How to Install GNU Emacs 28 on Linux Mint 21 LTS

GNU Emacs is a widely used and popular text editor that has been around for over three decades. The latest release, GNU Emacs 28, brings several new features and improvements, including better support for Python and JavaScript, improved performance, and a more user-friendly interface. In addition, GNU Emacs 28 makes it easier to customize the editor to suit your individual needs. Whether you’re a longtime user of Emacs or just getting started, you’ll find that GNU Emacs 28 has everything you need to make your text editing experience more efficient and enjoyable.

The following tutorial will teach you how to install Emacs on Linux Mint 21 LTS release series using a LaunchPAD APT PPA or Flatpak with the command line terminal.

Update Linux Mint

First, update your system to ensure all existing packages are up to date to avoid conflicts.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install GNU Emacs – APT PPA Method

The best APT package manager method is importing and installing the PPA by Kevin Kelley.

First, make sure the following dependencies are installed.

sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common gnupg gnupg2 apt-transport-https -y

Next, import the GPG key needed for all the repositories.

sudo gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/emacs.gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 873503A090750CDAEB0754D93FF0E01EEAAFC9CD

If you have issues importing the GPG key from LaunchPAD, please see the end section on GPG troubleshooting at the end of the article.

Example output:

gpg: keybox '/usr/share/keyrings/emacs.gpg' created
gpg: key 3FF0E01EEAAFC9CD: public key "Launchpad PPA for Kevin Kelley" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1

Next, import the Emacs PPA.

echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/emacs.gpg] jammy main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/emacs.list

Before you continue, run an APT update to reflect the newly imported PPA.

sudo apt update

Now install the text editor.

sudo apt install emacs28

For users that prefer using the terminal, you can install the CLI version.

sudo apt install emacs28-nox

Currently, version 28 is the latest.

Install GNU Emacs – Flatpak Method

The second option is to use the Flatpak package manager. Flatpak is installed on Linux Mint desktops as the default optional third-party package manager replacing Snapcraft.

First, re-install the Flatpak manager if it was removed previously.

sudo apt install flatpak -y

For users re-installing Flatpak, I would suggest a reboot. This is optional, but if anything odd occurs, reboot.



Next, you need to enable Flatpack using the following command in your terminal.

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

Now install Emacs using the following flatpak command.

flatpak install flathub org.gnu.emacs -y

How to Launch GNU Emacs (GUI or Terminal)

Launching can be done in a few ways now that you have the software installed.

First, the software can be launched using the following command for desktop users.


Alternatively, Flatpak users will need to launch using the command below from a terminal instance.

flatpak run org.gnu.emacs

Most desktop users may elect to use the application icon, which can be achieved using the following path.

Taskbar > Programming > Emacs (GUI or Terminal).


Depending on the option you choose using the graphical UI or terminal, you will arrive at the text editor. For new users, check out the Emacs documentation.

Example GUI:

Example Terminal:

How to Update/Upgrade GNU Emacs

The best method to ensure your installation of Emacs is up-to-date is to open the command line terminal and run the following command.

Depending on the method of installation used, the following commands can be used to update.

APT Update Method

sudo apt upgrade && sudo apt upgrade

Flatpak Update Method

flatpak update

The command will also ensure all other packages that use the APT package manager, including your system packages, are up-to-date. I suggest that users new to Linux run this command frequently to ensure your system works as intended, even if you have automatic GUI updates or notifications.

How to Remove (Uninstall) GNU Emacs

Use one of the following commands to suit the original installation method for users who no longer require the application.

APT Remove Method

sudo apt autoremove emacs* -y

Next, you should remove the PPA for users who will not use the software again.

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/emacs.list

Flatpak Remove Method

flatpak uninstall --delete-data org.gnu.emacs

Next, run the following command for any leftover clean-up.

flatpak remove --unused

How to Fix Broken LaunchPAD GPG Import

Users that have installed Linux Mint for the first time or have not imported a GPG key before using the command line terminal will often have issues importing GPG keys from LaunchPAD PPAs due to the directories not being created. This is an easy fix. Use the following command that will, in turn, generate the directories.

sudo gpg --list-keys

Example output:

As above, the necessary directories have been created. This can be skipped, and use the following GPG import command below. If you have any issues with directories missing for this and any other PPA GPG key in the future, just run the above command.

Comments and Conclusion

GNU Emacs is a powerful and versatile text editor trusted by programmers and other power users for many years. The latest release, GNU Emacs 28, brings significant new features and improvements, making it even more user-friendly and customizable. If you’re looking for a text editor that can do everything you need, look no further than GNU Emacs – it’s the complete text editor available today.

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