Building Audacity 2.4.1 on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint

Audacity 2.4.x introduces a major change in compilation, from the autotools build chain to cmake. This provides multiple benefits for both developers, and end users that want to build Audacity from the source code.

cmake is cross-platform, allowing the same build system on all platforms that Audacity supports. The steps to build are much simpler, and building is typically much quicker. The audacity developers are finding that cmake is a lot easier to work with and maintain. cmake is also more widely supported by C++ IDEs on Linux.

The steps in this guide have been tested on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, but are expected to also work on current releases of Debian, Mint, and most other Debian based distributions.

Note that only the current release version of the manual is available on-line. It is
therefore highly recommended to fetch the correct version of the manual and install it
on the local machine to ensure that the correct version of the manual is availabel for the
end user. See notes below for details.

Instructions for Building Audacity 2.4.x on Linux


  • Repository sources (sources.list) must include source code sources.
  • For MP3 / FFmpeg support, “non-free” repositories may need to be enabled.
  • Root access is required for installation (usually via “sudo”).
  • cmake version 3.15 or later.

Required dependencies:
(The package names below are those used by Ubuntu 20.04.)

For Debian / Ubuntu based distributions, these packages may be installed from the
command line with:

sudo apt install <package-name>

  • build-essential
  • cmake >= 3.15
  • gcc 4.9 or later (gcc-7 recommended for Debian / Ubuntu)
  • libgtk2.0-dev
  • libasound2-dev
  • python2.7-minimal (This is due to be updated to Python 3 in the near future, but currently Python 2.7 is required)
  • libavformat-dev
  • libjack-jackd2-dev


  • timidity-daemon (for MIDI playback)
  • jackd2
  • python3 (for use with mod-script-pipe)

WxWidgets 3.1 built with gtk2 is recommended.

Audacity provides a patched version of wxWidgets 3.1 which includes some bug fixes.
This can be pulled in automatically by cmake if the following packages are installed:

  • git
  • libgtk2.0-dev

It is also possible to build against the system version of wxWidgets >= 3.0.
wxGTK3 is NOT currently recommended as there are known to be some issues.

Building Audacity:

	$ cd <audacity source code>
	$ mkdir build
	$ cd build
	$ cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -Daudacity_use_ffmpeg=loaded ..
	$ make

Note: On a multi-core system, “make” can be made considerably quicker by adding the “-j” switch. For example, on a 4 core system:

	$ make -j4

The options in the above example will produce a full release build, with FFmpeg enabled.
A full list of option can be found here: or may be listed in the terminal by running:

cmake -LH

Pre-installation test:

Create a local folder for Audacity’s settings. This folder will be only used for testing and will not be installed.

	$ cd bin/Release
	$ mkdir "Portable Settings"

Then launch Audacity



Navigate back to the build directory:

	$ cd ../..

Then install:

	$ sudo make install

Additional Notes:

Jack Audio System:
Audacity can work with either jackd or jackd2.
Unless your Linux distribution runs Jack as the default sound system, it is recommended
to install QJackCtl to provide a convenient way to manage Jack.
End users are advised to read up on Jack if they wish to install it.

Getting the Audacity source code:

The latest release version of Audacity is available from:
This is the recommended version for end users.

For developers, the current development code is available from Github.
Cloning the repository is recommended so that the source tree may easily be kept up to date.

Fetching the manual:

The Audacity manual is html, and is identical for Windows, Mac and Linux.
For release versions of Audacity, the manual may be downloaded as a ZIP archive from:
Current version:
Old versions:

To install the manual:
Assuming that Audacity has been installed to /usr/local/ (default).
From the directory constaining the manual ZIP archive:

sudo unzip -d /usr/local/share/audacity