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How to install GNU Octave on Linux

GNU Octave is an interpretive command language for scientific and mathematical computational operations. It is compatible with Matlab and supports a wide variety of extensions that allow users to solve ordinary mathematic operations, or even complicated expressions and equations, etc.

Octave is a part of the GNU project, and as a result, the program is widely available on most modern Linux operating systems via an installable package. Additionally, it is possible to get it via Flatpak on Flathub.

If you need to get your hands on the latest version of GNU Octave on Linux but are unsure about how to go about it, we can help! Here’s how to install GNU Octave on Linux!

Ubuntu instructions

Ubuntu carries the GNU Octave application in its primary software sources. If you’d like to install it, here’s what to do. First, start by opening up a terminal window on the desktop by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard.

With the terminal window open and ready, it’s possible to install the GNU Octave tool on your Ubuntu Linux PC with the following Apt command below.

sudo apt install octave

After running the above Apt command, Octave will be ready to use on Ubuntu. However, it’s just the base program. You’ll need to install the extensions and other Octave packages in the Ubuntu software repos to get access to more features.

Accessing the Octave extensions is best done by using the Apt search command.

apt search octave

Or, if you don’t feel like scrolling through the list to sort out the Octave packages, add in the grep command.

apt search octave- | grep 'ocatve-'

To install, look through the package list, write out the name that appears in the search and run the apt install command.

sudo apt install octave-name

Alternatively, install every single Octave package by using the wildcard (*).

sudo apt install octave-* -y

Debian instructions

On Debian Linux, GNU Octave is in the official software sources. The reason that Debian carries Octave is that it is open source. To install it, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, get the app up and running with the following Apt-get command.

sudo apt-get install octave

Need access to some of the other optional packages available for GNU Octave that don’t install when you run the command above. No problem! You can grab what you want by making use of the apt-get search command.

apt-get search octave-*

Or, add in grep for an easier to read list of packages.

apt-get search octave-* | grep 'octave-*'

Read through and find the names of the Octave packages you’d like to install.

sudo apt-get install octave-name

Or, take out the tediousness of reading individual packages and load up everything at once, using the wildcard (*).

sudo apt-get install octave-* -y

Arch Linux instructions

On a lot of Linux distributions, GNU Octave comes parted out into different, individual packages. With Arch Linux, this isn’t the case. Instead, there’s only one package that gives you access to everything you need, in the “Community” software repository.

To gain access to “Community,” open up your /etc/pacman.conf file, and edit it to enable it as a software repository. After that, launch a terminal window and use the Pacman package manager to install the latest release of GNU Octave on your system.

sudo pacman -S octave

Fedora instructions

Fedora Linux has had the GNU Octave software in their program repository for quite a while. If you’re a user of Fedora and want to install the Octave application, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard. Then, use the DNF command below to get it working.

sudo dnf install octave -y

Want to access all of the optional GNU Octave packages that don’t install on Fedora Linux by default? Run the dnf search command.

dnf search octave-*

The search feature on Fedora’s package manager is quite powerful, so there’s no need to add in the grep command. Just pick and choose the packages you’d like and install them with the command below.

sudo dnf install octave-name -y

Or, install everything in one go with:

sudo dnf install octave-* -y

OpenSUSE instructions

Are you an OpenSUSE user? Looking to get your hands on the latest GNU Octave for your system? Here’s how to get it going.

Start by opening up a terminal. Then, use the Zypper command to install the Octave application.

sudo zypper install octave

Much like the other operating systems on this list we’ve covered, SUSE has a long list of optional GNU Octave packages that can be installed. To find them, use the zypper search command.

zypper search octave | grep 'octave-'

Once the search results print on the screen, look through and install the ones you want with the following command.

sudo zypper install octave-name

Flatpak instructions

The GNU Octave application is up on Flathub, which is good news if you need access to the application but can’t find it on your Linux operating system. To get it going, you’ll need to have the Flatpak runtime up and running. For more information on how to do that, click here.

Once the Flatpak runtime is installed correctly on your Linux PC, GNU Octave can easily be installed with the terminal commands below.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

flatpak install flathub org.octave.Octave

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