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Compiling VIM on Ubuntu with WSL

May 21, 2018 — Jesse Harris

As a Windows Admin by day, but a longtime vim and linux user, I've flocked to Microsoft's WSL like a moth to the flame.

Being a heavy vim user with a distaste for tmux (due to the incompatible keybindings, PS, I know they can be changed to somewhat match vim), I was very excited to hear about vim's new terminal feature in version 8.1!! I immediatley installed the latest vim in Windows and it's cool. However I want a matching linux version in the WSL, so I thought I'd write this quick article on compiling for Ubuntu 18.04.


You will need to install a few dev packages and build tools before we get started. The WSL file-system isn't known for it's speed, so do this prep work in the background while doing something else.

Note, this build is doesn't contain any requiremnts to build with the gui. If your looking for that, try here

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libatk1.0-dev python3-dev ruby-dev lua5.3-0 lua5.3-dev libperl-dev git build-essential

Clone the vim source tree

mkdir src cd src git clone https://github.com/vim/vim

Configure the source

./configure --with-compiledby="${USER}@$(hostname)" --enable-terminal --enable-python3interp --enable-perlinterp --enable-luainterp --disable-gui make

Install vim

sudo make install

Now go off into the sunset and happily vim.