Step by Step Guide to Installing MATLAB on Linux

Installing MATLAB On Linux

MATLAB or Matrix Laboratory is a programming and numeric computing platform used by millions of engineers and scientists to analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models. It is a staple for any sort of numerical or mathematical programming. In this article, we will learn how to install and use MATLAB on Linux.

Step 1. Obtain MATLAB license

Since MATLAB is proprietary software, we need a license to use it. You can obtain a license from MathWorks Store. MATLAB by default offers four types of licenses. Standard, Education, Student, and Home. Mathworks also offers a free 30-day trial license which I will be installed in this tutorial.

To obtain the trial license, enter your university or organisation’s email ID here.

Matlab Trial 1

After you enter your Email ID, A verification email will be sent to your inbox which requires you to enter your details and how you plan to use the product. Regardless of the license you choose, after verification is completed, you will be greeted with the MATLAB Dashboard where you can download the software.

Matlab Dashboard
Matlab Dashboard

Step 2. Downloading MATLAB

To download MATLAB, click the “Install MATLAB on your computer” and then “Download for Linux”.

Matlab Linux Download

This will download a zip file that contains your MATLAB software.

Step 3. Install MATLAB

To install MATLAB, we must first unzip the downloaded folder. However, before unzipping, we will first make a separate folder, in which we can unzip the downloaded folder. Here I am naming that folder “matlab” but you can name it anything.

To do that execute the following in the terminal.

mkdir matlab
unzip -d matlab

You can replace with the name of your downloaded folder.

Unzip Matlab

Now go to the folder in which you unzipped all the files and execute the install script.

cd matlab 

This will prompt an installation wizard asking you to log in.

Matlab Installer

After entering the email and password, you will be asked to select your license, select the destination folder, the products you want to install, and whether you want to create symbolic links in the root directory.

Destination Folder Matlab

Note: It is possible that you don’t have sudo privileges, in which case, the installer will refuse to select /usr/local/ as the destination folder. In that case, you choose /home/ as your destination folder and so no to creating symbolic links.

After everything is done, it will install the product.

Mathworks Product Installer

Step 4. Launch MATLAB

If you made symbolic links during the installation, you can launch Matlab by simply typing matlab in terminal.

If you cannot make symbolic links, then all the launch scripts are placed in the /bin/ folder where you installed MATLAB.

To launch MATLAB. Go to the bin folder of the destination directory and execute the following.

Launch Matlab

You may not want to browse to this folder and execute .matlab every time you have to start MATLAB. In that case, you can make an alias (like the one shown below) and add it to ~/.bashrc

alias matlab="~/matlab/bin/matlab" 

Matlab Alias

Finally, you have installed MATLAB and can start working on it.

Installed Matlab


In this article, we learned how to download, install and set up MATLAB, a product of Mathworks. Now you can start using MATLAB for your modeling projects without ever switching to Mac or Windows. Keep exploring!