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I'm surprised (and disappointed) to see that the classic ray-tracing program povray has been dropped from the repositories on 12.04. What is the best way to install it? It doesn't appear that anyone has prepared a PPA for precise.

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POV-Ray is now released under the Affero GPL, so it will probably return to the repositories within a few releases. – Mechanical snail Nov 14 '13 at 19:27
up vote 8 down vote accepted


From the povray distribution license is not a GPL2+ or 3+ license that normally is the requirement for incorporation into the main ubuntu repositories.

Indeed - debian classify this as non-free - although why this package was not made available into multiverse, I'm not sure.


It's actually very simple to compile this command line application from source:

First install some prerequisites:

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Now download the source-code:


tar -zxvf povray-3.6.tar.gz
cd povray-3.6.1

Now configure it:

./configure COMPILED_BY="yourname <>"

N.B. use your email address.

Next - compile and install:

sudo make install

for the uninitiated...

This is an example output

save the contents from here as povpawn.pov

Now run povray

povray +Ipovpawn.pov

This will create a file in your folder called povpawn.png

enter image description here

More information from the povray website:

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Worked like a charm. – Barton Chittenden Aug 13 '13 at 12:51
unfortunately, this won't work anymore because the archive is no longer hosted at - look at the github answer below. – Catherine Holloway Mar 31 '14 at 18:33
@CatherineHolloway: The old version is still available, the URL is…. It's already compiled and should work out of the box. Use the contained install command (via sudo) to install it. – Florian Brucker Jun 17 '14 at 21:25

You can get the newest POV-Ray version from github:

Get the source code

git clone

Install required packages

sudo apt-get install libboost-dev zlib1g-dev libpng12-dev libjpeg8-dev libtiff5-dev libopenexr-dev

Configure, Make, Install

cd unix/
cd ../
./configure COMPILED_BY="your name <email@address>" 
sudo make install
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On 14.04 64bit, I ran ./configure --with-boost-libdir=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu COMPILED_BY="my name <my-email-address>" – knb May 4 '14 at 10:59
For those who are having boost thread issues when running ./configure: sudo apt-get install libboost-all-dev – user824294 May 24 '14 at 0:53

I followed the instruction on the POv-Ray website, and did not encounter much problems during installation.

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