How to Install Zlib on Ubuntu Linux

Zlib is an open source library for used for data compression.

As an end user, you are likely to encounter the need of installing Zlib (or zlib devel package) as a dependency of another application.

But here comes the problem. If you try installing Zlib on Ubuntu, it will throw “unable to locate package zlib” error.

sudo apt install zlib
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
E: Unable to locate package zlib

Why do you see this unable to locate package error? Because there is no package named zlib.

If you use the apt search command, you’ll find that the there are a couple of packages that let you install zlib: zlib1g and zlib1g-dev. When you have that information, installing them is just one apt command away.

Install Zlib on Ubuntu-based Linux distributions

Open a terminal and use the following command:

sudo apt install zlib1g

Please keep in mind that the the letter before g is 1 (one), not lowercase L. Many people make this mistake while typing the command.

The other package, zlib1g-dev is development package. Only install it if you require it otherwise you should be good with the main runtime zlib1g package.

sudo apt install zlib1g-dev

You may also download the source code of Zlib from its website and install it. However, I won’t recommend going the source code way just for installing zlib unless you have a good reason to do so. For example, if you need the latest or a specific version of zlib which is not available in the distribution’s repository.

It is interesting how a seemingly small stuff like installing zlib could become a pain for two reasons: a different package name and the package name containing a “hidden” numeral one (1) which is confused with lowercase L.

I hope this quick tip helps you. Feel free to drop your questions, suggestions or a simple “thank you” in the comment section.

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    • I said that zlib is not executable. It cannot be run like a command or application. It is a library and needed as dependency by other packages. Which is what’s happening in your case when you try install gpac.

  • Thank-you for your post – I believe I have downloaded zlib, but I cannot find the programme anywhere on the computer. Do I need to unpack it or similar? Apologies! I have read forums and still confused. Terminal data below:

    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    zlib1g is already the newest version (1:1.2.11.dfsg-2ubuntu1.2).
    The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
    libllvm10 linux-headers-5.4.0-74 linux-headers-5.4.0-74-generic linux-headers-5.4.0-80 linux-headers-5.4.0-80-generic
    linux-image-5.4.0-74-generic linux-image-5.4.0-80-generic linux-modules-5.4.0-74-generic linux-modules-5.4.0-80-generic
    linux-modules-extra-5.4.0-74-generic linux-modules-extra-5.4.0-80-generic shim
    Use ‘sudo apt autoremove’ to remove them.
    0 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 0 to remove and 16 not to upgrade.