Installing Go 1.2 on Ubuntu 13.10

Dec 2 2013

Newer Ubuntu distributions ship with various versions of the Go language. Ubuntu 13.10, for instance, has an available golang-1.1.2 package. But the most recent version of Go is 1.2.

The easiest way to install Go 1.2 on your system is by using the godeb tool. Here's how. <!--break-->


godeb is a small tool that grabs the latest version(s) of Go and dynamically constructs a debian package that can be installed on your local Ubuntu/Debian machine.

There is one caveat to godeb, though: Recent versions of Ubuntu already have the golang package, and the packages that godeb creates will conflict with Ubuntu's package. Here we do a little work to fix that.

Installing godeb

The basics of the godeb project are described on the author's blog. If you need a binary package for godeb, check there.

Assuming that you have already installed golang via apt-get, it's just as easy to install godeb as a go package:

$ cd $GOPATH
$ go get

You should probably test that godeb works before proceeding:

$ $GOPATH/bin/godeb --help

Uninstalling golang

Since the Ubuntu golang package will conflict, and since we've already build out godeb tool, we can now uninstall golang:

$ sudo apt-get remove golang

This will remove Go from your system, but will leave your $GOPATH alone.

Building a New Go Debian Package

Now we can use godeb to create a new package:

$ $GOPATH/bin/godeb install

This will attempt to fetch the latest Go distribution from and then build a debian package. If all goes will, it will use dpkg to install it for you.


On my systems, part way through godeb's installation I received an error that looks like this:

package go_1.2-godeb1_amd64.deb ready
Selecting previously unselected package go.
dpkg: regarding go_1.2-godeb1_amd64.deb containing go:
 go conflicts with golang
  golang (version 2:1.1.2-2ubuntu1) is present and installed.

dpkg: error processing go_1.2-godeb1_amd64.deb (--install):
 conflicting packages - not installing go
Errors were encountered while processing:
error: while installing go package: exit status 1

This error indicates that the dpkg program won't install our newly created Go package because it conflicts with the golang package.

Looking at your filesystem, you should see a package file like go_1.2-godeb1_amd64.deb. If you made it that far then you are actually in good shape. We can easily resolve the error above.

All we need to do now is tell dpkg that we want it to install even though there could be a conflict:

$ sudo dpkg -i --force-overwrite go_1.2-godeb1_amd64.deb

The force-overwrite flag tells dpkg to cause this package to overwrite any files installed by the Ubuntu golang package.

Once you've run the above command you should be able to run go version to verify that the correct Go version was installed.

Update 2014-04-08: Daniel Hunsaker explained the real solution to the dpkg failure, and provided a a better solution:

The conflict is because golang is a virtual package. You need to run apt-get autoremove after you uninstall it so that the actual packages get removed as well. Then, no manual dpkg required!

Update 2014-03-04: Thanks to Jeff Graham for suggesting a fix to a typo.