Ubuntu is great, but their Software Center doesn’t always offer the most up-to-date builds. Here’s step-by-step instructions on building the Arduino IDE from source and adding it to the Applications menu for easy launching.
The convenience of installing software through the Ubuntu Software Center is that you’ll receive updates via
$ sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade, along with the fact that all of the behind-the-scenes work of adding the program to your system’s menu is handled for you. The down-side is, at the time of publication, the version of the Arduino IDE offered by the Software Center was 1.0.5+dfsg2-2. That bad-boy was last updated January 8, 2014, which is about 14 months and 20 releases ago. Granted, I’ve been using that build since it came out and have never had any issues with it at all, but it was time for an upgrade to the latest and greatest.
Check and see which version the Ubuntu Software Center is currently offering. If its something you can live with, install it through the Software Center and move on with your life. If its not the one you want, proceed to step #2.
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Here we see that they’re still offering the incredibly old
Version: 1:1.0.5+dfsg2-2, so we’ll move on to step #2.
Find the source files for the version that you do want. The current Arduino IDE source files can be found on their homepage. Sidebar: there’s recently been a rift amongst the founders of the Arduino organization. Be sure you’re on the ‘.cc’ domain and not the ‘.org’. Based on your system’s architecture, download the appropriate file (e.g. 32 vs 64 bit).
Assuming that you’re already located in your
$HOME directory, move the file you just downloaded (probably in
~/Downloads :D) to your
$HOME directory and extract it. Don’t forget to ditch the archive after you extract it, you won’t be needing it any more.
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If you don’t mind
cd-ing into the
~/arduino-1.6.1 directory and running
bash arduino every time you want to launch the program, you can stop here. For those of you who are a little more lazy like myself, we’ll next be creating an application launcher. Note: I’m currently using Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS with Gnome Flashback Metacity. The file locations may differ slightly depending on which distribution/desktop environment you’re using…but you’ll figure it out.
First, create the file
/usr/share/applications/arduino.desktop and include the following information therein.
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You’ve got to make your new file executable, so…
Finally, you just need to check to see if the application launcher file is free from errors.
If no errors are returned and you get back a ready command-prompt, you’re in business.
That’s it. You should now be able to browse to
Applications/Programming/Arduino from the panel up top and the Arduino IDE should fire right up. No longer are you bound to the crusty old releases in the Ubuntu Software Center!