Install Light Table on Ubuntu with Launcher

Recently I’ve been trying out the open source editor Light Table. It has a lot of great features, my favorite being inline evaluation. The editor will run a single line of code and display the value at the end! It’s super customizable and really reminds me of Sublime Text in terms of looks.

Here are some simple instructions on how to install Light Table and create a nice launcher for it.

  • Download the correct version for your system from
  • Change directory to wherever the file is located.
  • Unzip the archive. This will give you a folder called LightTable. The wildcard ‘*’ in the filename makes this command work for either the 32-bit or 64-bit downloads.
  • Move the unzipped folder to /opt to live with other non-traditional installations. Then delete the archive. Note: Programs in /opt are available to all users.
  • Create a launcher file called light-table.desktop and enter the details to make it work.

    Make sure to hit enter at the end to leave a blank line, then hit Ctrl+D to exit the cat command.
  • Make the launcher executable so Ubuntu registers it as a program.
  • Last step is to create a symlink in your user /bin folder to enable calling Light Table from a terminal. You can call yours whatever you want, but here I’ve named it ltable so the command to start it up is nice and short.

    Edit: If ~/bin does not exist, create it. Ubuntu treats ~/bin like a per-user installation folder. If you want this shortcut to be available for all users, instead use sudo and place it in /usr/local/bin.

That’s it! All done! Have fun using and customizing the Light Table editor! I’m certainly no Light Table expert but if you have any questions about these instructions please let me know in the comments. Have a great day!

34 thoughts on “Install Light Table on Ubuntu with Launcher

    1. Glad I could help! I’ve always seen ~/bin in the path by default with Ubuntu, maybe you’re on a different distro? There’s always /usr/local/bin too if you want it available for every user. Enjoy this cool editor!

  1. I have installed LightTable different ways at Linux scientific linux, but when I get some source clojure at instat, there is all times error to connections, it does work with the launcher though.could anybody help?

  2. Hey those are great but.. after installing i open the unity searching thing and tipe LightTable or ltable and no icon comes up to me. What is going wrong?

    1. Hey! Only had to give the .desktop file executable permissions and… I forgot the blank line at the end of it! Great post man, I love being taught that kind of staff, thanks!

      1. Haha that blank line is a tricky one! I’m glad you got it to work! Thanks for coming back and letting me know what was wrong. I’ve added a step to make the file executable. Happy to be of help, I’m glad you could learn from my post!

  3. I used this as the basis to get it going. I installed from source, and ran LightTable then just locked the launcher to the Unity bar, but the locked launcher wouldn’t work. So I used your instructions to modify the automatically created launcher, and added a symlink, and it now runs. Thanks.

  4. This is going to sound really dumb but I’m really new to Linux. Am using xfce and have followed your instructions. So where should the launcher be? How do I launch it now? Been trying for ages to get Light Table to run now… Thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Dave. Doesn’t sound dumb at all! I think the issue with finding the launcher is that you’re running xfce instead of Unity. I haven’t used xfce so I don’t know how to troubleshoot that part. However, running from the terminal should work just fine.

      You have three options for running it from terminal:
      1. Call the actual program in its installation folder >>$ /opt/LightTable/LightTable
      2. Create a symlink shortcut to original program as explained in final step above.
      3. Add an alias to the program in your .bashrc or .bash_profile.

      Let me know if you have any other questions or need help with these terminal options.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply. I’ve been doing it all through the terminal. So, if I move to the /opt/LightTable directory, what do I type there? Just “LightTable”? Because it’s there, but typing that doesn’t work. It’s frustrating because I’ve installed other programs fine, just this is refusing to work, haha.

        1. No problem! To call a program you either have to specify where it is, or its location has to be known to your terminal.
          A single period indicates ‘current directory’, so while in /opt/LightTable, you would enter ./LightTable to start it up.
          To call something directly it has to be either in $PATH, in a directory that’s in $PATH, or aliased in your .bashrc/.bash_profile. Having a shortcut in a $PATH directory works too, like #2 from my last comment. Type “echo $PATH” to see what’s in your $PATH.

          1. Got it to understand that I’m trying to launch it but now it’s saying “ or not found in any of /lib /lib/i386-linux-gnu /usr/lib /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu” :/ I don’t think this is meant to be…

            1. Hey again Dave. Could be just a simple missing dependency at this point. You never know it could be that one last step. I googled a bit for you and found that running “sudo apt-get install libudev-dev” will probably fix the issue. If not search a bit and there’s a symlink command that’s supposed to work as well.
              Good luck! If that doesn’t work it might be time to try a different editor 😉

              1. Aye, tried all that to no avail. Managed to install Vim and Cream so will be using that instead. Thank you for all your help though!

  5. Don’t you think is better to use aliases instead of the symlink you propose. Using aliases you can add ltable as an alias and will work just the same as the symlink. Is there another reason of using symlink?

    1. It’s mostly habit why I did it like this on my own machine. I tend to only bash alias programs that already have a CLI command to alias.
      Most importantly though, I like the symlink solution because it is easy to explain. The symlink takes only one command and messing it up can’t cause any problems.
      If someone is advanced enough to edit bashrc or bash_profile, they can ignore my instruction and make a shortcut how they prefer.

  6. There is no ~/bin when you make symlink with ln -s /opt/LightTable/LightTable ~/bin/ltable
    There is /usr/local/bin and /bin. So, yo can do:
    ln -s /opt/LightTable/LightTable /bin/ltable # provide ltable to all users or,
    ln -s /opt/LightTable/LightTable /usr/local/bin/ltable # provide it for logged user.
    Am I right?
    Thank you for this. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Hobak, I’m glad you like my post! 🙂 You have the right idea, but wrong folders.
      Actually, ~/bin is the logged user installation folder. Ubuntu does not create it by default. Create ~/bin and it will work.

      ln -s /opt/LightTable/LightTable ~/bin/ltable # create shortcut for logged-in user
      sudo ln -s /opt/LightTable/LightTable /usr/local/bin # create shortcut for all users

      Do not put anything in /bin folder or /usr/bin. These are managed by the system. See for more info on Linux filesystem.

    1. Hi Eileen. I’m sorry but there was a typo in the tar command. Was that the problem or was it something else? I just did a fresh installation on Ubuntu 14.04 and it works. If it’s still not working let me know more details and I’ll see if I can help.

    1. Hi Jose. I just did an install on Ubuntu 14.04 to test and it is working fine. There was a typo in my tar command but that is fixed now. Was the problem with that or is the program not running after you untar it?

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