Building on Ubuntu Virtual Machine

This page contains instructions on how to build Octave in an Ubuntu virtual machine in a Windows Host.

This page is both concise and self-contained to allow beginners to quickly develop code for Octave. The libraries and instructions have been tested in Ubuntu 20.04.


1. Create VM.
    1. Download VirtualBox from, install.
    2. Download Ubuntu Desktop iso from
    3. Start VirtualBox. In 'Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager', Select: Machine -> New. In Name, put: OctaveDev; Type: Linux; Version: Ubuntu (64-bit). Adjust 'Memory size' to half of what is available. For example, if 16384 MB are available, type 8192. In 'Hard disk', select: 'Create a virtual hard disk now'. Click Create.
    4. In 'Create Virtual Hard Disk' window, under 'File size': 50 GB; 'Hard disk file type': VDI; 'Storage on physical hard disk': Dynamically allocated. Click Create.
    5. Back to 'Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager', select OctaveDev, click on Settings. In System, select Processor tab. Adjust the number of CPUs to half of what is available, since this will speed up the compilation and responsiveness of the VM. For example, if you have 8 cores, select 4. Click OK. In Storage, under 'Controller: IDE', select Empty. Under Attributes, click on the disk icon. Browse and select the iso file previously downloaded. Click OK.
    6. Double click the newly created VM to start it. Follow the prompts to install the operating system. Don't forget to add a username and a password. This tutorial has the username as 'ubuntuuser'.


2. Install dependencies.

In the Ubuntu system, open a terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+t. Issue the following commands (tested only on Ubuntu 20.04):

   $sudo apt-get update
   $sudo apt-get install build-essential mercurial gcc g++ gfortran make libblas-dev liblapack-dev epstool transfig libglpk-dev  libreadline-dev  llvm-dev  lpr texinfo pstoedit liboctave-dev libqhull-dev libqrupdate-dev libsuitesparse-dev texlive libxft-dev  autoconf automake bison flex gperf gzip icoutils libtool perl rsync tar libpcre3-dev libarpack2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libfftw3-dev libfltk1.3-dev libfontconfig1-dev libfreetype6-dev libgl2ps-dev gnuplot-x11 libgraphicsmagick++1-dev libhdf5-dev libsndfile1-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libosmesa6-dev portaudio19-dev zlib1g-dev libegl1-mesa-dev libgles2-mesa-dev libwayland-client0 libwayland-cursor0 libwayland-dev libwayland-egl1 libwayland-egl1-mesa libwayland-server0 libwayland-bin libwayland-client0 texlive-plain-generic librsvg2-bin openjdk-14-jdk openjdk-14-jre openjdk-14-jre-headless openjdk-14-jdk-headless qttools5-dev-tools qtbase5-dev qtbase5-dev-tools qttools5-dev libqscintilla2-qt5-dev libqt5sql5-sqlite libqt5webchannel5 libqt5webkit5 libqt5concurrent5 libqt5designer5 libqt5designercomponents5 libqt5help5 libqt5positioning5 libqt5quickwidgets5 libqt5sensors5 libqt5sql5 qt5-assistant qt5-qmake qt5-qmake-bin libqt5core5a libqt5network5 libqt5gui5 libqt5opengl5 libqt5opengl5-dev git rapidjson-dev libsundials-dev doxygen texlive-latex-extra graphviz
3. Mercurial.

From the page Mercurial, follow the steps under the section 'Example Mercurial configuration'.

Build DirectoryEdit

4. Setup the build directory.
   $ mkdir -p /home/ubuntuuser/projects/octave_src
   $ cd /home/ubuntuuser/projects/octave_src
   $ hg clone octave
   $ cd octave
   $ ./bootstrap --force
   $ mkdir -p bld_dir; cd bld_dir;
5. Configure.
   $ rm * -r -f; date; ../configure -v --prefix=/home/ubuntuuser/projects/octave_src/octave_install >& configure.out; date; paplay /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg

To check if any library has not been found by the configure script:

   $ grep -i "library not found" configure.out
6. Make.
   $ date; make -j 4 V=1 >& make.out; date; paplay /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg


7. Debugging.

Note: The option ‘--enable-address-sanitizer-flags’ breaks the build, so it was removed. From Debugging Octave:

   $ cd /home/ubuntuuser/projects/octave_src/octave
   $ mkdir -p dbg_bld_dir; cd dbg_bld_dir;
   $ rm * -r -f; date; time ../configure -v --prefix=/home/ubuntuuser/projects/octave_src/octave_install_dbg FFLAGS=-g CFLAGS=-g CXXFLAGS=-g >& configure.out; date; paplay /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg
   $ date; time make -j 4 V=1 >& make.out; date; paplay /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg
   $ echo 0 | sudo tee /proc/sys/kernel/yama/ptrace_scope
   $ ./run-octave --gui
   >> system (sprintf ("gnome-terminal --command 'gdb -p %d'", getpid ()), "async");

Apply a breakpoint at the function edit_variable (which will be hit in another thread from the current one, so apply breakpoint for all threads).

   (gdb) thread apply all break


   >> a = [1 2]

In Octave, double click on the variable ‘a’. Now gdb should be at the breakpoint. Now backtrace 10 to show the calling information:

   (gdb) backtrace 10

Apply a breakpoint at the function variable_editor_model::create (which will be hit in another thread from the current one, so apply breakpoint for all threads).

   (gdb) thread apply all break

Save and PatchEdit

8. Save your work and send patch.

To save your changes to a single file:

   $ cd /home/ubuntuuser/projects/octave_src/octave
   $ hg commit -m "Description about the changes you have made."
   $ hg export --git > ../yourwork_date.diff

If you have made multiple commits, export all the revisions that you have made:

   $ hg export --git -r 28648:28649 > ../yourwork_date.diff

To save your changes and send a patch (Basics of Generating a Changeset):

   $ cd /home/ubuntuuser/projects/octave_src/octave
   $ hg commit -m "Description about the changes you have made."
   $ hg export -o ../yourwork_date.diff tip

If you added binary files such as png files, use --git option in export:

   $ hg export --git -o ../yourwork_date.diff tip