Development Environment Setup on Linux

This section describes how to set up a Linux development system.

After completing these steps, you will be able to compile and run your Zephyr applications on the following Linux distributions:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64-bit
  • Fedora 25 64-bit

Where needed, alternative instructions are listed for Ubuntu and Fedora.

Installing the Host’s Operating System

Building the project’s software components including the kernel has been tested on Ubuntu and Fedora systems. Instructions for installing these OSes are beyond the scope of this document.

Update Your Operating System

Before proceeding with the build, ensure your OS is up to date. On Ubuntu, you’ll first need to update the local database list of available packages before upgrading:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

On Fedora:

sudo dnf upgrade

Note that having a newer version available for an installed package (and reported by dnf check-update) does not imply a subsequent dnf upgrade will install it, because it must also ensure dependencies and other restrictions are satisfied.

Installing Requirements and Dependencies

Install the following with either apt-get or dnf.

Install the required packages in a Ubuntu host system with:

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends git cmake ninja-build gperf \
  ccache doxygen dfu-util device-tree-compiler \
  python3-ply python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-wheel xz-utils file \
  make gcc-multilib autoconf automake libtool

Install the required packages in a Fedora host system with:

sudo dnf group install "Development Tools" "C Development Tools and Libraries"
sudo dnf install git cmake ninja-build gperf ccache\
      doxygen dfu-util dtc python3-pip \
      python3-ply python3-yaml dfu-util dtc python3-pykwalify \
      glibc-devel.i686 libstdc++-devel.i686 autoconf automake libtool

Install additional packages required for development with Zephyr:

cd ~/zephyr  # or to your directory where zephyr is cloned
pip3 install --user -r scripts/requirements.txt

If you require pyocd, an open source python2 library for programming and debugging ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers, use this command:

pip2 install --user -r scripts/py2-requirements.txt

CMake version 3.8.2 or higher is required. Check what version you have using cmake --version; if you have an older version, check the backports or install a more recent version manually. For example, to install version 3.8.2 from the CMake website directly in ~/cmake:

mkdir $HOME/cmake && cd $HOME/cmake
yes | sh | cat
echo "export PATH=$PWD/cmake-3.8.2-Linux-x86_64/bin:\$PATH" >> $HOME/.zephyrrc
source <zephyr git clone location>/
cmake --version

Installing the Zephyr Software Development Kit

Zephyr’s SDK contains all necessary tools and cross-compilers needed to build the kernel on all supported architectures. Additionally, it includes host tools such as custom QEMU binaries and a host compiler for building host tools if necessary. The SDK supports the following architectures:

  • X86
  • ARM
  • ARC
  • Nios II
  • Xtensa
  • RISC-V

Follow these steps to install the SDK on your Linux host system.

  1. Download the latest SDK as a self-extracting installation binary:


    (You can change 0.9.3 to another version if needed; the Zephyr Downloads page contains all available SDK releases.)

  2. Run the installation binary:



    If this fails, make sure Zephyr’s dependencies were installed as described in Installing Requirements and Dependencies.

  3. Follow the installation instructions on the screen. The toolchain’s default installation location is /opt/zephyr-sdk/, but it is recommended to install the SDK under your home directory instead.

    To install the SDK in the default location, you need to run the installation binary as root.

  4. To use the Zephyr SDK, export the following environment variables and use the target location where SDK was installed:

    export ZEPHYR_SDK_INSTALL_DIR=<sdk installation directory>

To use the same toolchain in new sessions in the future, you can set the variables in the file $HOME/.zephyrrc, for example:

cat <<EOF > ~/.zephyrrc
export ZEPHYR_SDK_INSTALL_DIR=/opt/zephyr-sdk


In previous releases of Zephyr, the ZEPHYR_TOOLCHAIN_VARIANT variable was called ZEPHYR_GCC_VARIANT.