Skip to content


Repository files navigation

Emacs Version Manager

Gem Version Build Status Coverage Status

Deprecation Warning!

As Travis is moving towards a container-based infrastructure, hence sudo is not possible, EVM added support for Travis specific binaries (ends with -travis), which will be installed in /tmp.

All -bin versions will are deprecated and will be removed. Do not use them!

To run EVM on Travis, set the EVM path to /tmp:

$ evm config path /tmp

See for more information on how to use EVM on Travis.

Why EVM?

  • Did you ever wonder how to install Emacs? Homebrew, apt-get, Emacs for OSX, Compile from scratch, etc...

  • Are you currently maintaining an Emacs package? How do you know it works? Because you have tests of course. Ok, so you know it works on your platform and with your Emacs version. But what about all other versions that people are using? Does your package work for them?

  • EVM provides Linux pre-compiled binaries to allow for quick installation on CI systems.

Platform Support


Supported! (currently no pre-compiled binaries for CI)




Not supported. Need help from someone running Windows.


Default installation directory for EVM Emacs versions is /usr/local/evm. This can be changed with the config command:

$ evm config path /foo/bar

No matter what installation approach you choose, create the installation directory and give your user access rights, for example:

$ sudo mkdir /usr/local/evm
$ sudo chown $USER: /usr/local/evm


$ curl -fsSkL | bash

Add EVM's bin directory to your PATH.

$ export PATH="$HOME/.evm/bin:$PATH"



$ brew install evm

Ruby gem

$ gem install evm


$ git clone ~/.evm

Add EVM's bin directory to your PATH.

$ export PATH="$HOME/.evm/bin:$PATH"


In the Evm bin directory, there are a few commands:

  • evm - Manage Emacs packages
  • emacs/evm-emacs - Emacs shim with currently selected Emacs package


To list all available Emacs versions you can install, run:

$ evm list

The output will look something like this:

emacs-24.1 [I]
* emacs-24.3 [I]
emacs-24.3-travis [I]

The [I] shows what versions are currently installed and the * shows what version is currently selected.


To install a version, run:

$ evm install version


$ evm install emacs-24.3


To start using a specific package, run:

$ evm use name


$ evm use emacs-24.2

The Evm binary will update and use that Emacs package.


To stop using an EVM binary and restore your personal or system defaults:

$ evm disuse


To uninstall a version, run:

$ evm uninstall emacs-24.2

bin [name]

Prints the full path to name's Emacs executable. If no name is specified, use currently selected.

$ evm bin # /usr/local/evm/emacs-24.5/
$ evm bin emacs-24.2 # /usr/local/evm/emacs-24.2/


For more information, run:

$ evm --help


Be sure to!

Implement the features and don't forget to test it. Run the tests with:

$ rspec spec

If all passes, send us a pull request with the changes.

Adding a new Emacs version

Copy an existing recipe in the recipes directory and make modifications for the new version. Also add the new version to the Travis configuration.

Adding Travis binary

If you want to contribute a Travis binary, these instructions will help.

  1. Install Docker

  2. Run the generate script:

$ docker/ 27.1 linux-xenial
$ ls emacs-27.1-travis-linux-xenial.tar.gz

Caution: Be prepared to wait!

If you are running this script for the first time, it will need to create the build image, which means downloading a large (> 10 GB) base image from Travis CI, and further configuring it with the tools needed to compile Emacs from source.

In addition, the Emacs build takes time and generates a fair amount of console output.

  1. Create a new recipe and make a pull request.

  2. Ask maintainer to add a new release and add the binary.