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I ran into a problem with an Emacs Lisp function, and I got a patch from the developer. I'm running Debian Linux and the file to be patched does not even exist on my system. (The patch is for tex-mode.el and I have only tex-mode.el.gz and tex-mode.elc.) I would prefer not to stomp all over the Debian distribution code in /usr/share/emacs. Is there a way for me to install the patched tex-mode.el in my home directory so that it takes priority over the version in the system directory?

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You can copy tex-mode.el.gz to your home directory (say in .emacs.d) and then gunzip it, apply the patch, and byte compile it. Of course the directory where you put it has to be in your load-path, or you could just add (load "/path/to/new/tex-mode.el") to your .emacs which would ensure you don't get the old version.

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You can even do this from Emacs: open tex-mode.el.gz and Emacs will decompress it on the fly. Save a copy with C-x C-w, and as long as the new file name doesn't end with .gz, it will be saved uncompressed. –  legoscia Aug 8 '12 at 12:47

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