Monday, June 30, 2014

Installing Matlab in Ubuntu 32bit Version

First things first. Matlab 32bit is only available as Matlab version R2012a as later releases only come in 64bit versions and hence only work on 64 bit operating systems. The R2012a version of Matlab uses a Java application to download the software on your computer called downloader_agent (as opposing to a tar.gz file for example which you get after the 2012 releases). 

You can download this file from the matching Matlab website, and run this file in the browser or using the terminal command

javaws /route/to/downloader_agent

which gives the same result.

However if you are getting an error, this article will most likely help you.

If you get an error while trying to download the downloader (yes downloading a downloader to download a software....) which looks like the following the issue can be one of 2 things.

Java is blocked on the Site

The website is not allowed to execute Java applications. Hence the solution can be to add the site to the exceptions. To do this open a command line and type,


This will bring up the following window
Java control GUI Window - Security Settings Tab
Click on "Edit Site List" and add the security exception for necessary site mentioned in your downloader_agent, e.g.
Adding a Security Exception

Confirming Security Exception
Confirm and accept the exception you made. After this try to run the downloader file again. If it starts downloading Matlab, proceed with the installation procedure.

Missing Java Security Exceptions

If your jcontrol window doesn't have an "exceptions" part in the security settings, you need to update your Java installation.

Missing Site Exceptions Settings

You can find many guides for this: How to Update Oracle Java 7

Java Versions Interfering

Another problem can be that you have multiple versions of Java installed and this is causing some trouble.
The solution is to remove everything related to Java and then reinstall the basic package. To do this:
  1. Follow this guide to completely remove Java from your system
  2. Confirm that you have indeed removed everything. Try,

    java -version

    If you get an output, you have not removed something. Go back to the previous step and see what step you have missed.
  3. Reinstall the basic Java package from the terminal with,

    sudo apt-get install default-jre
  4. Run the downloader_agent again from your browser or with,

    javaws /route/to/downloader_agent
If you were successful you should be able to download Matlab and will see the following window popping up. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the software, it should look similar to the process depicted below.

Matlab Downloading

Selecting Installation Method

Install Progress Bar

Additional Configuration Steps

Installation & Activating Product

Running Matlab

After the rocess was completed you can run Matlab from the terminal with the command,


or you can create a launcher for it on the Desktop. For me for some reason it only worked when I started it from the terminal and not executing the matlab file as a program.

If you have any questions or are stuck anywhere, leave a comment and I'll see if I can help.