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Why does MATLAB fail to install with a "'std::runtime_error' what(): Unable to launch the MATLABWindow application" error on Linux?

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When I try to install MATLAB it fails with the following error:
terminate called after throwing an instance of 'std::runtime_error'
what(): Unable to launch the MATLABWindow application

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 4 Aug 2020
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 4 Aug 2020
This error message is typically caused by a library dependency error.
To resolve this issue, please remove the following libraries from the MathWorks Installation files, specifically the /bin/glnxa64 directiory:


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Thien Vy Nguyen
Thien Vy Nguyen on 3 Aug 2020
You have to do it as root because you're creating folder in /usr/local. If you specify different location then it won't be necessary.
Khushal Sharma
Khushal Sharma on 4 Aug 2020
I did installed and now I am getting licensing error
$ matlab
MATLAB is selecting SOFTWARE OPENGL rendering.
License checkout failed.
License Manager Error -9
Your username does not match the username in the license file.
To run on this computer, you must run the Activation client to reactivate your license.
Troubleshoot this issue by visiting:
Diagnostic Information:
Feature: MATLAB
License path: /home/noob/.matlab/R2020a_licenses:/usr/local/MATLAB/R2020a/licenses/license.dat:/usr/local/MATLAB/R
Licensing error: -9,57.
I did reactivated my licence but I am still getting the same error.

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More Answers (1)

Tianjiao Ding
Tianjiao Ding on 3 Aug 2020
In fact this solution seems to work so well that I would like to make it an answer rather than a comment to help those who suffer from this problem. I am using ssh to connect a remote machine, and on the remote machine I am root.
  1. Turn on X11-forwarding to have remote display. This is a must if you do not want to install without GUI (where I tried for 15 mins to look for the so-called "File installation key" and gave up). Then ssh -Y or ssh -X to the remote machine.
  2. Install by directly running "install_unix_legacy". For me it is located at MATLAB2020a/bin/glnxa64/install_unix_legacy, but it may be different for you if you are using different architectures/operating systems.
  3. If 2 does not work, try runing "install_unix".
  4. Now a window for installation should pop up. Cheers!
I did not delete any of the files mentioned by the other answers. If you want to try, remember to delete not only the indicated files, but also their symbolic links in the same directory.


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Bas on 15 Sep 2020 at 16:04
It doesn't work anymore. Mathwork, PLEASE support Arch! Not everybody wants to use Debian-base with 1 year old software, some of us have new hardware, like to game or need the latests software for another reason. Arch is one of the most popular distributions and your product is broken for Arch. Just give clear instructions for specifically Arch: dependencies, path at which you extract it, which files to add/remove...

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