Octave for Debian systems

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Revision as of 12:29, 12 October 2012 by Mtmiller (talk | contribs) (→‎Pre-compiled binaries: Add description of available binaries and semi-official Octave team PPA)
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For Debian, and Debian based distributions such as Ubuntu, specific solutions.

Pre-compiled binaries

Binary packages for Octave and many Octave-Forge packages are provided by all versions of Debian and Ubuntu. These are the most well-tested binaries available and should work best for most users.

The GNU Octave Team on Launchpad maintains a PPA providing binary packages of the latest stable version of Octave for all versions of Ubuntu. To set up your system to install these packages

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:octave/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install octave

Compiling from source

The only tricky part is to install the dependencies. Once that is solved, installing from source should be as easy as ./configure && make && make install. See the manual for the configure options.


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different Debian versions may have slightly different package names but their differences should be pretty small, mostly limited to version numbers.

The easy way

The easy way to install most of the necessary dependencies is to sudo apt-get build-dep octave. This will install all packages necessary to build and prepare a Debian package for the octave version available on your system repositories. However:

  • will install unecessary packages related to the building of a Debian package;
  • may miss some new dependencies;
  • may install packages that are no longer octave dependencies.

The right way

The best way is to select and install all the dependencies as listed on the INSTALL.OCTAVE file. The following is their package names in Debian repositories (they will have their own dependencies which your package maintainer will solve automatically).

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Debian repositories has several libraries for dealing with HDF data files. The recommended is libhdf5-serial-dev. However, the msh package requires gmsh which is incompatible with it.
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the GraphicsMagick++ library (libgraphicsmagick++-dev) on the Debian repositories was compiled with quantum 8 which limits reading images to 8 bit. The solution is to recompile GraphicsMagick with quantum 32.
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if only the native graphics toolkit will be used, gnuplot will not be necessary.
  • build tools
g++ gcc gfortran make
  • external packages
libblas-dev liblapack-dev libpcre3-dev
  • optional but strongly recommended
libreadline-dev libarpack2-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev libfftw3-dev libfltk-dev libfontconfig1-dev libfreetype6-dev libglpk-dev libgraphicsmagick++-dev gnuplot libhdf5-serial-dev libgl-dev libqhull-dev libqrupdate-dev libsuitesparse-dev texinfo zlib1g-dev

Building development version

If you are building development versions, you'll require some more packages as listed on etc/HACKING. Many of them will already be installed on your system.

Note that the current development release you shuld run ./bootstrap instead of the old ./autogen

  • development tools
  • dependencies for the development release
qtcreator libqscintilla2-8 libqscintilla2-dev gtk2-engines-pixbuf