can also be the symbol @code{all}, which means to load the
latest installed version of any package not named by the other list
elements. The default value is just @code{'(all)}.
For example, if you set @code{package-load-list} to @code{'((muse
"3.20") all)}, then Emacs only loads version 3.20 of the @samp{muse}
package, plus any installed version of packages other than
@samp{muse}. Any other version of @samp{muse} that happens to be
installed will be ignored. The @samp{muse} package will be listed in
the package menu with the @samp{held} status.
@node Package Files
@section Package Files and Directory Layout
@cindex package directory
@cindex package file
@findex package-install-file
Each package is downloaded from the package archive in the form of a
single @dfn{package file}---either an Emacs Lisp source file, or a tar
file containing multiple Emacs Lisp source and other files. Package
files are automatically retrieved, processed, and disposed of by the
Emacs commands that install packages. Normally, you will not need to
deal directly with them, unless you are making a package
(@pxref{Packaging,,,elisp, The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual}). Should
you ever need to install a package directly from a package file, use
the command @kbd{M-x package-install-file}.
@vindex package-user-dir
Once installed, the contents of a package are placed in a
subdirectory of @file{~/.emacs.d/elpa/} (you can change the name of
that directory by changing the variable @code{package-user-dir}). The
package subdirectory is named @file{@var{name}-@var{version}}, where
@var{name} is the package name and @var{version} is its version
@cindex system-wide packages
@vindex package-directory-list
In addition to @code{package-user-dir}, Emacs looks for installed
packages in the directories listed in @code{package-directory-list}.
These directories are meant for system administrators to make Emacs
packages available system-wide; Emacs itself never installs packages
there. The package subdirectories for @code{package-directory-list}
are laid out in the same way as in @code{package-user-dir}.
Deleting a package (@pxref{Package Menu}) involves deleting the
corresponding package subdirectory. This only works for packages
installed in @code{package-user-dir}; if told to act on a package in a
system-wide package directory, the deletion command signals an error.
......@@ -15,7 +15,7 @@ also considered.
@end ifnottex
@node Quitting, Lossage, Customization, Top
@node Quitting
@section Quitting and Aborting
@cindex quitting
......@@ -319,11 +319,14 @@ for `list-colors-display'.
This is a convenient way to download and install additional packages,
from a package repository at
*** `M-x list-packages' shows a list of packages, which can be
selected for installation.
*** New command `describe-package', bound to `C-h P'.
*** By default, all installed packages are loaded and activated
automatically when Emacs starts up. To disable this, set
`package-enable-at-startup' to nil. To change which packages are
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