Google Earth

Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop. View exotic locales like Maui and Paris as well as points of interest such as local restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more.




Recommended installation methods

Installing the .deb file downloaded from the Google Earth Website

The Google Earth Website now has pre-compiled .deb packages for Ubuntu.

  • Open and download Google Earth for Linux. Select the .deb package for your CPU architecture (32 or 64-bit). If you click on Advanced Setup you can choose the latest version of Google Earth or the previous version. Note to 64bit users: The 64bit debian package depends on ia32-libs which is depreciated and no longer available as of 13.10 Saucy. Use the 32bit package and multiarch-support.

  • Make sure the lsb-core package is installed! Open a terminal from Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal (in the Panel) or from the Dash (in new Unity desktop) and type (or copy-paste) the following command into the terminal:

    sudo apt-get install lsb-core
  • Double-click the downloaded .deb package to install it using the Ubuntu Software Center.

  • After installation you should find Google Earth in the Applications -> Internet menu or through the Dash.

For earlier versions of Ubuntu that don't have the USC, it is preferred that you use gdebi installer:

  • Make sure that gdebi is installed:

    sudo apt-get install gdebi
  • Install Google Earth .deb package from the terminal

    sudo gdebi path_to_the_google_earth_package.deb
    or by opening the package with the gdebi's graphical interface.

Installing from Medibuntu repository

Google Earth is available packaged in the Medibuntu repository, however it might not have the latest version available.

(i) Currently only available for hardy, karmic and lucid

Make sure you have the Medibuntu repository added to your package sources, then install the googleearth package by clicking here or using your favorite package manager (Synaptic in Gnome or Adept in KDE, for example) or type the following in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install googleearth

Alternative installation method

Using make-googleearth-package

Google Earth is also available from googleearth-package. This package installs a script called make-googleearth-package, which downloads the latest stable Google Earth installer from Google and creates a package for you. You can then install and remove the created package at will. You can find the googleearth-package in the multiverse repository.

  • Make sure the lsb-core package is installed:

    sudo apt-get install lsb-core
  • Install the googleearth-package package:

    sudo apt-get install googleearth-package
  • The instructions on how to use the script can be found by running

    make-googleearth-package --help


    man make-googleearth-package
  • Use the script to download the latest binary and create a .deb package:

    make-googleearth-package --force

    Please note that the Natty (11.04) version of googleearth-package no longer seems to require the "--force" option for 64-bit systems. The Natty version can be used on earlier Ubuntu releases. Note to 64bit users: make-googleearth-package depends on ia32-libs which is depreciated and no longer available as of 13.10 Saucy. Use the precompiled 32bit debian package from and the multiarch-support package from the repositories.

    Be aware that a previously downloaded copy of the binary will not be overwritten, so manually delete any GoogleEarthLinux.bin file before running this command.

  • Install the created .deb package and Google Earth should be available in your menus.

Hints and Tips


You can uninstall Google Earth as any other package. From the terminal you can do it using the following commands:

  • Find the exact package name:

    dpkg --list 'google-earth*' | cat
    which may show that the package name is google-earth-stable.
  • Uninstall the package:

    sudo dpkg -P google-earth-stable

If you installed Google Earth by a method that included running sh GoogleEarthLinux.bin (now depreciated), the unistallation can be done by pasting the following command in a terminal:

  • (i) This command is all on one line. Copy it and paste it in your terminal.

sudo rm -rf /opt/google-earth && sudo rm /usr/share/mime/application/* /usr/share/mimelnk/application/* /usr/share/applnk/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/share/mime/packages/googleearth-mimetypes.xml /usr/share/gnome/apps/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/share/applications/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/local/bin/googleearth

You may also wish to remove your user preferences folder, although this is not necessary if you intend to reinstall later. This directory contains Google Earth settings and the cache:

rm -rf ~/.googleearth


Google Earth for Linux is still in beta. As such, many problems that you may encounter can be attributed to this.

Google Earth and Compiz

As with all OpenGL apps, Google Earth has issues running with Compiz. To resolve this issue, either run Google Earth in a normal GNOME session, or see this thread:

Google Earth and ATI

Some people using the ATI fglrx driver have experienced a problem where Google Earth freezes at the splash screen and never starts up. See this post for a solution:

Google Earth and 3D acceleration

Ensure that you video driver has 3D acceleration enabled. Display Hardware Drivers by selecting System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers Select the Enable checkbox next to your graphics card. This may require a system restart.

Google Earth on Ubuntu x64

As of 13.10 Saucy, ia32-libs is no longer available from the repositories. Use the multiarch-support package from the repositories and download the 32bit .deb from

If you get a "error 29", you may miss "lib32nss-mdns". Install this library like this:

sudo aptitude install lib32nss-mdns

You may also install other 32bit libraries. Note that google does not provide a 64 bit version of Google Earth. Thus installation on x64 system will take some extra efforts.

Accidentally left the 'start automatically after install' checked

If the installer was started with sudo, googleearth will be started as root, but still using the home folder of the normal user (who started sudo). Thus Google Earth will place its configuration files into the user's home folders, but with root as the owner. The normal user cannot use Google Earth, because the settings cannot be saved. The display will not contain a globe, but only a black space and some settings will be grayed out. To fix this problem, delete the Google Earth configuration directory:

sudo rm -Rf .config/Google .googleearth

Google Earth on Ubuntu 10.04 x32

This was done using the "alternate install" method above. You may have to adapt it for the package install.


This version has Qt libraries that appear to be old and incompatible, causing crashes. The stack trace will include:

To fix this, install the repository's libQt libs:

sudo apt-get install libqtcore4 libqtgui4 libqt4-network libqt4-webkit

Then remove the bundled libs (assuming the default installation location):

cd /opt/google-earth
sudo rm


There is also apparently a buggy version of libfreeimage. The stack trace will include:

To fix this:

sudo apt-get install libfreeimage3

then to start Google Earth:

cd /opt/google-earth
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/ googleearth

After these, Google Earth worked very well on my system (ATI Radeon accelerated, Compiz off).

Google Earth 6

Google Earth 6 not starting - /usr/lib/googleearth/googleearth-bin: not found

If you get this message, installing or reinstalling the package "lsb-core" should help. It certainly did on my system (Ubuntu 10.10 with GoogleEarth (beta)), but there are several posting on the net that indicate that it may help with other combination of versions as well.

apt-get install --reinstall lsb-core

The Natty (11.04) version of googleearth-package now automatically installs the "lsb-core" package to fix this issue, it can be downloaded and installed on other Ubuntu releases from:

Further Reading

CategorySoftware CategoryScience CategoryGraphicsApplications CategoryObsolete

GoogleEarth (last edited 2013-12-03 22:35:13 by torinkindred)