When I was configuring Emacs over the summer and into last academic year, a process that I completed long ago and haven’t gone back to aside from the occasional snippet documented on this blog, I always did it manually, downloading elisp into my ~/.emacs.d/ folder. There is an Emacs package management system, yup an elisp version of apt-get, that is actually going to come with Emacs 24 with an official GNU repository which sounds great because it’s no longer as transitory as the independently-run system seemed. The main advantage is that it would actually keep my packages up to date rather than being miles behind as my code currently is.

When Emacs 24 finally comes out it might be worth switching to this (as well as el-get which generalises the approach, according to comments on the blog post I just linked to) but I don’t know if it will be worth the effort. My Emacs setup works perfectly for what I use it for, and I don’t use most of the packages I have installed very often anyway and should probably have a clear out, but again, this would require a lot of time and I’m not sure it’s worth it at all. It works fine and so I probably shouldn’t mess with anything.