How to Install CMake on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

CMake is a widely adopted, powerful tool software developers utilize for building and packaging software projects. As an open-source and cross-platform tool, CMake is highly versatile, providing developers with a flexible and customizable solution for their development needs. Its ability to generate platform-independent build scripts and support various programming languages such as C++, Python and Java make CMake a go-to tool for developers worldwide. CMake simplifies the software development process, increasing productivity and reducing development cycles, allowing developers to focus on their code rather than the building process. The tool’s popularity continues to grow due to its vast range of features and user-friendly interface, making it an essential tool for any software development project.

CMake provides a wide range of features that make it a powerful tool for software development. These features include:

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: CMake can generate build scripts for multiple platforms, allowing developers to manage their code across different operating systems.
  • Multi-Language Support: CMake supports a wide range of programming languages, making it highly versatile for software development.
  • Modular Design: CMake’s modular design makes it easy to manage large codebases with many dependencies.
  • Built-in Testing: CMake comes with built-in testing support, allowing developers to run tests and ensure the quality of their code.
  • Automatic Dependency Management: CMake can automatically detect and manage dependencies between components, making it easier to manage complex codebases.
  • Customization: CMake provides a high degree of customization, allowing developers to tweak build settings to their specific requirements.

This guide will provide step-by-step instructions for installing CMake on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish or Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa LTS. We will cover two methods for installation: the APT method using the command line terminal and manual installation for users who wish to maintain the latest version at all times. Whether you prefer the convenience of APT or the control of the manual installation, this guide has you covered.

Step 1: Update Ubuntu

To avoid any potential conflicts during the installation process, it is recommended to perform a quick system update to ensure your system is up-to-date before installation.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Method 1: Install CMake with APT

For most users, the recommended method for installing CMake is to utilize Ubuntu’s repository. To initiate the installation, execute the following command.

sudo apt install cmake

After installation, you can verify that CMake is installed by checking its version.

cmake --version

Method 2: Install CMake with Source

For users requiring the latest version of CMake, an alternative method is downloading the source and compiling it. While this method enables the installation of the newest version, it has the added responsibility of manually downloading and recompiling for updates.

Before proceeding, it is necessary to install the required dependencies on your system using the following command.

sudo apt install build-essential checkinstall zlib1g-dev libssl-dev

First, visit the GitHub releases page and grab the latest version link, do not forget to do this as the examples link below will be outdated in time.

The first step is to visit the CMake GitHub releases page and retrieve the latest version link. It’s important to note that the examples below may become outdated over time, so obtaining the latest version link is crucial.

To download the archive, use the wget command below as an example. It’s important to remember to obtain the latest link.


Please exercise caution when selecting the appropriate option on the page, as multiple choices may be available. For example, while the guide installs “cmake-3.26.0-rc2.tar.gz,” a similar package may be available, such as “cmake-3.26.0-rc2-linux-x86_64.tar.gz.” Selecting the correct package to avoid any issues during installation is essential. If you encounter problems during installation, you’ve likely selected the wrong package.

Extract the contents of the archive using the following command.

tar -zxvf cmake-{version number}.tar.gz

Now CD into the directory that was extracted.

cd cmake-{version number}

The next step involves the Bootstrap script. If you experience difficulties during this stage, ensure that the required dependencies are installed correctly.


The Bootstrap script may take several minutes to complete. Once finished, you should see an output similar to the following.

Example of Bootstrap terminal output when completed successfully:

Use the make command to build the package.


Example output of make command once complete:

To install CMake, use the following command: make install.

sudo make install

The installation process may take several minutes, so you may wish to take a break, grab a drink, or make some coffee.

Example of make install command for CMake once completed:

After installation is complete, verify the CMake version.

cmake --version

Test CMake Installation

After installing CMake on your Ubuntu system, you can test that it works correctly by creating a simple “Hello, World!” program.

First, create a new directory and navigate to it using the terminal.

mkdir test-hello && cd test-hello

Now create a new file called “CMakeLists.txt” using the nano editor.

sudo nano CMakeLists.txt

Once the file is created, add the following code:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.16)
add_executable(hello main.cpp)

Exit the file with CTRL+X and then press Y to save.

Create a new file called “main.cpp” again with the nano editor:

sudo nano main.cpp

Add the following code to the “main.cpp” you just created and opened:

#include <iostream>

int main()
    std::cout << "Hello, World!" << std::endl;
    return 0;

Exit the file with CTRL+X and then press Y to save.

Generate the makefile by running the following command in the terminal:

cmake .

Build the program by running the following command:


Finally, run the program by entering the following command in the terminal:


If CMake is working correctly, you should see the message “Hello, World!” displayed in the terminal. By following these steps, you can verify that CMake is installed and working correctly on your Ubuntu system.

Example of the entire terminal output when successfully creating a test for CMake:


In conclusion, installing CMake on Ubuntu is a relatively straightforward process that provides software developers with a powerful tool for building and packaging their projects. With its cross-platform compatibility and versatility, CMake has become the go-to tool for developers worldwide. Whether you opt for the APT method or the manual installation process, CMake’s range of features and user-friendly interface make it an essential tool for software development. Following our step-by-step guide, you can quickly and easily install CMake on your Ubuntu system and start building your software projects quickly.

For further reading, visit CMake’s official documentation.

FAQs on CMake with Ubuntu

Q: What is CMake, and why is it essential for software development?

A: CMake is a powerful and versatile tool that streamlines the software development process by allowing developers to generate platform-independent build scripts and manage their code across different platforms. Its compatibility with multiple programming languages and built-in testing capabilities make it an essential tool for software development.

Q: How can I install CMake on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 LTS?

A: There are two methods to install CMake on Ubuntu: utilizing Ubuntu’s repository using the APT method and manual installation. Our step-by-step guide provides instructions on both methods.

Q: What is the difference between the APT method and manual installation?

A: The APT method is a convenient way to install CMake, as it automatically retrieves and installs the latest stable version from the Ubuntu repository. On the other hand, the manual installation allows the installation of the newest version of CMake but requires the user to download and compile the source code manually.

Q: Can I use CMake on other operating systems?

A: Yes, CMake is a cross-platform tool compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and many Linux distributions.

Q: Is CMake free to use?

A: Yes, CMake is an open-source and free-to-use tool available to anyone.

Q: How do I check if CMake is installed on my system?

A: You can check if CMake is installed by running the “cmake –version” command in your terminal. If CMake is installed, the version number will be displayed

Q: How do I update CMake to the latest version?

A: If you installed CMake via the APT method, you can update it to the latest version by running the command “sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade cmake.” If you installed CMake manually, you must download and compile the latest version using the source code.

Q: Can I uninstall CMake from my system?

A: Yes, you can uninstall CMake from your system using the APT method by running the command “sudo apt remove cmake.” If you installed CMake manually, you would need to manually delete the files and directories created during installation.

Q: What should I do if I encounter issues during installation?

A: If you experience any problems during installation, check that you have installed the required dependencies and downloaded and selected the correct package. You can also check the CMake documentation and community forums for additional support.

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