How to install Copilot on lxplus

Tutorial on how to install Github Copilot on lxplus machines.

I have been relying on connecting to lxplus on vsocde. But recently I got a lot of problems with the connection and probably some problem with vsocde server causing memory leaks which sometime resluted in automated email from CERN IT that I’m using too much memory. I was not happy with this and then I had to resort to the old fashion connection via terminal. Then I needed my favourite tool to help me when I’m writing code, of course I’m talking about github copilot. I grow dependence on that tool and how easy it makes editing and filling those historgram trees and vectors. Copilot is available for limited number of editors, it is currently available only for VSCode, JetBrains IDEs and vim/Nvim. My favourite terminal editor is vim anyway. I even had this in my vimrc file:

export EDITOR=vim # Viva vim, Death to Emacs

Sorry for Emacs folks but even nano is still better. The problem is to install copilot on vim/Nvim you need vim 9.0.0185 or newer. lxplus default vim version is very old and stucked for vim ~ 7 for some reason. I had to build vim from source and install it as non-root user. Here I will explain how to do this:

The first part is downloading the vim source code. you can download the latest source from vim download page. First lets create a directory in our home to put the source and install

cd $HOME/private 
mkdir myvim && cd myvim

Next lets download the vim source code and extract the tar archive

wget && tar xvf vim-9.0.tar.gz

Now lets change into the Vim source directory

cd vim-9.0

We need to configure the build process, making sure to specify a prefix directory where you have write permissions (e.g. ~/local):

 ./configure --prefix=$HOME/local

The next step is to compile and install Vim:

make && make install

To overwrite the pre-existing version of Vim with the one you installed in your local directory, you’ll need to ensure that the executable in your local directory is found first in your PATH. You can do this by modifying your shell profile (e.g. ~/.bashrc, ~/.bash_profile, or ~/.zshrc) to add the following line at the end:

export PATH=$HOME/local/bin:$PATH

This will make the vim executable in ~/local/bin the first one that is found when you run vim in your terminal, effectively overwriting the pre-existing version. Remember to restart your terminal or source the shell profile after making these changes for the changes to take effect: source ~/.bashrc (or equivalent for your shell).

Now we need to install the copilot plugin for vim. We first need to determine the location of Vim’s runtime directory, which is typically ~/.vim or ~/.local/share/vim. We can determine the location of the runtime directory by running the following command in Vim:

:echo &runtimepath

This will display a list of directories separated by commas, where Vim looks for its runtime files. The first directory in the list is the primary runtime directory.

Next, you’ll need to download the extension you want to install and place it in the appropriate subdirectory of the runtime directory. The subdirectory depends on the type of extension:

To install copilot we can use the following command:

git clone \

Now we can open vim and start copilot setup to link to our github account. To start copilot setup we can use the following command:

:Copilot setup

This will give you token and link to open on your devcie (open link in browser) and then paste the token into the page that appears in browser and then wait a couple of seconds for the setup to complete. If successful, you can start using copilot by typing :Copilot in vim.

I hope this helps you to install copilot on lxplus.

#Linux   #Servers   #CERN   #lxplus