3 min read

HOWTO mine Bitcoin in Linux

I started mining Bitcoin back in August, and have had modest success (more in a later post), but when I was getting started I couldn’t find a good/current HOWTO; this post aimes to fix that. As usual these directions are for Debian GNU Linux, but should work identically in Ubuntu, and in other Linuxes with the correct names for the needed packages. So, with that out of the way, let’s get started!

First we need to install a few things, most you may already have these if you’ve compiled stuff before

apt-get install autoconf gcc make git libcurl4-openssl-dev libncurses5-dev libtool libjansson-dev libudev-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev

Now let’s get a miner that can mine Bitcoin. While there are a few good projects out there, I use and recommend cgminer which is an ASIC and FPGA miner in c for bitcoin. Let’s get the code

git clone https://github.com/ckolivas/cgminer.git

Next we need to compile it, and this step might change for you, depending on what kind of hardware miner you’re using. Since I’m using the ever popular ASICMiner Block Erupters, I choose the compile option icarus to use those chips

cd cgminer
./autogen.sh --enable-icarus</pre>

And then to compile


And that’s it, yes you could run (sudo) make install to install it system wide, but I don’t do that, I just run it from my home directory. This way it’s easy for me to checkout the latest code, recompile and run it again (see script at the end). So, the last thing to do before running the cgminer is to join a mining ‘pool’ online, and getting the credentials for that. I won’t go into a long ‘here’s how bitcoin mining works’ (this time), but I’ll just say mining on your own is never going to work with today’s speeds, so by joining a mining pool your processing power is put to better use, and you get credit for the work your miner contributes. Before joining a pool do some research online to understand what you’re getting into. Once you’ve joined you’ll need to login to the web service and create a worker for them to assign jobs to. Once that’s complete you’re ready to run things, so to (finally) get the game started, do something like this:


For example, I rock something like this:

./cgminer --url http://mint.bitminter.com:8332 -O johnny_worker1:sekretpa55word

Watch what the screen tells you and adjust as needed. Now for a script to wrap all of this up:

# define your pool details

if [ ! -d "cgminer" ]; then
    git clone https://github.com/ckolivas/cgminer.git

cd cgminer
git pull
./autogen.sh --enable-icarus

./cgminer --url http://$poolurl:$poolport -O $pooluser_$poolworker:$poolpass

Ok, now you should be rolling and now I owe you a followup post talking about Bitcoin exchanges, wallets, online transactions (and even cashing out) so you can actually use your Bitcoins. Until then, have fun!