You can have multiple versions of the IDE on one computer without any problems. All the versions will be installed in their own separate directories. It will probably be a good idea to rename the shortcuts on the desktop and the application menu or you might end up with multiple “Arduino IDE” shortcuts, which can be confusing. It will be a bit more practical to rename each shortcut to “Arduino IDE <version number>”. How to rename shortcuts on Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon, see below.
The latest version number at the time of writing was 1.8.0. So I ended up with the file “arduino-1.8.0-linux64.tar.xz” in my Downloads folder.
Head over to the folder where you downloaded the file (e.g. “Downloads”) and extract the file using the Archive Manager by double-clicking it.
After the extraction, open a terminal window (CTRL+ALT+T) and go into the Downloads folder: cd ~/Downloads
Move the folder containing the extracted files to the “/opt” directory. The “/opt” directory is the directory reserved for all the software and add-on packages that are not part of the default Linux installation. Remember to change version number “1.8.0” to the version you downloaded! sudo mv arduino-1.8.0 /opt
Go into the new Arduino directory: cd /opt/arduino-1.8.0/
List the files: ls -l
You should see a file “install.sh”, the installation script. Make it executable by using “chmod +x”: chmod +x install.sh
Finally, run the installation script by typing: sudo ./install.sh
This will install the IDE and create the shortcuts in the application menu and on the desktop.
Linux Mint Cinnamon: renaming shortcuts
Here is how to rename the shortcuts, which might be handy when you want to install multiple versions of the IDE.
For the application menu (a.k.a. start menu or main menu):
Right-click the “Menu” button on the taskbar and choose “Configure…”;
The window “Applets”, click “Open the menu editor”;
Window “Main menu”: on the left, select “Programming”, on the right, select “Arduino IDE”, and then click “properties”;
And the window “launcher properties”: change the name, and finally click “Ok”.