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.

Here is a list of the latest Octave version available in some Linux distributions

  • Debian Mint 13, has Octave 3.6.2 as of June 28 2012
  • Zenwalk GNU Linux, Snapshot Version, has Octave 3.6.2 as of June 28 2012
  • Fedora 17, has Octave 3.6.2 as of June 28 2012
  • openSUSE 11.4 and 12.1, has Octave 3.6.2 (Science repository) as of June 28 2012

More detailed instructions follow.


   $ sudo 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 building from source, see the Debian instructions.

Unofficial binaries


Early versions of Fedora included Octave in the core distribution. Since Fedora Core 3, Octave has been included in Fedora Extras (and is generally better maintained now in Extras than it was in Core). The packages can be installed using the yum command, which will automatically download and install the packages along with all of their dependencies.

The related packages 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. To install Octave:

   # 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.


Octave is included with RedHat. If you are still using an old version of RedHat and want a newer version of 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 RedHat 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 octave (as of version 2.1.57), but the resulting binary will be bad. RedHat 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