I am trying to install Electron Direct Methods (edm: http://www.numis.northwestern.edu/edm/) code on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit, standard install. This requires a standard configure - make - make install routine, which worked well on Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit. However, configure fails on the present 14.04 system with the following message:

checking for X... no
I cannot find a working X Window System
You may need to set --x-includes=dir and --x-libraries=dir
Giving up........sorry

What gives? I thought all Linux systems including Ubuntu use X11. On this system, X in /etc/X11 points to /usr/bin/Xorg and /usr/lib/xorg has just one modules directory. Is X to be specifically installed, or are there other directories to point --x-includes and --x-libraries to?


Just because a system uses the X windows system, it doesn't mean it necessarily ships with the header files and development libraries necessary to build X windows based applications - in fact, most don't.

If you don't know exactly which X development packages the software requires then, unless your system is severely limited by disk space, probably the easiest thing is to install the xorg-dev convenience package:

Description-en: X.Org X Window System development libraries
 This metapackage provides the development libraries for the X.Org X Window

You can do so either from the Software Center or other GUI package manager, or from the commandline using

sudo apt-get install xorg-dev
  • I could not determine the package that X header files; install xorg-dev did the trick. Thanks. Being a user rather than a programmer I missed the important fact "Just because a system uses the X windows system ..." – tagMacher Jan 17 '15 at 5:27

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