Linux Install cMatrix from RPM, DEB, XZ, or Source

Thursday, January 10, 2013

cMatrix does not appear to be actively developed anymore; the last news update on the maintainer’s website is from March 31, 2002.

Luckily, the source code is still available from the maintainer’s website and can still be compiled on modern Linux distributions. In addition, someone has been kind enough to create RPM, DEB, and XZ packages for Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, and Arch.

RPM, DEB, and XZ Packages

Installing from these packages will be the easiest method of installation. These packages contain additional patches to properly install the mtx.pcf font on modern distributions.

Be aware that the website below is not the most intuitive when trying to actually download the file. Click the Floppy Disc icon on the particular distribution page and then select binary package or source package.

Compile from Source

The following compile process has been successfully tested on Fedora 17.

Install the following repository packages:

yum install gcc make autoconf automake ncurses-devel

Download and un-tar the source code:


tar xvzf ~/cmatrix-1.2a.tar.gz

cd ~/cmatrix-1.2a

Generate aclocal.m4 man page:


Generate configuration scripts:


Generate for configure from

automake -a

Configure, make, and make install the binary:

sudo make install

Jump to the Using cMatrix section below if you had no compile or install problems.

Potential Problems

If aclocal, autoconf, and automake -a are not run before ./configure the following errors may result:

./configure Warnings

configure: warning:
*** No termcap lib available, consider getting the official ncurses
*** distribution from if you get
*** errors compiling nano.
checking for use_default_colors in -l... (cached) no

make Errors

cmatrix.o: In function `finish':
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:602: undefined reference to `wattr_on'
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:603: undefined reference to `stdscr'
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:603: undefined reference to `waddch'
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:605: undefined reference to `stdscr'
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:605: undefined reference to `wattr_off'
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:493: undefined reference to `LINES'
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:509: undefined reference to `LINES'
~/cmatrix-1.2a/cmatrix.c:516: undefined reference to `LINES'
collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status
make: *** [cmatrix] Error 1

Using cMatrix

To use cMatrix, run cmatrix from your shell and show everybody how all you see is blonde, brunette, redhead.

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