Octave in home directory

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Installing in Userland is a methode to install GNU Octave next to your repository installation at the same time. This works with every Linux distribution and is especially for old Ubuntu LTS versions very profitable!

One advantage is that you do not clutter your system by running sudo make install. Another advantage is that you can keep your octave installation that is provided by your distribution.

1. Install dependencies

You need at least a set of developement utils.

For Debian (and Debian-based distributions)

 sudo apt-get install build-essential

For Arch Linux

 sudo pacman -S base-devel

For more informations, take a look at the ./configure summary and/or read INSTALL.OCTAVE! This is worth reading too.


Example for Ubuntu 12.04 alias, any animal...it's rough – no claim to completeness nor to correctness!

sudo apt-get install libblas-dev liblapack-dev libarpack2-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev epstool libfftw3-dev transfig  libfontconfig1-dev \
libfreetype6-dev libgl2ps-dev libglpk-dev libreadline-dev gnuplot libgraphicsmagick++-dev libhdf5-serial-dev openjdk-7-jdk  lpr texinfo \
libgl-dev* pstoedit libqhull-dev libqrupdate-dev libqscintilla2-dev libqt4-dev libqtcore4 libqtwebkit4 libqt4-network libqtgui4 \
libsuitesparse-dev libxft-dev zlib1g-dev autoconf automake bison flex gperf gzip libtool make perl rsync tar g++ gcc gfortran make wget \
libpcre++-dev llvm-3.3-dev libfltk1.3-dev texlive build-essential

2. Download Octave Sourcecode

Take a release from ftp.gnu.org, e.g. 3.8.0.

 wget ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/octave/octave-3.8.0.tar.bz2
 tar xfvj octave-3.8.0.tar.bz2
 cd octave-3.8.0/

or clone current stable branch

 hg clone http://hg.octave.org/octave/
 cd octave/

3. configure

Only if you want to install from mercurial (hg.octave.org), you have to do first:


Now it's time to run ./configure with a prefix that points to a directory in your home directory. E.g., my username is maxpower and I want to install Octave to ~/.octave38/

./configure --prefix=/home/maxpower/.octave38/

Pay attention to the configure summary at the end (See chapter 1).

4. make & make install

After you have successful configured octave without errors (warnings may be okey), you can run make. If you have a dual core cpu, you can run make with two threads like that (increase -j number if you have more cpu cores).

make -j2

This may take now ~30-300 Minutes (depends on the speed of your cpu and the size of your RAM) :)

Feel free to run make check too.

When make -j2 finished without errors, simply run without sudo/root permissions

make install

Octave will now be installed to /home/maxpower/.octave38/

5. create a smart bashrc entry

echo "alias octave38='~/.octave38/bin/octave'" >> ~/.bashrc
. ~/.bashrc # this will update your bashrc without doing logout and login!

If you simply enter octave, you'll start your repository installation provided by your distribution. But when you enter octave38, you'll start your new snappy octave version installed to your home directory.


Methode A

If you're still have the compiled source folder, just do make uninstall from it. And don't forget to remove the alias octave38 entry in your ~/.bashrc.

Methode B

Just delete (e.g. rm -rf ~/.octave38/) the install folder and remove the alias octave38 entry from your ~/.bashrc.