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Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint have the Arduino software available in their repositories (e.g. from the Software Center in Ubuntu or the Software Manager in Linux Mint), but this is not always the latest version of the software. This article explains how to install the newest version.
If you have already installed Arduino from the repositories, then all the dependencies for Arduino have been met on the Linux system. This means that you can simply download the newest version of the software from the Arduino website and then extract the folder from the downloaded zipped file (e.g. extract it to your desktop). To run Arduino, open the folder and double-click the arduino file. Click Run in the dialog box that pops up to start the Arduino IDE (this button may be called Execute in other Linux distributions such as Lubuntu).
If you have never installed the Arduino software on the system before, then you will need to make sure that the dependencies for running the software are met.
On an Ubuntu or Linux Mint system, the only dependencies necessary are to have the Java Runtime environment installed and the GCC AVR compiler tools installed. As of Arduino software version 1.0.1, the GCC AVR compiler tools are included with the downloaded Arduino software, so it is no longer necessary to install the GCC AVR compiler, only the Java Runtime Environment is needed.
The Java Runtime may already be installed on your system, but if it is not, then when you try to run the Arduino software, it will not even start. You will need to install Java, such as OpenJDK Java 6 Runtime. Just search for it and install it from the Software Center or Software Manager.
From a terminal window, it can be installed using the following command:
sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jre
After Java has been installed, it is just a matter of downloading the Arduino software, extracting the folder from the download and then copying it to a suitable location such as your desktop. Open the folder and double-click the arduino file to start the Arduino IDE.
Note that you must be added to the 'dialout' group to be able to upload sketches to the Arduino. After adding yourself to the dialout group, you will need to log out of Linux and then back in or restart the computer.
For more details on Arduino software installation on a Linux system as well as links to information on installing the software on distributions besides Ubuntu / Mint, see the Installing Arduino on Linux page on the Arduino website.