How to Install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

JetBrains’ CLion is a beacon of efficiency and innovation in Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). Tailored for C and C++ developers, CLion’s reputation as a top-tier IDE is well-deserved, thanks to its blend of advanced features and user-centric design. This introduction aims to highlight the core attributes of CLion, setting the stage for a comprehensive guide on how to install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 ‘Jammy Jellyfish’ and Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ LTS.

CLion’s Distinctive Features:

  • Intelligent Editor: CLion’s editor is more than just a text processor. It offers auto-formatting, syntax highlighting, code generation, and completion suggestions, ensuring a smooth coding experience.
  • Refactoring Tools: With CLion, code refactoring becomes a breeze. Whether you’re making project-wide changes or localized adjustments, CLion ensures your code remains clean and efficient.
  • Real-time Analysis: As you code, CLion continuously analyzes your work, highlighting errors and offering quick fixes, ensuring code quality is maintained.
  • Comprehensive Built-in Tools: From debugging to version control, CLion offers tools that cater to a developer’s every need.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Whether you’re on Windows, MacOS, or Linux, CLion provides a consistent and efficient development environment.
  • Personalized Experience: Customize CLion to your preferences, from themes to key bindings, ensuring a tailored coding experience.

Why Opt for CLion?

CLion isn’t just another IDE. It’s a meticulously crafted environment that prioritizes the developer’s experience. By offering real-time coding assistance, many built-in tools, and extensive customization options, CLion emerges as a holistic platform suitable for newcomers and seasoned programmers.

For those eager to integrate CLion into their development workflow, our subsequent guide will detail the steps to install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 ‘Jammy Jellyfish’ or Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ LTS Linux. We’ll explore multiple installation avenues, ensuring you find the best method for your needs.

Section 1: Install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 via APT PPA

The Advanced Packaging Tool, often called APT, is a package management system integral to Ubuntu and other Debian-based distributions. We’ll leverage the power of APT for the CLion installation process.

Step 1: Refreshing the Ubuntu System Before CLion Installation

Before installing new software, it’s essential to refresh your system’s local package database. This ensures that Ubuntu’s repositories reflect the most recent package versions. We’ll accomplish this with the following command:

sudo apt update

Once the package database is up-to-date, upgrading the system is recommended. Upgrading ensures that all installed software packages match their latest versions, providing the most secure and stable environment. Here’s the command to perform the upgrade:

sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Installing Necessary Packages

The next phase of our installation process involves adding a few crucial packages to our system. These include dirmngr, ca-certificates, software-properties-common, apt-transport-https, curl, and lsb-release. These packages facilitate secure file transfers, repository management, and other critical tasks related to package handling:

sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common apt-transport-https curl lsb-release -y

Step 3: Add JetBrains PPA by Jonas Groeger on Ubuntu for CLion

Now, we will add the JetBrains Personal Package Archive (PPA) to the system’s list of repositories. This allows APT to retrieve CLion directly from JetBrains’ PPA.

To ensure the authenticity of the packages from this repository, we’ll import the GPG key for the JetBrains repository. The GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), an implementation of the OpenPGP standard, verifies that the packages in the repository are genuinely from JetBrains:

curl -s | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/jetbrains-ppa-archive-keyring.gpg > /dev/null

Lastly, run the following command to import the APT repository for CLion and the other JetBrains products:

echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/jetbrains-ppa-archive-keyring.gpg] any main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jetbrains-ppa.list > /dev/null

Step 4: Updating the APT Packages Index After CLion PPA Import on Ubuntu

Updating the APT package database is necessary after integrating a new repository into the system. This step allows your system to fetch the latest package information from the newly included JetBrains PPA:

sudo apt update

Step 5: Install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 via APT Command

Finally, we reach the actual installation of CLion. At this stage, your system recognizes the CLion package from the JetBrains PPA and is ready to retrieve and install it. You can trigger this process with the following APT install command:

sudo apt install clion

With the execution of the command above, APT will download CLion, resolve any required dependencies, and install them on your system, concluding the installation process.

Section 2: Install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 via Snap

Snap is a software deployment and package management system devised by Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu. It’s designed to simplify software installation and streamline maintenance tasks across Linux distributions. This section will elaborate on installing CLion using the Snap package manager.

Step 1: Verifying Snap’s Presence on Your Ubuntu System

By being a Canonical creation, Snap comes pre-installed on Ubuntu distributions. However, there may be instances where it is not included out of the box or has been manually removed. Should you find yourself in such a situation, you can reintroduce Snap to your system with the following command:

sudo apt install snapd -y

This command installs the Snap Daemon (snapd) — a background service that oversees your system’s management and maintenance of Snap packages.

Step 2: Activating Classic Snap Support for CLion on Ubuntu

Specific Snap packages necessitate ‘classic’ confinement — a feature that gives the Snap package access to your system’s resources, much like traditional software. To ensure broad compatibility and smooth operation of these packages, we create a symbolic link (symlink) with the following command:

sudo ln -s /var/lib/snapd/snap /snap

Executing the command above generates a symlink between /var/lib/snapd/snap and /snap, effectively activating classic Snap support on your system.

Step 3: Installation of the Core Snap for CLion on Ubuntu

Before proceeding with the CLion installation, installing the ‘core’ Snap is vital. The core of Snap is a foundation for other Snaps, providing the necessary libraries and services they rely on. This proactive step can help avoid potential conflicts or issues that might crop up later. The command to install the core Snap is as follows:

sudo snap install core

Step 4: Install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 via Snap Command

With the prerequisites duly met, we’re now ready to install CLion. This is achieved through the execution of the following command:

sudo snap install clion --classic

In the above command, sudo is used to elevate privileges, snap invokes the Snap package manager, install is the command to install a package, and clion is the package we’re aiming to install. The --classic option enables CLion to access your system’s resources in a manner consistent with a traditionally packaged application.

Section 3: Install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 via Flatpak and Flathub

Flatpak is a universal package management system designed specifically for Linux, similar to Snap in its core functionality. One of its defining features is its ability to sandbox applications, effectively isolating them from the rest of your system. This feature not only enhances the overall security of your system but also mitigates potential software conflicts. This section will delineate installing CLion via Flatpak and Flathub stepwise.

Step 1: Enabling the Flathub Repository for CLion on Ubuntu

The first step in the journey to install CLion via Flatpak necessitates the activation of the Flathub repository. Flathub is a well-regarded distribution platform designed for hosting Flatpak applications. Analogous to an online marketplace, it provides access to a broad range of applications ready for installation.

To incorporate the Flathub repository into your system, run the following command in your terminal:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

The above command integrates the Flathub repository with your Flatpak configuration, opening access to a broad spectrum of applications, including CLion.

Step 2: Install CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 via Flatpak Command

Having successfully incorporated the Flathub repository, we now shift our focus to the installation of CLion. This is achieved using the ‘flatpak install’ command. The specific command for installing CLion is as follows:

flatpak install flathub com.jetbrains.CLion -y

The execution of this command leads to the installation of CLion from the Flathub repository, ensuring the latest stable version of the application is at your disposal.

One important point to note is that if your system currently lacks Flatpak support, you must install it first. For detailed instructions on installing the most recent supported version of Flatpak on Ubuntu, we recommend visiting our comprehensive guide on installing Flatpak.

Section 4: Initiating CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

After successfully installing CLion on your Ubuntu system, the subsequent step involves learning how to kick-start it. Two primary avenues for launching CLion are the command-line interface (CLI) and the graphical user interface (GUI). Each method serves different user preferences, offering flexibility in interaction with the system. This section elucidates how to initiate CLion employing both these techniques.

CLI Launch Method for CLion on Ubuntu

In the Linux world, the command-line interface is indispensable, and launching applications like CLion is not exempt from this rule. The upcoming subsections depict the method to initiate CLion using various command sets, contingent on your installation method—APT, Snap, and Flatpak.

Initiating CLion using the APT Command

To get CLion up and running using the APT command, you need to open your terminal and input:


Upon successful execution of this command, the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) will spring into action, ready to facilitate your coding endeavors.

Initiating CLion using the Snap Command

If you have installed CLion using Snap, the following command will be employed to launch it:

snap run clion

This command, when executed, will trigger CLion, given that the installation was carried out flawlessly.

Initiating CLion using the Flatpak Command

If you have chosen Flatpak as your preferred installation method, the following command in your terminal will do the trick:

flatpak run com.jetbrains.CLion

As with the other methods, this command will set CLion into motion, provided that the installation was accomplished without hitches.

GUI Launch Method for CLion on Ubuntu

Ubuntu’s graphical user interface (GUI) presents an alternate pathway to kick-start CLion for users who are more comfortable with a visual approach. The procedure is as follows:

  • Activities Menu: Initiate the process by clicking on the “Activities” menu at the top-left corner of your desktop screen.
  • Show Applications: Select the “Show Applications” icon at the bottom of the Activities overlay.
  • Search for CLion: You can either scroll through your applications or use the search bar to locate CLion swiftly.
  • Launch CLion: Finally, click the CLion icon to launch the IDE, priming it for your coding tasks.
Screenshot of the CLion application icon by JetBrains on an Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 Linux desktop.Pin
The official CLion icon by JetBrains as seen on an Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 Linux system.

Section 5: Getting Started with CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

As you embark on your journey with CLion on your Ubuntu Linux environment, you must get some tips to streamline your experience. This section provides actionable insights on how to get the best out of CLion, focusing on general tips and customization methods.

Understanding the Basics of CLion on Ubuntu

Before you dive deeper, here are some core concepts to grasp:

  • Workspace: CLion operates on a workspace concept. Each workspace contains one or more projects and all the configurations, settings, and tasks related to those projects.
  • Project Structure: Understanding the project structure in CLion is pivotal. Your source files, headers, and additional resources should be appropriately structured to ensure smooth functioning.
  • Building and Running: CLion, by default, automatically builds your project and keeps the executables ready to run.

Customize Your Environment with CLion on Ubuntu

CLion offers extensive customization options that can enhance your coding experience:

  • Code Style: You can customize your coding style to align with your preferences or team’s standards. These options are found in File -> Settings -> Editor -> Code Style.
  • Keymap: CLion allows you to customize the keyboard shortcuts for almost all its operations. Navigate to File -> Settings -> Keymap to access these settings.
  • Themes and Colors: CLion offers multiple themes and color schemes. You can choose the one that suits your taste from File -> Settings -> Appearance & Behavior -> Appearance.

Utilizing CLion’s Code Analysis with CLion on Ubuntu

CLion provides powerful code analysis that can detect potential issues and provide intelligent suggestions:

  • On-The-Fly Code Analysis: CLion offers real-time code analysis, identifying potential errors as you type. It highlights the issues directly in the editor, instantly enabling you to rectify them.
  • Code Inspection: Besides real-time analysis, CLion offers an in-depth code inspection feature that scans your project for possible issues. You can run it by selecting Analyze -> Inspect Code from the main menu.

Mastering Navigation in CLion on Ubuntu

Efficient navigation in CLion can significantly increase your productivity:

  • Navigating to Declaration: By pressing Ctrl+B on any symbol, you can navigate to its declaration.
  • Quick File Navigation: Pressing Ctrl+Shift+N allows you to search and navigate to any file in your project quickly.
  • Navigating to Last Edit Location: By pressing Ctrl+Shift+Backspace, you can quickly return to your last edit location.

Efficient Debugging and Testing with CLion on Ubuntu

CLion’s debugging and testing tools are a developer’s best friend:

  • Debugging: CLion has a built-in debugger that can be initiated by clicking on the bug icon in the toolbar or pressing Shift+F9. It offers many features like breakpoints, variable examination, memory view, etc.
  • Unit Testing: CLion supports multiple testing frameworks. You can run the tests directly from the editor, and the results are displayed in a well-structured format.

Mastering these aspects of CLion will significantly enhance your programming efficiency and allow you to exploit the full potential of this powerful IDE.

Screenshot of the CLion IDE interface upon launch on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 Linux.Pin
A glimpse of the CLion IDE by JetBrains when launched on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 Linux.

Section 6: Managing CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

This section will explore the procedures for updating and uninstalling CLion on your Ubuntu Linux system using different command-line approaches. We will focus on the unique APT, Snap, and Flatpak instructions for conducting these operations.

How to Update CLion on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

Staying up-to-date with software updates is essential. They provide the most recent features, patches, and security enhancements. Thus, understanding how to update CLion using different package managers is crucial.

APT Update Command for CLion on Ubuntu

APT, an abbreviation for Advanced Package Tool, is a commonly used package management system in Ubuntu. To update CLion using APT, we must first update the package list. This ensures that we have the most recent information on all packages. Subsequently, we can upgrade the packages. The following commands are used for these tasks:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Snap Update Command for CLion on Ubuntu

Snap is a software packaging and deployment system devised by Canonical. The Snap command offers a simple way to update CLion. The necessary command is as follows:

sudo snap refresh

Flatpak Update Command for CLion on Ubuntu

Flatpak is a utility designed for software deployment, package management, and application virtualization on Linux systems. To update CLion with Flatpak, this command needs to be executed:

sudo flatpak update

Each of these commands updates all packages that are outdated, which aligns with good practices to keep your system secure and operating efficiently.

How to Remove CLion from Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

There may be instances where you need to remove CLion from your Ubuntu Linux system. Let’s look at how this can be accomplished.

APT Command to Remove CLion from Ubuntu

To uninstall CLion using APT, the following command can be issued:

sudo apt remove clion

If you have no plans to reinstall CLion or use the third-party APT PPA for other JetBrains products, you can also eliminate the repository and GPG key with these commands:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jetbrains-ppa.list
sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/jetbrains-ppa-archive-keyring.gpg

Snap Command to Remove CLion from Ubuntu

To uninstall CLion using Snap, this command needs to be executed:

sudo snap remove clion

Flatpak Command to Remove CLion from Ubuntu

Lastly, to uninstall CLion using Flatpak, the following command can be used:

sudo flatpak uninstall com.jetbrains.CLion

Closing Thoughts

This guide has covered the intricate steps involved in installing, launching, managing, and optimizing CLion on Ubuntu Linux. We have explored multiple methods using APT, Snap, and Flatpak package managers. From installing the software to launching it through CLI or GUI and even updating or removing it, we aimed to provide comprehensive insights to help novice and expert users effectively use CLion on Ubuntu Linux.

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