How to Write and Run a C Program on Ubuntu

Write C Program

C language is one of the earliest programming languages. It is simple and easy to learn. Formerly C programming was performed on Turbo C, a discontinued integrated development environment. But nowadays it can be easily executed on different operating systems.

In this guide, you will learn how to write your first C program using the Linux operating system which requires just the GNU C compiler and a text editor and not a full blown integrated development environment to get started. The following steps will show to install a GNU C compiler on Linux, how to write the source code, compile and execute the C program.


To execute a C program on Linux, you need to install the following :

  1. GNU C and C++ compiler collection
  2. Development tools
  3. Development libraries
  4. IDE or text editor to write programs

Step 1: Installation of the compiler on Linux

For C programming it is essential to install a compiler that will compile the program before executing. In Linux operating system type the following command in terminal to install the GNU C compiler which is one of the most famous compilers for Linux:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install build-essential manpages-dev


Install C Compiler and Toolchain

Step 2: Verification of installation

To ensure that your compiler is installed type the given command to find its location and version number:

$ whereis gcc


Check GCC C-Compiler version

$ which gcc


Which GCC

 $ gcc --version



Step 3: Open text editor on Linux

To start writing your source code, open a text editor by typing

$ gedit program.c

Step 4: Write your first C program

Write the C source code given below in text editor:



printf("This is my first C program on ubuntu\n");

Close the editor window.


My First C Program

Step 5: Compile your program using GNU C compiler

The following command will invoke the GNU C compiler to compile the file program.c and output (-o) the result to an executable called program.

$ gcc -o program program.c


Compile sourcecode with GCC

Step 6: Execute your program

Type the given command to display output:

$ ./program 


Run binary program

Wrapping Up

The above guide demonstrates how to write your first C program in Linux by installing GNU C compiler. To know more about C programming in Linux explore different books and practice more source code related to different topics in C programming.

Categorized as Ubuntu