Octave for GNU/Linux

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The recommended way for installing Octave and Octave-Forge packages on GNU/Linux systems is via each distribution package installation system.

More detailed instructions follow.

Debian and Debian-based (such as Ubuntu)

Either use aptitude or apt-get:

   # aptitude install octave<version> octave<version>-doc

where <version> must be substituted by the appropriate string.

The Octave-Forge packages are spread over many Debian packages. All Octave-Forge packages will probably be found with the command:

   $ aptitude search ?description\(octave-forge\)

For more details, see the Debian specific instructions page.


At Ubuntu, broken packages install may cause a error: `pkg' undefined error, previously reported as bug 465005:

Setting up octave3.2 (3.2.2-2build1) ...
error: `pkg' undefined near line 0 column 1

dpkg: error processing octave3.2 (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Processing triggers for libc-bin ...
ldconfig deferred processing now taking place
Processing triggers for menu ...
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

Fix this by complete reinstall:

sudo apt-get --purge remove octave3.2
sudo apt-get --purge remove octave3.2-common
sudo apt-get install octave3.2


The packages can be installed using the yum command, they are:

  • octave
  • octave-devel
  • octave-forge

octave-forge is recommended to all users, as it provides many extra functions. octave-devel contains the octave headers and mkoctfile script and is really only needed by users who are developing code that is to be dynamically linked to octave. octave and octave-forge can be installed with the command:

   # yum install octave-forge

By default, yum will most likely install blas and lapack as your matrix math libraries, but ATLAS is usually much faster. If you want to install atlas with octave, use the command

   # yum install octave-forge atlas

Note that if you are using an i386-compatible processor the base atlas package is not optimized for newer hardware. If you have newer hardware, you can get even better performance with the atlas-3dnow (AMD K6 processors), atlas-sse (Pentium III or newer), or atlas-sse2 (Pentium 4 or newer).


Octave is available through Gentoo's package management system, Portage:

   # emerge sync
   # emerge octave
   # emerge octave-forge (optional)

Red Hat Enterprise

Octave is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux distributions through the EPEL repository. This section applies to CentOS, Scientific Linux, and other Red Hat Enterprise rebuild distributions as well.

First, follow these instructions to set up your system to install packages from EPEL. For example,

   # wget http://url/to/latest/epel-release-6-7.noarch.rpm
   # yum localinstall epel-release-6-7.noarch.rpm

Once the EPEL repository has been enabled, you can follow the rest of the instructions for Fedora to install Octave using yum.

Note that EPEL intentionally does not follow new releases as closely as other distributions. Consequently, the version of Octave provided by EPEL may be several months or years out of date. There are plans for the Octave maintainers to provide support and binary RPMs for enterprise GNU/Linux distributions, contact the maintainers mailing list for more information.

Red Hat

GNU Octave is included with Red Hat. If you are still using an old version of Red Hat and want a newer version of GNU Octave, your best options are to consider updating your distribution to a recent Fedora release or compile octave from source.

Note that RH 7.x distributions (as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1) have included an old version of GCC (pre 3.x). It is known that GCC 2.96 (included in RH7.3) can compile GNU Octave (as of version 2.1.57), but the resulting binary will be bad. Red Hat made available RPMs for GCC 3.1-5 through http://rhn.redhat.com (those RPMs may be available on other RPM repositories).

SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE

Octave 3.6.2 is included in the science repository with SLE 11 SP2 and openSUSE 11.4, 12.1, 12.2

OBS science

For example, for openSUSE 12.2 you would do:

   # zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/science/openSUSE_12.2/ science
   # zypper refresh
   # zypper install octave octave-devel

for other versions change the version number in the first command accordingly.

2012-08-21: arpack-ng and SuiteSparse 4.0 bindings which were broken before are again functional, if you have a previous version of the rpm's installed consider to update them.

Arch Linux

Updated Octave's version is in the extra repository. It can be installed by typing:

   # pacman -S octave