Fix Matlab network license authorization

Matlab should generally be installed NOT using sudo. Upon upgrading operating system, or if you installed Matlab on a laptop using a docking station, and then run off the docking station, Matlab may complain about a changed host ID.

Fix Matlab network license

This procedure is for where Matlab is already installed, but won’t open the desktop due to a licensing error.

Start Matlab activation:

$(dirname $(realpath $(which matlab)))/


get Host ID

Assuming it’s a laptop with permanently installed WiFi (as most laptops have), use your WiFi MAC/host ID, obtained via:

ip a

look for the WiFi link/ether hexadecimal value. If connected to the internet via WiFi, you can confirm the correct device by comparing the value for inet or inet6 vs.

Install/reinstall Matlab

Install to your home directory and do NOT use sudo.

  1. Make a directory for Matlab installs

    mkdir ~/.local/matlab
  2. Start the Matlab install NOT as root or sudo

  3. Install to like ~/.local/matlab/R2018a

  4. Activate via Internet and sign in to select the license key