How to download and install Octave running in Ubuntu Linux in VirtualBox on a Mac

Step 1. Check how much disk space and memory your machine has.

First, save anything you are working on before you start this process, in case anything goes astray. Also, close all (other) running applications and windows, so that your computer can work more quickly.

The package is quite large - approximately 6.5 GB - so you will need to check that your machine has at least 9 GB free disk space. Go to the Apple logo at the top left and select About This Mac > Storage to see how much free space you have. If you don't have enough free disk space, you're going to need to delete some files before proceeding.

Select the Overview tab to see how much Memory you've got. If your machine has less than 8 GB of memory, then you will need to follow an extra step (Step 5) when you get to that point.

Step 2. If you don't already have VirtualBox on your Mac, you need to download and install VirtualBox 4.3.34

Download VirtualBox 4.3.34 from

To install it, double-click the downloaded .dmg file and follow the instructions in the pop-up.

Step 3. Download the Ubuntu with Octave package from our site

Because the package is quite large, the download can take many hours over standard wifi or a slow connection like eduroam, but can take as little as 10 minutes over a fast connection such as a 100 Mb wired connection.

3a. Create a folder on desktop called ubuntu

3b. Go to

and download the two files which are there: and ubuntu 14.04.vdi.vhd

3c. Unzip, putting the two files "ubuntu 14.04.vbox" and "ubuntu 14.04.vbox-prev" into the ubuntu folder on the desktop and also put the file "ubuntu 14.04.vdi.vhd" into that folder.

Step 4. Start up VirtualBox and add our virtual machine

Go to Applications > VirtualBox

In VirtualBox, go to Machine > Add...  

Select desktop > ubuntu and click the file ubuntu 14.04.vbox.

Step 5. (Only do this if you have less than 8 GB of memory.)

In VirtualBox, go to Settings > System and set the Base Memory to 2048 MB so that the slider points to the green region. Then click OK.

Step 6. Now it is ready to run!

6a. In VirtualBox, click the Start icon (the one with the green arrow). A number of warnings/notifications may pop up, in response to which you can just click "OK", "Cancel", or just close them.

You should now have a purple Ubuntu Linux login screen!

The user name is pre-filled as "octave"

6b. Enter the Password 0ctav3 (i.e. zero c t a v 3)

6c. Click on purple desktop background and then press the following three keys together:


option (sometimes called alt)


This should bring up a black terminal window.

6d. At the $ prompt type:


and press enter.

Octave should now start ...

Now we are ready to go!