Posted by: fdmanana | December 23, 2009

Building Erlang OTP on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

Recently I decided to try the latest Erlang OTP release (R13B03). Since it’s going to take sometime to have the Ubuntu packages available, I’ve download the sources from and built it.

During the configure step I was getting a warning telling me that it couldn’t find the WX widgets libraries for linkage, despite the fact that I installed all the WX widgets dev libraries.

On the IRC channel #erlang at the server FreeNode, someone told me I would need to install the freeglut3-dev package (an utilities library for OpenGL). That eliminated the warning. I still wonder why the warning message was related to the WX widgets library.

So, the full list of packages you need to install in order to build Erlang OTP without a single warning in the configure phase is:

$ aptitude install build-essential wx-common wx2.8-headers libwxgtk2.8-dev unixodbc-dev libncurses-dev fop freeglut3-dev flex bison perl5 java6-sdk libsctp-dev libcrypto-dev libssl-dev

NOTE: an apt-get build-dep erlang didn’t work for me, as it didn’t install the freeglut3-dev package.

After building, you’ll likely want to have the man pages, so download their tarball from and extract it into $PREFIX/lib/erlang, where $PREFIX is the installation directory for Erlang OTP (/opt/erlang-otp in my case). Test it by running erl -man lists for example.

It would be nice if Erlang’s OTP had its README file listing the necessary packages for building it on the most popular GNU/Linux distributions (Debian based and RedHat based distros for e.g.).



  1. Hi,

    did you get wx running by installing this way?

    Erlnag works out fine right out of the box for me, but wx does not. Or do you know if I have to do something to activate wx?


  2. Sorry, I was being confused. You built Erlang from source also. That worked for me too, using wx from the version in the Ubuntu repository did not.


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