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How to install Riot on Linux

Riot is a universal chat client powered by Matrix, an open protocol that makes it easy to chat with friends, team members, co-workers, etc. It comes features that users would expect out of proprietary solutions like Slack and is a good alternative if you would prefer an open solution for IM communication on Linux and other platforms. Here’s how you can install Riot on Linux.

Ubuntu instructions

The Riot client is available on Ubuntu via their official software repository. To enable it, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. After that, start the installation process by installing some dependencies required to access the repo.

sudo apt install -y lsb-release apt-transport-https

With the two packages required to interact with the repo enabled, use the wget command to download the GPG key, so that Ubuntu can access the software repo.

sudo wget -O /usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg https://packages.riot.im/debian/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg

Once the key is taken care of, add the official Riot software server to your Ubuntu Linux PC.

echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg] https://packages.riot.im/debian/ $(lsb_release -cs) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/riot-im.list

Run the update command to finish setting up the Riot repo.

sudo apt update

Finally, install the application on Ubuntu with:

sudo apt install riot-web

Debian instructions

The developers have released a software repository for Riot for Ubuntu that also works on Debian 9. If you’d like to use it, open up a terminal window and start by installing lsb-release and apt-transport-https.

sudo apt-get install lsb-release apt-transport-https

Following installing the packages on your system, use the wget app to download the GPG release key.

sudo wget -O /usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg https://packages.riot.im/debian/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg

Next, use the echo command to enable the Riot software repository on the system.

echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/riot-im-archive-keyring.gpg] https://packages.riot.im/debian/ $(lsb_release -cs) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/riot-im.list

Run the update command on Debian so that it can see the new software source.

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install Riot on Debian with the apt-get install command.

sudo apt-get install riot-web

Arch Linux instructions

The Riot application doesn’t have an official package for Arch Linux, and the developers don’t plan to support it. However, there is an unofficial AUR package out there for users to install.

To install the unofficial Riot AUR app, open up a terminal window and start by installing “Base-devel” and “Git” using Pacman.

sudo pacman -S base-devel git

The “Base-devel” and “Git” packages are taken care of. Now use the git clone command to download the latest release of the Trizen AUR helper application. Getting this app is critical, as it will make building and installing Riot automatic, rather than tedious and time-consuming.

git clone  https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git

Install the Trizen application on your Arch Linux PC using makepkg.

cd trizen
makepkg -sri

With the Trizen AUR helper up and running on Arch Linux, you’ll be able to install the Riot application using the command below quickly.

trizen -S riot-desktop-git

Snap package instructions

It’s no secret that the Riot app developers don’t have a lot of interest in making official package releases for Fedora, OpenSUSE, and other less popular Linux operating systems. Thankfully, the people over at Canonical have created a Snap package of Riot that anyone running Snapd can install from the store.

To get the Snap release of Riot working on Linux, you’ll need to follow our guide on how to install the Snap runtime. Alternatively, if you’re not able to get Snaps working on the distro you’re running, consider trying out the Flatpak release instead.

Once the Snap runtime is taken care of, installation is straightforward. Just run the snap install command below to get going!

sudo snap install riot-web

Flatpak instructions

Riot is on the Flathub Flatpak app store. If you’re a Linux user in need of the app but can’t use the official software repository, this is your best bet (aside from the Snap release.)

To get the Flatpak version of Riot, start by installing the Flatpak package on your PC and enabling Flathub. Don’t know how to set up Flatpak on your Linux PC? We can help! Head over to our guide on how to set up the Flatpak runtime on your system.

With the Flatpak runtime up and running on your computer, use the commands below to install Riot.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo 
flatpak install flathub im.riot.Riot

Source code

For most people unable to access Riot via the official software repositories, the Flatpak and Snap solutions work fine. That said, if you don’t like Snap or Flatpak on your Linux PC and need access to Riot, the source code is a good option.

To build and install the code from source, head over to the official GitHub page for Riot. On the page, it outlines how to install the dependencies, how to build and install the Matrix protocol, set up Yarn, and a bunch of other things required to run the app.

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