In this article, we describe how to install GNU Octave, an interpreted high-level language mainly intended for numerical calculations. It offers possibilities for the numerical solution of linear and nonlinear problems and for performing other numerical experiments. It also offers extensive graphical capabilities for data visualization and manipulation. Octave is normally used via its interactive command line interface, but can also be used to write non-interactive programs. The Octave language is quite similar to Matlab, so most programs are easily portable.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 Buster system.

Install GNU Octave 4.4.1 through the Software Manager

Installation

For a person who does not want to open the Command Line much, installing software present in the Debian repository through the UI is very simple. On your desktop Activities toolbar, click the Debian Software icon.

Activities center

In the following view, click on the search icon and enter GNU Octave in the search bar. The search results will display GNU Octave as follows:

GNU Octave

This is the package maintained by Debian Stable Main repository. However, this might not be the latest version of Octave, which at the time of writing this article is Octave 5.1.0. If you want to install the latest version of this software, please view the last section of this article.

From the Software Manager, click on the GNU Octave entry to open the following view:

GNU Octave installation package

Click the Install button to begin the installation process. The following authentication dialog will display for you to provide your authentication details as only an authorized user can install software on Debian.

Authenticate as admin

Enter your password and click the Authenticate button. After that, the installation process will begin, displaying a progress bar as follows.

Installing GNU Octave

GNU Octave will then be installed to your system and you will get the following message after a successful installation:

launch GNU Octave

Through the above dialog, you can choose to directly launch GNU Octave and even Remove it immediately for whatever reason.

Launch

You can launch GNU Octave through the UI any time you want by entering relevant keywords in the Application Launcher or access it directly from the Applications list.

GNU Octave Icon

When you launch Octave for the first time, the following dialog will open:

Welcome to Octave

This dialog gives you the information that Octave will create a configuration file, in the current user’s home directory in the .config (hidden) folder.

Please click Next to create the configuration file that is required by Octave to function. The following dialog will open:

Octave community news

Through this dialog, you can configure if you want Octave to connect to the official Octave website and provide you with Community News that includes current news and information. You can uncheck this item and check for community news through the Help menu of the Octave GUI, only when you wish to. Click Next.

Enjoy using Octave

This is just the information about how to access Octave support and documentation. Please click Finish, after which you are ready to use Octave.

GNU Octave

Install the Latest version of Octave

As mentioned above, the official Debian repository does not include the latest version of Octave as of now. You can check which version of Octave you have by clicking the About Octave option from the Help menu in GNU Octave GUI.

Version info

The official Octave website lists Octave 5.1.0 as the latest release. If you want to get that version, follow these steps:

Open your Debian command line, the Terminal, through the Application Launcher search. For now, no PPA repository contains the latest and stable version of Octave, therefore we will use the Flatpak utility to install Octave from the Flathub repository.

Please enter the following command in order to install Flatpak if it already not installed on your system:

$ sudo apt-get install flatpak

Install Flatpak

The system will ask you for the password for sudo as only authorized user can install, remove and configure software on Debian. The system will prompt you with a Y/n to confirm the beginning of the installation procedure. Enter Y and then hit Enter. The installation process will begin and might take some time depending on your Internet speed. Flatpak then will be installed on your system.

The next step is to add the Flathub repository that contains the latest Octave package through the following command:

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

Add GNU Octave repository to FlatPak

The Flathub repository will be added to your system.

Finally, enter the following command in order to install the latest version of Octave:

$ flatpak install flathub org.octave.Octave

Install GNU Octave using Flatpak

Enter Y to start the installation procedure. The Octave package is around 1.3 GB in size and might take long depending on your Internet speed.

Launch

In order to launch this package rather than the traditional GNU Octave package, run the following command in your Terminal:

$ flatpak run org.octave.Octave

Remove

If you want to remove the GNU Octave package installed through Flatpak, you can use the following command:

$ flatpak uninstall org.octave.Octave

You can then uninstall flatpak, if you need to, through the following command:

$ sudo apt-get remove flatpak

Hopefully, when the Debian official repository updates with the latest Octave version, the installation procedure will become much more simple. Till then, this article is here for your help!

How to Install GNU Octave on Debian 10
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Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn