How to Install a BIN File in Ubuntu Linux

By David Secor

Though most software available for Ubuntu can easily be easily installed using the Ubuntu Software Center, ensuring compatibility with your system, sometimes you may require a program that is not listed there, such as the newest versions or even beta versions. Often, such programs are distributed as binary, or BIN, files, which are typically self-extracting archives or executable installation programs. The installation process is the same for both and it can be performed either in the terminal or through Unity, the standard desktop interface for Ubuntu.

Terminal Installation

Step 1

Download the BIN file that you would like to install, noting its filename and the directory into which it was saved.

Step 2

Open a terminal window by clicking the Ubuntu icon located on the Launcher taskbar, searching for “Terminal” and clicking the resulting icon. Alternatively, you can press the “Ctrl-Alt-T” key combination.

Step 3

Click into the terminal just after the command prompt, which is the line containing your username followed by the “@” symbol, computer name and the dollar sign.

Step 4

Type “cd Downloads” (without quotes here and throughout) then press “Enter” to change to the “Downloads” directory, which is the default location for saving files. Note that terminal commands are case-sensitive and each command must be followed by the “Enter” key. If the file is in a different directory, type “cd” followed by the file's full path. For instance, if it is stored in the “Files” subdirectory of the main “George” directory, the full command would be “cd /George/Files/”. Use the “pwd” command to identify the current directory.

Step 5

Enter the “sudo chmod +x ./FILENAME.bin” command, replacing “FILENAME” with the name of your BIN file, to make the file executable. Type the administrator password when prompted, then press “Enter.” The “./” stands for the current directory.

Step 6

Type “sudo ./FILENAME.bin” to start the installation, following any instructions given to you by the program. Close the terminal when the process is complete.

GUI Installation

Step 1

Click the “Files” icon on the Launcher to start the file manager and browse to the directory in which the BIN file was saved. In other desktops, launch the default file manager.

Step 2

Right-click the BIN file and select “Properties.” Click on the “Permissions” tab and place a check next to the option labeled “Allow Executing File as Program,” then click the “Close” button. These steps are nearly the same in the KDE (Kubuntu Edition), GNOME and Cinnamon desktops. In Xubuntu, which uses the XFCE desktop, you cannot set the “Execute” attribute from the graphical desktop, requiring that the terminal method be used.

Step 3

Open a terminal session and type “sudo” at the prompt, followed by a space, but do not press the “Enter” key yet. Drag the icon for the BIN file from the file manager into the terminal window and drop it in after the space to add the filename automatically. Click back into the terminal window, then press the “Enter” key, type the password and press “Enter” again. Follow the installation instructions, then close the terminal. Note that in KDE you will have to select “Paste as Text” after you drop the icon into the terminal.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are many desktops available for Ubuntu systems and the procedure for setting the “Executable” attribute should be similar in each. If you cannot find the setting, use the terminal method.
  • The terminal emulator may have varying names, such as Terminal, XTerm, XFCE Terminal, or Konsole.
  • Only install programs from trusted sources to avoid software problems, viruses, adware and spyware.