Linux C Programming

Linux is a developer’s paradise because it is an open-source operating system, freely available and offers free programming tools for all popular programming languages. In this article, we will explain you how to write, compile and run a simple C program on Ubuntu Linux. This will serve you as a foundation to move on to more complicated and useful C programs that you can write and run on Linux.

We have run the steps and commands mentioned in this article on an Ubuntu 22.04 LTS system, but it works exactly the same on other versions like Ubuntu 20.04 or on Debian 11.

To compile a simple C program, we use the Linux command-line tool, the terminal. To open the terminal, you can use the Ubuntu Dash or the key combination Ctrl+Alt+T.

Step 1: Install the build-essential packages

In order to compile and execute a C program, you need to have the essential packages installed on your system. Enter the following command as root in your Linux Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential

Install build-essential packages with apt

You will be asked to enter the password for root; the installation process will begin after that. Please make sure that you are connected to the internet.

Step 2: Write a simple C program

After installing the essential packages, let us write a simple C program.

Open Ubuntu’s graphical Text Editor and write or copy the following sample program into it:


int main()
printf("\nA sample C program\n\n");
return 0;

Then save the file with .c extension. In this example, I am naming my C program as sampleProgram.c

Example C program

Alternatively, you can write the C program through the Terminal in gedit as follows:

$ gedit sampleProgram.c

This will create a .c file where you can write and save a program.

Step 3: Compile the C program with gcc Compiler

In your Terminal, enter the following command in order to make an executable version of the program you have written:


$ gcc [programName].c -o programName


$ gcc sampleProgram.c -o sampleProgram

Compile sourcecode with gcc

Make sure your program is located in your Home folder. Otherwise, you will need to specify appropriate paths in this command.

Step 4: Run the program

The final step is to run the compiled C program. Use the following syntax to do so:

$ ./programName


$ ./sampleProgram

Start our compiled program

You can see how the program is executed in the above example, displaying the text we wrote to print through it.

Through this article, you have learned how to write, compile and run a simple C program in Linux. All you need is the essential packages and the right skills to make you a programming guru in Linux!

How to Write and Run a C Program in Linux