If I create the following program in C:

#include <stdio.h>

int main(){
    printf("Hello World");

And then compile it like so:

gcc helloworld.c -o helloworld

Is there any easy way to install helloworld on to my computer?

  • 2
    ehm it is already on your computer ;-) Next step: make it executable (chmod 664 helloworld) and then you can execute it with ./helloworld. – Rinzwind Nov 2 '15 at 10:43
  • But is there any way to install it so I can type helloworld into the terminal from any directory @Rinzwind – dangee1705 Nov 2 '15 at 10:47
  • 1
    That is not "installing" but copying it into a directory that is included in your PATH Something like sudo cp helloworld /usr/local/bin/. After you made it executable ;) – Rinzwind Nov 2 '15 at 10:49
  • @Rinzwind Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I can understand from reading this guide on deb packaging , that's kind of what really happens under the hood - the source files are packaged into deb file, once they arrive at a pc , the source is just compiled and executables are shoved into appropriate dirs. Correct ? – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Nov 2 '15 at 11:03

sudo install helloworld /usr/local/bin installs it to /usr/local/bin (read man install).

Btw, your helloworld.c should really be:

#include <stdio.h>

int main(void){
    printf("Hello World");
    return 0;

Is there any easy way to install helloworld on to my computer?

The next actions you need to do:

  1. make the file executable with chmod 775 helloworld from the directory where the file is.
  2. copy it over to a directory in your PATH. I would suggest sudo cp helloworld /usr/local/bin/ (local since it is your local system and bin since it is a binairy).

And then you can do


from any location on the system to have it print "Hello world".

  • 2
    Why 664? It'll make it unexcutable, 755 should be used. And gcc already makes it executable by default. – cylgalad Nov 2 '15 at 12:25

Without root permission the best thing for you to do is create a bin directory within your home directory and then add it to your PATH environment variable. So after creating a directory called bin in /home/$USER open ~/.bashrc in your favourite editor, for example gedit ~/.bashrc. You then need to add:

export PATH=$PATH:~/bin

What this is doing is appending ~/bin to the $PATH variable. Which is a list of directories to search for executables.

If you've got a terminal currently open, you need to reload the configuration what you can do by using the source command: source ~/.bashrc.

Finally you just need to copy the executable into that directory then you'll be able to run it as you would a normal command.

As pointed out by @Serg in the comments the ~/bin directory is included in the PATH set in ~/.profile. So alternatively you can simply edit ~/.profile and remove the comment from the PATH variable. Simply find the line:

# PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"

Then change it to the following and reload the terminal:

  • 2
    1 thing: this will make it possible to execute if from only this user you did this for. If you need it for more than 1 user use a global directory (like /usr/local/bin And yes that requires "sudo" permissions). – Rinzwind Nov 2 '15 at 10:53
  • Yes, if you require it to be executable for multiple users then @Rinzwind answer is the way to do it. It has the benefit of not needing to modify the PATH – AJefferiss Nov 2 '15 at 10:55
  • A side note: .profile actually contains the following line # PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH" , so the user alternatively could just uncomment that in their .profile file – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Nov 2 '15 at 10:55

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