How to compile and install latest version of Vim with support for: X11 clipboard, ruby, python 2 or python 3

This was tested with vim 7.4.(1-398)
(Update: 2013-12-03 apparently you can’t build vim with support for both python 2 and python 3, so I had to update this tutorial a bit 🙂 )
(Update: 2014-08-09 Added three commands: “hg pull”, “hg update” and “hg status” to pull the latest version of the repo)

First of all install all the dependencies required when compiling Vim with additional options:

@:~> sudo apt-get install mercurial python python-dev python3 python3-dev ruby ruby-dev libx11-dev libxt-dev libgtk2.0-dev  libncurses5  ncurses-dev

Then clone official vim repo, configure it with support for: X11 clipboard, ruby, python 2 or 3 and few other cool options 🙂

@:~> hg clone https://vim.googlecode.com/hg/ vim
## if you already had this repo cloned, then update it:
@:~> hg pull
@:~> hg update
## and then check if you definitely have the latest version:
@:~> hg summary
parent: 6121:913d16b4904c
 Added tag v7-4-398 for changeset f62b2e76dd80
branch: default
commit: (clean)
update: 52 new changesets (update)
@:~> cd vim/src
##
## this will configure it with python 2
##
@:~> ./configure \
    --enable-perlinterp \
    --enable-pythoninterp \
    --enable-rubyinterp \
    --enable-cscope \
    --enable-gui=auto \
    --enable-gtk2-check \
    --enable-gnome-check \
    --with-features=huge \
    --enable-multibyte \
    --with-x \
    --with-compiledby="Senor QA <senor@qa>" \
    --with-python-config-dir=/usr/lib/python2.7/config-x86_64-linux-gnu
##
## and with python 3
##
@:~> ./configure \
    --enable-perlinterp \
    --enable-python3interp \
    --enable-rubyinterp \
    --enable-cscope \
    --enable-gui=auto \
    --enable-gtk2-check \
    --enable-gnome-check \
    --with-features=huge \
    --enable-multibyte \
    --with-x \
    --with-compiledby="Senor QA <senor@qa>" \
    --with-python3-config-dir=/usr/lib/python3.3/config-3.3m-x86_64-linux-gnu

Next step is to compile our setup:

@:~> make

Then if you want you can check if all the features were compiled properly:

VIM - Vi IMproved 7.4 (2013 Aug 10, compiled Aug  9 2014 15:37:52)
Included patches: 1-398
Compiled by Me <senor@qa>
Huge version with GTK2 GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):
+acl             +farsi           +mouse_netterm   +syntax
+arabic          +file_in_path    +mouse_sgr       +tag_binary
+autocmd         +find_in_path    -mouse_sysmouse  +tag_old_static
+balloon_eval    +float           +mouse_urxvt     -tag_any_white
+browse          +folding         +mouse_xterm     -tcl
++builtin_terms  -footer          +multi_byte      +terminfo
+byte_offset     +fork()          +multi_lang      +termresponse
+cindent         +gettext         -mzscheme        +textobjects
+clientserver    -hangul_input    +netbeans_intg   +title
+clipboard       +iconv           +path_extra      +toolbar
+cmdline_compl   +insert_expand   -perl            +user_commands
+cmdline_hist    +jumplist        +persistent_undo +vertsplit
+cmdline_info    +keymap          +postscript      +virtualedit
+comments        +langmap         +printer         +visual
+conceal         +libcall         +profile         +visualextra
+cryptv          +linebreak       +python          +viminfo
+cscope          +lispindent      -python3         +vreplace
+cursorbind      +listcmds        +quickfix        +wildignore
+cursorshape     +localmap        +reltime         +wildmenu
+dialog_con_gui  -lua             +rightleft       +windows
+diff            +menu            +ruby            +writebackup
+digraphs        +mksession       +scrollbind      +X11
+dnd             +modify_fname    +signs           -xfontset
-ebcdic          +mouse           +smartindent     +xim
+emacs_tags      +mouseshape      -sniff           +xsmp_interact
+eval            +mouse_dec       +startuptime     +xterm_clipboard
+ex_extra        -mouse_gpm       +statusline      -xterm_save
+extra_search    -mouse_jsbterm   -sun_workshop    -xpm
   system vimrc file: "$VIM/vimrc"
     user vimrc file: "$HOME/.vimrc"
 2nd user vimrc file: "~/.vim/vimrc"
      user exrc file: "$HOME/.exrc"
  system gvimrc file: "$VIM/gvimrc"
    user gvimrc file: "$HOME/.gvimrc"
2nd user gvimrc file: "~/.vim/gvimrc"
    system menu file: "$VIMRUNTIME/menu.vim"
  fall-back for $VIM: "/usr/local/share/vim"
Compilation: gcc -c -I. -Iproto -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -DFEAT_GUI_GTK  -pthread -I/usr/include/gtk-2.0 -I/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gtk-2.0/include -I/usr/include/atk-1.0 -I/usr/include/cairo -I/usr/include/gdk-pixbuf-2.0 -I/usr/include/pango-1.0 -I/usr/include/gio-unix-2.0/ -I/usr/include/freetype2 -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/glib-2.0/include -I/usr/include/pixman-1 -I/usr/include/libpng12 -I/usr/include/harfbuzz     -g -O2 -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=1      
Linking: gcc   -L. -Wl,-Bsymbolic-functions -Wl,-z,relro -L/build/buildd/ruby1.9.1-1.9.3.484/debian/lib -rdynamic -Wl,-export-dynamic  -L/usr/local/lib -Wl,--as-needed -o vim   -lgtk-x11-2.0 -lgdk-x11-2.0 -latk-1.0 -lgio-2.0 -lpangoft2-1.0 -lpangocairo-1.0 -lgdk_pixbuf-2.0 -lcairo -lpango-1.0 -lfontconfig -lgobject-2.0 -lglib-2.0 -lfreetype   -lSM -lICE -lXt -lX11 -lXdmcp -lSM -lICE  -lm -ltinfo -lnsl   -ldl    -L/usr/lib/python2.7/config-x86_64-linux-gnu -lpython2.7 -lpthread -ldl -lutil -lm -Xlinker -export-dynamic -Wl,-O1 -Wl,-Bsymbolic-functions   -lruby-1.9.1 -lpthread -lrt -ldl -lcrypt -lm  -L/usr/lib

Just to make sure it works as it should, launch newly compiled ./vim, and type:

:echo has("python")

It should return 1 if it was compiled properly 🙂

If you’re happy then install it 🙂

@:~> sudo make install

Then locate the vim command

@:~> which vim
vim is /usr/local/bin/vim
vim is /usr/bin/vim

As you can see, there are two installed on my system.
To make newly installed version “/usr/local/bin/vim” the default one, we’ll use “update-alternatives”.

@:~> sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/vim" "vim" "/usr/local/bin/vim" 1
@:~> sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/vi" "vi" "/usr/local/bin/vim" 1

Then use “update-alternatives” to switch between installed versions 🙂

@:~> sudo update-alternatives --config vim
There are 2 choices for the alternative vim (providing /usr/bin/vim).

  Selection    Path                Priority   Status
------------------------------------------------------------
* 0            /usr/bin/vim.basic   30        auto mode
  1            /usr/bin/vim.basic   30        manual mode
  2            /usr/local/bin/vim   1         manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 2
@:~> 
@:~> # now let's change symbolic link for vi
@:~> 
@:~> sudo update-alternatives --config vi
There are 3 choices for the alternative vi (providing /usr/bin/vi).

  Selection    Path                Priority   Status
------------------------------------------------------------
* 0            /usr/bin/vim.basic   30        auto mode
  1            /usr/bin/vim.basic   30        manual mode
  2            /usr/bin/vim.tiny    10        manual mode
  3            /usr/local/bin/vim   1         manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 3
update-alternatives: using /usr/local/bin/vim to provide /usr/bin/vi (vi) in manual mode

Last thing to do is to check where the /usr/bin/vim points at:

@:~> ll /usr/bin/vim
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 21 Jun  7 11:29 /usr/bin/vim -> /etc/alternatives/vim*

Then check where the /etc/alternatives/vim points at.
If everything went fine, it should be pointing at: /usr/local/bin/vim

@:~> ll /etc/alternatives/vim
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 18 Nov 19 12:17 /etc/alternatives/vim -> /usr/local/bin/vim*

Happy Vimming 🙂
J

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3 thoughts on “How to compile and install latest version of Vim with support for: X11 clipboard, ruby, python 2 or python 3

  1. Thank you for this. So much help….

    Ran into some nonsense during ./configure \ with ncurses:
    checking for tgetent()… configure: error: NOT FOUND!
    You need to install a terminal library; for example ncurses.
    Or specify the name of the library with –with-tlib.

    Punted and just:
    > apt-get build-dep vim

    and used git instead of vim.google…..
    now I get python(s) and can actually use the clipboard yank/put.

    I sincerely hope your 2016 is better than all the other 2016s. Cheers.

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