When in a Linux terminal, what is the difference between typing
Under debian I have:
showing that emacs is realy emacs23-x. Probably, on your system, you will see that emacs is realy emacs-x. The use of symlink give the opportunity to the admin of your box to choose which Emacs is the default one, and the presence of the others executable enable the users of your box to choose which of the installed Emacs they want to run.
What actually happens can be different depending on your distribution and system configuration. A pretty easy way to figure out for sure what is going on is first checking for any aliases:
That should show you if you have any aliases defined for
Edit: Looking at the changelog for the Emacs rpm, see the change made on Mon Apr 11 2005.
Looks like it is just an version of emacs capable to run in an X environment.