How to install R and Rstudio on Ubuntu 20.04

In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to install R and Rstudio on Ubuntu 20.04.

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on different platforms including Windows, Linux, macOS.

Rstudio provides free and open-source tools for R. Rstudio is an application like Microsoft word, except that instead of helping you write in English, Rstudio helps you write in R.

Even if you want to run on Rstudio completely, you still need to have R on your system because Rstudio helps you use the version of R that lives on your computer, but it doesn’t come with a version of R on its own.


To install R and Rstudio you need to consider the following:

  1. Have atleast 1 GB of RAM on your system
  2. Have basic understanding of command line
  3. Have user with sudo privileges if not root user
  4. Have access to internet.

Table of Contents

  1. Run system updates to make the repositories current
  2. Install helper packages
  3. Add GPG key
  4. Add R packages to Repository
  5. Install R
  6. install Rstudio
  7. Conclusion.

1. Run system Updates

We begin every installation by updating our system repositories in order to make them up to date. You can use the following command;

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade -y

After you have completed all the updates and upgrades you can now install helper packages.

2. Install Helper packages

Helper functions produce a summary or table of the passed variable. So to install these packages we need to run the following command on our terminal.

$ sudo apt install --no-install-recommends software-properties-common dirmngr

It looks like we are not adding anything, for now, everything comes as a default on Ubuntu 20.04.

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
dirmngr is already the newest version (2.2.19-3ubuntu2.1).
dirmngr set to manually installed.
software-properties-common is already the newest version (
software-properties-common set to manually installed.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

3. Add GPG key to the system

Add the following key by Michael Rutter to the repository.

$ wget -qO- | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/cran_ubuntu_key.asc

It will add a whole public key block to the system. After that, you need to verify your key block.

$ gpg --show-keys /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/cran_ubuntu_key.asc 

You will get the following output

gpg: directory '/root/.gnupg' created
gpg: keybox '/root/.gnupg/pubring.kbx' created
pub   rsa2048 2010-10-19 [SCA] [expires: 2027-09-30]
uid                      Michael Rutter <[email protected]>
sub   rsa2048 2010-10-19 [E] [expires: 2027-09-30]

We have successfully added the GPG key so now we can proceed to add the R 4.1 repository from CRAN.

4. Add the R 4.1 Repository from CRAN

CRAN is a network of FTP and web servers from around the world that stores identical, up to date, versions of code and documentation for R. Use the following command to add

$ sudo add-apt-repository 'deb focal-cran40/'

You will get the following sample output.

Get:1 focal-security InRelease [114 kB]
Hit:2 focal InRelease                                                    
Hit:3 main InRelease
Hit:4 focal-updates InRelease
Hit:5 focal-backports InRelease
Get:6 focal-cran40/ InRelease [3622 B]
Get:7 focal-cran40/ Packages [45.1 kB]
Fetched 163 kB in 1s (201 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done

5. Install R and its dependecies

Run the following command in order to install R and its dependencies into the system.

$ sudo apt install --no-install-recommends r-base -y

This will install R into our system. You can check to verify that R was installed by typing R into the terminal. You will get the following;

R version 4.1.2 (2021-11-01) -- "Bird Hippie"
Copyright (C) 2021 The R Foundation for Statistical Computing
Platform: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu (64-bit)

R is free software and comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
You are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions.
Type 'license()' or 'licence()' for distribution details.

R is a collaborative project with many contributors.
Type 'contributors()' for more information and
'citation()' on how to cite R or R packages in publications.

Type 'demo()' for some demos, 'help()' for on-line help, or
'help.start()' for an HTML browser interface to help.
Type 'q()' to quit R.

> q()

Type q() to quit the console.

6. Install Rstudio

To install Rstudio we need to download it from the Rstudio download center.

$ wget -qO-

After the install is complete we can ls to see our downloaded Rstudio

$ ls
rstudio-2021.09.1-372-amd64.deb  snap  wget-log

Now you can run the installer with the following command:

$ sudo dpkg -i rstudio-2021.09.1-372-amd64.deb

This will run the installation on our system. For my case I ran into the following errors;

Selecting previously unselected package rstudio.
(Reading database ... 97536 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack rstudio-2021.09.1-372-amd64.deb ...
Unpacking rstudio (2021.09.1+372) ...
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of rstudio:
 rstudio depends on libclang-dev; however:
  Package libclang-dev is not installed.
 rstudio depends on libxkbcommon-x11-0; however:
  Package libxkbcommon-x11-0 is not installed.
 rstudio depends on libpq5; however:
  Package libpq5 is not installed.

dpkg: error processing package rstudio (--install):
 dependency problems - leaving unconfigured
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.64ubuntu1) ...
Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.15-1) ...
Errors were encountered while processing:

We need to install the following dependencies causing errors. We can do the following to fix the errors;

$ sudo apt install -f -y

Run the installer again, this time around it will be successful

$ sudo dpkg -i rstudio-2021.09.1-372-amd64.deb
(Reading database ... 105864 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack rstudio-2021.09.1-372-amd64.deb ...
Unpacking rstudio (2021.09.1+372) over (2021.09.1+372) ...
Setting up rstudio (2021.09.1+372) ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.64ubuntu1) ...
Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.15-1) ...

As you can see we have successfully installed Rstudio.

To open Rstudio go to Ubuntu Desktop and open apps, you will see the Rstudio logo. Click on that and begin exploring Rstudio.

7. Conclusion.

We have successfully installed R and Rstudio on our Ubuntu 20.04. Go ahead and explore more.

About Kipkoech Sang

I am a technology enthusiast who loves to share gained knowledge through offering daily tips as a way of empowering others. I am fan of Linux and all other things open source.
View all posts by Kipkoech Sang →

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