I am running Ubuntu 12.04.

I'm trying to a get a particular plugin for vim working and it requires that vim has ruby support enabled (the plugin is command-t).

People tell me that I must go into my vim directory and run

./configure --enable-rubyinterp

When i do this i get the following error:

    no terminal library found
checking for tgetent()... configure: error: NOT FOUND!
      You need to install a terminal library; for example ncurses.
      Or specify the name of the library with --with-tlib.

Now I’ve checked and ncurses-base is installed.

What do I need to do?

  • 4
    I think you should install a ncurses-dev library Jul 1, 2012 at 16:35
  • could you provide the contents of src/auto/config.log Jul 1, 2012 at 16:37
  • thank you epsilon, that solved it. Could you make that into answer so i can give you credit
    – Fawkes5
    Jul 1, 2012 at 17:22

5 Answers 5


I think you should install a ncurses-dev library.

you can do so by running sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev

  • 1
    I'm running ubuntu 16.10 and couldn't find a package "ncurses-dev" . I finally found that installing libtinfo-dev did the trick. Jan 17, 2017 at 0:39
  • 4
    on ubuntu 16.04: sudo apt-get install ncurses-dev
    – Gary
    Mar 27, 2017 at 16:13
  • Latest apt repositories select libncurses5-dev over ncurses-dev
    – NerdOfCode
    Sep 9, 2019 at 20:32
  • on CentOS: sudo yum install ncurses-devel If fixed this checking for working terminal libraries... Cannot find terminal libraries - configure failed
    – rogerdpack
    Apr 7, 2021 at 17:07

Run sudo apt-get build-dep vim to install all the packages that was used to build the vim package from the repositories.

  • + 1 for the build-dep command
    – rookiepig
    Sep 27, 2016 at 9:58

if you don't have sudo access, the solution is as follows:

download the latest (or whichever) release of ncurses from http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/ncurses/

run these bash commands:

mkdir ~/usr/local
cd <path_to_ncurses>
tar xzvf <ncurses>.tar.gz # change the tar command if it is not a tar.gz
cd <ncurses>
./configure --prefix=$HOME/usr/local
make install
cd <path_to_vim>
LDFLAGS=-L$HOME/usr/local/lib ./configure # then add any options e.g. --prefix=$HOME/usr/local
make install

And there you go. It's not often that people don't have sudo access to a machine, but this was my case, and this thread didn't provide the information I needed :) Now it does

  • 2
    In my case, the above step is still not good enough. I need to add $HOME/usr/local/lib to LD_LIBRARY_PATH as well. May 2, 2016 at 20:57

I'm running ubuntu 16.10 and couldn't get vim 8.0 to compile. Googling the issue told me to install a package ncurses-dev but I couldn't find that package. I finally found that installing package libtinfo-dev did the trick and I was able to compile vim.


Based on my experience, I did sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev.

I was on Ubuntu 14.04. It worked.

  • Does it add anything to the accepted answer?
    – Anwar
    May 12, 2017 at 16:23
  • # sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done libncurses5-dev is already the newest version (6.0+20160213-1ubuntu1). libncursesw5-dev is already the newest version (6.0+20160213-1ubuntu1). 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 40 not upgraded. ............................still getting err : /usr/bin/ld: help.o: undefined reference to symbol 'delwin@@NCURSES_5.0.19991023' Oct 17, 2017 at 12:06
  • //usr/local/lib/libncurses.so.5: error adding symbols: DSO missing from command line collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status Makefile:18: recipe for target 'omnitty' failed make: *** [omnitty] Error 1 Oct 17, 2017 at 12:06

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