Linux Error: curses.h: No such file or directory Problem Solution

by on July 31, 2008 · 19 comments· LAST UPDATED January 16, 2014

in , ,

I see the following error when I run make command to install specific software:

curses.h: No such file or directory Problem Solution

How do I fix this error under Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or CentOS / Fedora Linux?

A.. You need to install the curses library which include routines for a terminal-independent method of updating character screens with reasonable optimization. The ncurses (new curses) library is a freely distributable replacement for the
discontinued 4.4 BSD classic curses library.

Fix this error on RHEL / Fedora / CentOS Linux

Type the following yum command at a shell prompt as root user:
# yum install ncurses-devel ncurses
Sample output:

Loading "downloadonly" plugin
Loading "rhnplugin" plugin
Loading "security" plugin
rhel-x86_64-server-vt-5   100% |=========================| 1.2 kB    00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-5      100% |=========================| 1.2 kB    00:00
Setting up Install Process
Parsing package install arguments
Package ncurses - 5.5-24.20060715.x86_64 is already installed.
Package ncurses - 5.5-24.20060715.i386 is already installed.
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package ncurses-devel.x86_64 0:5.5-24.20060715 set to be updated
---> Package ncurses-devel.i386 0:5.5-24.20060715 set to be updated
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Dependencies Resolved
 Package                 Arch       Version          Repository        Size
 ncurses-devel           x86_64     5.5-24.20060715  rhel-x86_64-server-5  1.7 M
 ncurses-devel           i386       5.5-24.20060715  rhel-x86_64-server-5  1.6 M
Transaction Summary
Install      2 Package(s)
Update       0 Package(s)
Remove       0 Package(s)
Total download size: 3.3 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
(1/2): ncurses-devel-5.5- 100% |=========================| 1.6 MB    00:01
(2/2): ncurses-devel-5.5- 100% |=========================| 1.7 MB    00:01
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Finished Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing: ncurses-devel                ######################### [1/2]
  Installing: ncurses-devel                ######################### [2/2]
Installed: ncurses-devel.x86_64 0:5.5-24.20060715 ncurses-devel.i386 0:5.5-24.20060715

Fix this error on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Open terminal and type the following apt-get command to install ncurses:
$ sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev

Now you should able to compile any program under Linux using ncurses.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike March 3, 2010 at 3:34 am

cool thanks


2 bobo June 25, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Thanks! It helps me a lot.


3 rootnet47 March 18, 2011 at 6:53 am

I installed libncursesw5-dev in ubuntu by using
$ sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev
command and also checked in synaptic package manager but I’m still facing the same problem when I’m going to compile in gcc.


4 Edward April 17, 2012 at 12:21 am

Well, maybe you forgot to add “-lncurses” at the end of command.
Like this:
gcc -o game main.c -lncurses

I hope this may help you.


5 Edward April 17, 2012 at 6:23 am

Oh! Perhaps the setings of curses on your computer hadn’t been set to use ncurses lib automaticly. You may use ” ls -l /usr/include/curses.h” to check this. If curses.h is not a link to ncurses.h (or ncurses.h is not a link to curses.h), you need to add ” -I /usr/include/ncurses ” to use lib ncurses forcely.


6 stone September 9, 2011 at 7:20 am

cool, thanks


7 Parker September 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Thanks buddy…


8 Krishna Pandey April 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Thanks Pal, I was installing cscope on RHEL 6, on which I had ncurses package installed already. ncurses-devel package did the magic.


9 Akshay October 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Thanks for the help!


10 Edwin Jose May 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm

When I’m trying this “sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev”
the follwoing error occur;

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
E: Unable to locate package libncruses5-dev
E: Unable to locate package libncrusesw5-dev


11 Edward May 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

You can use “apt-cache search ncurses ncursesw” to find out what the exactly name.


12 suhasini November 8, 2013 at 10:55 am

i done “yum install ncurses-devel ncurses” and installed properly… den also i am getting error
[root@localhost ~]# ./configure
bash: ./configure: No such file or directory
plz help me ..plz


13 Deepak B January 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm

$ which ncurses

/usr/bin/which: no ncurses in (/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/home/db667u/bin:/usr/bin)

$ rpm -qa|grep ncurses


Looks ncurses is installed but still am not able to run it, anybody can help me please?


14 Nix Craft January 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Install ncurses-devel.


15 opshlds April 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Old post, I know, but thank you most kindly for the answer as it’s solved an issue I was having compiling SBBS on my system! Many thanks!


16 sugatang itlog July 17, 2014 at 3:45 am

Solved my issues as well. And nice tweets. More power nixCraft!


17 Muhammad Waleed September 2, 2014 at 5:50 am

i have tried to run that yum command but i am still getting this error .
Loaded plugins: refresh-packagekit, rhnplugin
This system is not registered with RHN.
RHN support will be disabled.
Setting up Install Process
No package ncurses-devel available.
Nothing to do
plz help me . i am trying but nothing is helping me .
i am using red hat .


18 Muhammad Waleed September 2, 2014 at 6:27 am

i have also used sudo command but it is not working . i having this error . i entered my password for user then got this error my user is waleed .
waleed is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported..
help needed urgently .


19 GKFX January 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

You aren’t allowed to install software. If you are the owner of this computer, that’s a serious problem: you’ll need to get it fixed. More likely, you don’t own the computer, so you need to ask the owner/technician/etc to install it for you.


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