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HowTo: Compile And Run a C/C++ Code In Linux

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To compile a C or C++ program on any Linux distro such as Ubuntu, Red Hat, Fedora, Debian and other Linux distro you need to install:

Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
RequirementsGNU C/C++ compiler
Estimated completion time10m
  1. GNU C and C++ compiler collection
  2. Development tools
  3. Development libraries
  4. IDE or text editor to write programs

Step #1: Install C/C++ compiler and related tools

If you are using Fedora, Red Hat, CentOS, or Scientific Linux, use the following yum command to install GNU c/c++ compiler:
# yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'
If you are using Debian or Ubuntu Linux, type the following apt-get command to install GNU c/c++ compiler:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install build-essential manpages-dev

Step #2: Verify installation

Type the following command to display the version number and location of the compiler on Linux:
$ whereis gcc
$ which gcc
$ gcc --version

Sample outputs:

Fig. 01: GNU C/C++ compilers on Linux

How to Compile and Run C/C++ program on Linux

Create a file called demo.c using a text editor such as vi, emacs or joe:

#include<stdio.h> /* demo.c:  My first C program on a Linux */ int main(void) {  printf("Hello! This is a test prgoram.n");  return 0; }

How do I compile the program on Linux?

Use any one of the following syntax to compile the program called demo.c:

  cc program-source-code.c -o executable-file-name

OR

  gcc program-source-code.c -o executable-file-name

OR

## assuming that executable-file-name.c exists ## make executable-file-name

In this example, compile demo.c, enter:

  cc     demo.c   -o demo

OR

## assuming demo.c exists in the current directory ## make demo

If there is no error in your code or C program then the compiler will successfully create an executable file called demo in the current directory, otherwise you need fix the code. To verify this, type:
$ ls -l demo*

How do I run or execute the program called demo on Linux?

Simply type the the program name:
$ ./demo
OR
$ /path/to/demo
Samples session:

Animated gif 01: Compile and run C and C++ program demo

Compiling and running a simple C++ program

Create a program called demo2.C as follows:

#include "iostream" // demo2.C - Sample C++ prgoram  int main(void) {     std::cout << "Hello! This is a C++ program.n";     return 0; }

To compile this program, enter:

  g++ demo2.C -o demo2 ## or use the following syntax ## make demo2

To run this program, type:

  ./demo2

How do I generate symbolic information for gdb and warning messages?

The syntax is as follows C compiler:
cc -g -Wall input.c -o executable
The syntax is as follows C++ compiler:
g++ -g -Wall input.C -o executable

How do I generate optimized code on a Linux machine?

The syntax is as follows C compiler:
cc -O input.c -o executable
The syntax is as follows C++ compiler:
g++ -O -Wall input.C -o executable

How do I compile a C program that uses math functions?

The syntax is as follows when need pass the -lm option with gcc to link with the math libraries:
cc myth1.c -o executable -lm

How do I compile a C++ program that uses Xlib graphics functions?

The syntax is as follows when need pass the -lX11 option with gcc to link with the Xlib libraries:
g++ fireworks.C -o executable -lX11

How do I compile a program with multiple source files?

The syntax is as follows if the source code is in several files (such as light.c, sky.c, fireworks.c):
cc light.c sky.c fireworks.c -o executable
C++ syntax is as follows if the source code is in several files:
g++ ac.C bc.C file3.C -o my-program-name