How to Run C/C++ Programs in Linux [Terminal & Eclipse]

Brief: This tutorial teaches you to run C and C++ programs in Linux terminal. It also show the steps to setup a C++ development environment in Ubuntu Linux using Eclipse IDE.

I have been requested more than once to write an easy-to-follow tutorial to run C++ programs in Linux. In this guide, I’ll discuss:

The process is pretty much similar to running C program in Linux.

Do note that I am using Ubuntu Linux while writing this article but the same steps are valid for other Linux distributions based on Ubuntu, such as Linux Mint, elementary OS, etc.

Prerequisite: Install build-essential

If you want to do coding in Ubuntu Linux, you should install build-essential package. It consists of various software that you will need to compile programs, including gcc and g++ compilers.

You may install gcc on Ubuntu and other distributions separately as well but the build-essential has additional tools that you may need.

Normally, build-essential should already be installed on your system. But to make sure, run the command below:

sudo apt install build-essential
Run C++ programs in Ubuntu Linux

Method 1: Compile and run C++ program in Linux terminal

Once the build-essential is installed, you are ready to code in C++. I believe that you already know how to code in C++, even a little bit. Our main aim is to see how to compile and run C++ programs in the terminal.

Let’s take an example of the swap program which I wrote in a file named swap.cpp. The content of this file is the following:

Sample C++ program in Ubuntu Linux

You can save the program wherever you want.

Compile C++ code in the Linux terminal

To compile the program, go to the directory where you have saved the cpp file and use the command in the following format:

g++ -o swap swap.cpp

Basically, with the -o option, you are telling the compiler to generate the executable code in file swap. If you don’t do that, it will default to a.out file, which is not a good programming practice.

Run C++ code in the Linux terminal

Once you have compiled the code, you’ll get the executable file. You just need to run it in the following manner:

./swap

This will run your code.

You can refer to this gif for a better demonstration of running a C++ program in Ubuntu Linux.

Running C++ program in Ubuntu Linux

Method 2: Setup Eclipse for C++ programming in Ubuntu Linux

That was the basic way of running a C++ program in Linux. But if you are working on a C++ project, building and running individual files would be a nightmare.

This is where Integrated Development Environment (IDE) comes in picture. One can argue a lot about the best IDE for Linux, but if you ask for my advice, I’ll say go ahead with Eclipse. This is the best IDE for C++ development, in my opinion. Did I mention that it is also open source?

Recommended Read:

Install Eclipse in Ubuntu-based Linux distributions

For Ubuntu Linux, you can simply click on the link below to install Eclipse from Ubuntu Software Center.

Alternatively, you can install it using apt-get commands in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install eclipse

Install Eclipse C++ Development Tooling (CDT) Plugin

Once you have it installed, it is time to prepare it for C++ development. By default, Eclipse is configured for Java development.

To configure it for C++ development, we need to install a plugin called C++ Development Tooling (CDT). To install CDT:

Step 1:

In the Eclipse menu, go to Help and then select Install New Software.

Install Eclipse CDT Plugin for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

Step 2:

Next, click on the “Available Software Sites” link.

Install Eclipse CDT Plugin for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

Step 3:

In the next step, search for CDT and check the box to select it for installation. Click OK afterward.

Install Eclipse CDT Plugin for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

Step 4:

In here, select the newly added source from the drop down. It will now show you the option for C++ CDT. Just select C++ Development Tools here.

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

A few click on the Next button.

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

Accept the terms, of course.

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

It will get the software from the repository and install it.

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

Once the installation is finished, you need to restart Eclipse.

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

Compile and run C++ program with Eclipse CDT

You’ll see the information about C++ Plugin at the next start.

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

You can now import or create C++ projects.

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux
Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

Once you have everything ready, you can compile the C++ project and run it:

Configure Eclipse for C++ development in Ubuntu Linux

That’s all you need to start with C++ development in Ubuntu Linux. I hope you found this article useful. Questions and suggestions are welcomed.

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