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Case in point being downgrading emacs which sounds to me like a question about the Fedora distribution of GNU/Linux -- but that may well be of interest to other Emacs users who run Fedora.

We do have existing tags for particular OSs. As well as the expected [microsoft-windows] and [osx] I can see there is a populated [ubuntu] tag; so a [fedora] one would not seem unreasonable.

The following questions are related, and didn't conclusively answer my question for me (but I'm now leaning towards saying that such things should be on-topic).

A somewhat analogous problem which springs to mind is the way that Debian separates the parts of Emacs out into multiple packages, such that users (a) might not have the .el.gz elisp source files, and (b) might not have the info manuals (the latter are not only in a separate package but, on account of a disagreement over licensing, aren't considered Free by Debian, and consequently are even less obvious to users). All of which is (a) completely specific to Debian, but (b) of concern only to Emacs users.

Personally I think the Debian issues should be on-topic for Emacs.SE, and with that in mind it seems reasonable to me that other OS-specific packaging issues would be on-topic as well.

  • I upvoted, thanks for the meta-posting. – zugzwang Nov 19 '18 at 15:05
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IMO, your question is indeed off-topic here because no part of it seems to depend on which particular package it is you're downgrading. I do not believe that knowledge of Emacs is needed or even useful to find the right answer.

Package managers are specifically designed so that you can reliably upgrade/downgrade/add/remove/... any package without having to be intimate with it.

  • have you ever used dnf to downgrade an emacs package? – zugzwang Nov 19 '18 at 15:04
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    @zugzwang Do you have reasons to expect that it will lead to problems? If so, you should state those reasons in your question. Those may render the question on-topic, but in their absence all I can see is that you assume that installing/upgrading/downgrading packages is a risky business. And this fear is not only without grounds, but is unrelated to any package in particular, so it's not related to Emacs. – Stefan Nov 19 '18 at 15:18
  • I think that we should agree to disagree. – zugzwang Nov 19 '18 at 15:43
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I would like to repeat the point that I made to the moderator when I flagged my downgrading emacs posting for moderator attention. As a Fedora semi-newbie, I am in a very risky situation, assuming that I don't want to live with the emacs 26-1 bug. Responses from UnixSE or fedora.org will not be emacs specific, and therefore may not be reliable.

Only very experienced users of both emacs and dnf will be in a position to provide reliable insights re handling the situation cleanly.

I think voting to close the posting is very reasonable. At the same time, emacsSE is (in my opinion) the very best forum for getting this particular question answered reliably.

I think that therefore, my downgrading emacs posting deserves to be considered an exceptional case.

Resolution

My original reporting of an emacs problem was at this link:Emacs 26-1 Problems : find-file and neotree

I have edited my original posting with an addendum; emacs-gnu-support helped me with the problem.

I also updated my original posting at this link: downgrading emacs

Since the problem is mostly resolved, I no longer need to downgrade emacs.

However, although the issue raised in this meta-post is (for me) now moot, I still regard the issue as worthwhile.

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At this question @zugzwang asked for my take on this meta question. This was my response, in case it helps somehow:

I don't have much to say about [this], mainly because I don't build Emacs and I don't use it on GNU/Linux (unfortunately). I use it on MS Windows, given a Windows binary. I know very little about the questions raised [here].

That said, in my ignorance about such things I'd think that questions about building, installing, upgrading, downgrading, etc. Emacs would be on topic here. (But I won't be contributing to them because of my unfamiliarity.) Off-topic would be questions that dig into the OS beyond such Emacsy questions.

Just one (uninformed) opinion, in case it helps.

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