Compiling Octave 3.8

Instead of this, use either:

This procedure was not possible to easily complete on Ubuntu 18.04. For those needing to maintain Octave *.m code compatibility with CentOS 7, which has only Octave 3.8 in EPEL, consider using Octave 3.8 on WINE. A partial goal was minimizing need for prereqs, which increase chance of build not working due to old source code vs. current libraries.

This procedure no longer works on current Ubuntu versions, but is retained for reference and to let others know it doesn’t work anymore.

  1. Prerequisites
     apt install g++ gfortran automake libreadline-dev libncurses5-dev gperf libblas-dev liblapack-dev libfftw3-dev less libpcre3-dev flex libglpk-dev libsuitesparse-dev gawk ghostscript libcurl4-gnutls-dev libqhull-dev libgl2ps-dev libftgl-dev libfontconfig1-dev libqrupdate-dev libarpack2-dev default-jdk dpkg-dev gnuplot-x11 libbison-dev libxft-dev llvm-dev
  2. Download Octave 3.8 source and extract
    tar -xf octave-*.tar.bz2
  3. Modern GCC/G++/Gfortran doesn’t compile old Octave 3.8. We recommend GCC 5, which can be enabled through update-alternatives:
    update-alternatives --config g++
    update-alternatives --config gcc
    update-alternatives --config gfortran
  4. edit libinterp/corefcn/ to remove #include "graphics.h"
  5. Configure Octave
    ./configure --prefix=$HOME/.local/octave38 --disable-docs --without-opengl --without-cholmod --without-amd

    Cholmod is omitted because current library version is incompatible with Octave 3.8.

    The resulting console output.

  6. Compile Octave: takes about 30-60 minutes
    make -j -l 4 CFLAGS=-O CXXFLAGS=-O LDFLAGS=
    make check

    PASS 11503 FAIL 0 XFAIL 7

     make install
     ln -s $HOME/.local/octave38/bin/octave $HOME/.local/bin/octave3.8

Octave 3.8 GUI (if compiled) is used by:

octave3.8 --force-gui


LLVM version

Per mtmiller, Octave 3.8 requires LLVM 3.2 or 3.3.

surf() FLTK plotting bug

When you need surf(), workaround by falling back to gnuplot in Octave 3.8:




Written by Michael Hirsch, Ph.D. //