I was trying to configure the kernel and I got the following error. Can somebody please tell me what I should do?

root@nitr-desktop:/usr/src/linux# make menuconfig
 *** Unable to find the ncurses libraries or the
 *** required header files.
 *** 'make menuconfig' requires the ncurses libraries.
 *** Install ncurses (ncurses-devel) and try again.
make[1]: *** [scripts/kconfig/dochecklxdialog] Error 1
make: *** [menuconfig] Error 2
  • 7
    Try installing first libncurses5: sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev
    – smile
    Mar 20, 2013 at 11:37

3 Answers 3


Open up your terminal and install libncurses-dev by using this command:

sudo apt-get install libncurses-dev
  • 1
    Not found. This should be ncurses-dev as in the answer below.
    – user643722
    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:00
  • @user643722: What's the problem? apt-cache show libncurses-dev yields N: Can't select versions from package 'libncurses-dev' as it is purely virtual, which means I could install it like the answer says. Oct 4, 2016 at 16:46
  • 3
    libncurses-dev works for me. Feb 3, 2018 at 21:00
  • I know this is ubuntu, but it's still my top result for debian searches... debian uses libncurses5-dev
    – isaaclw
    Aug 14, 2018 at 15:21
  • I got a cannot find -lncursesw which I solved using the other answer: apt install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev. Upvote it too.
    – marcelocra
    Feb 11, 2019 at 23:51

Above problem solved now. all I did was:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ncurses-dev
  • It says Note, selecting 'libncurses5-dev' instead of 'ncurses-dev'. But I specifically need libncurses-dev instead of libncurses5-dev. Nov 24, 2019 at 9:21

Tested on Ubuntu 17.04

You should install libncurses5-dev and libncursesw5-dev:

apt install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev

References: https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/linux-install-ncurses-library-headers-on-debian-ubuntu-centos-fedora/


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