Development Environment on Ubuntu LTS / Debian Linux

The supported/tested Linux OS versions for PX4 development are Ubuntu Linux LTS 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) and 20.04 (Focal Fossa). These allow you to build for the most PX4 targets (NuttX based hardware, Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight hardware, Linux-based hardware, Simulation).

Bash scripts are provided to help make it easy to install development environment for different target platforms:

The scripts have been tested on clean Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS installations. They may not work as expected if installed "on top" of an existing system, or on a different Ubuntu release.

The instructions below explain how to download and use the scripts.

Gazebo, JMAVSim and NuttX (Pixhawk) Targets

Use the ubuntu.sh script to set up a development environment that includes Gazebo 9 and jMAVSim simulators, and/or the NuttX/Pixhawk toolchain.

To install the toolchain:

  1. Download PX4 Source Code:
    git clone https://github.com/PX4/PX4-Autopilot.git --recursive
    
  2. Run the ubuntu.sh with no arguments (in a bash shell) to install everything:
    bash ./Tools/setup/ubuntu.sh
    
    • Acknowledge any prompts as the script progress.
    • You can use the --no-nuttx and --no-sim-tools to omit the nuttx and/or simulation tools.
  3. Restart the computer on completion.

You can alternatively download ubuntu.sh and requirements.txt from the PX4 source repository (/Tools/setup/) and run ubuntu.sh in place:
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PX4/PX4-Autopilot/master/Tools/setup/ubuntu.sh
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PX4/PX4-Autopilot/master/Tools/setup/requirements.txt
bash ubuntu.sh

Notes:

  • PX4 works with Gazebo 7, 8, and 9. The script uses gazebosim.org instructions to install Gazebo9.
  • If you're going work with ROS then follow the ROS/Gazebo instructions instead (these install Gazebo automatically, as part of the ROS installation).
  • You can verify the the NuttX installation by confirming the gcc version as shown:

     $arm-none-eabi-gcc --version
    
     arm-none-eabi-gcc (GNU Tools for Arm Embedded Processors 7-2017-q4-major) 7.2.1 20170904 (release) [ARM/embedded-7-branch revision 255204]
     Copyright (C) 2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
     This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
     warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
    

Raspberry Pi

The following instructions explain how to set up a build toolchain for RasPi on Ubuntu 18.04.

To build for Ubuntu 20.04 (focal) you must use docker (the GCC toolchain on Ubuntu 20.04 can build PX4, but the generated binary files are too new to run on actual Pi). For more information see [PilotPi with Raspberry Pi OS

Developer Quick Start > Alternative build method using docker](https://docs.px4.io/master/en/flight_controller/raspberry_pi_pilotpi_rpios.html#alternative-build-method-using-docker).

To get the common dependencies for Raspberry Pi:

  1. Download ubuntu.sh and requirements.txt from the PX4 source repository (/Tools/setup/):
    wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PX4/PX4-Autopilot/master/Tools/setup/ubuntu.sh
    wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PX4/PX4-Autopilot/master/Tools/setup/requirements.txt
  2. Run ubuntu.sh in a terminal to get just the common dependencies:
    bash ubuntu.sh --no-nuttx --no-sim-tools
    
  3. Then setup an cross-compiler (either GCC or clang) as described in the following sections.

GCC (armhf)

Ubuntu software repository provides a set of pre-compiled toolchains. Note that Ubuntu Focal comes up with gcc-9-arm-linux-gnueabihf as its default installation which is not fully supported, so we must manually install gcc-8-arm-linux-gnueabihf and set it as the default toolchain. This guide also applies to earlier Ubuntu releases (Bionic). The following instruction assumes you haven't installed any version of arm-linux-gnueabihf, and will set up the default executable with update-alternatives. Install them with the terminal command:

sudo apt-get install -y gcc-8-arm-linux-gnueabihf g++-8-arm-linux-gnueabihf

Set them as default:

sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-8 100 --slave /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++ arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++ /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++-8
sudo update-alternatives --config arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc

GCC (aarch64)

If you want to build PX4 for ARM64 devices, this section is required.

sudo apt-get install -y gcc-8-aarch64-linux-gnu g++-8-aarch64-linux-gnu
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc /usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc-8 100 --slave /usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-g++ aarch64-linux-gnu-g++ /usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu-g++-8
sudo update-alternatives --config aarch64-linux-gnu-gcc

Clang (optional)

First install GCC (needed to use clang).

We recommend you to get clang from the Ubuntu software repository, as shown below:

sudo apt-get install clang

Example below for building PX4 firmware out of tree, using CMake.

cd <PATH-TO-PX4-SRC>
mkdir build/px4_raspberrypi_default_clang
cd build/px4_raspberrypi_default_clang
cmake \
-G"Unix Makefiles" \
-DCONFIG=px4_raspberrypi_default \
-UCMAKE_C_COMPILER \
-DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang \
-UCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER \
-DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++ \
../..
make

Detailed Information

Additional developer information for using PX4 on Raspberry Pi (including building PX4 natively) can be found here:

ROS/Gazebo

This section explains how to install ROS/Gazebo ("Melodic") for use with PX4.

To install the development toolchain:

  1. Download the script in a bash shell:
    wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PX4/Devguide/master/build_scripts/ubuntu_sim_ros_melodic.sh
  2. Run the script:
    bash ubuntu_sim_ros_melodic.sh
    
    You may need to acknowledge some prompts as the script progresses.

Note:

  • ROS Melodic is installed with Gazebo9 by default.
  • Your catkin (ROS build system) workspace is created at ~/catkin_ws/.
  • The script uses instructions from the ROS Wiki "Melodic" Ubuntu page.

Snapdragon Flight

Setup instructions for Snapdragon Flight are provided in the PX4 User Guide:

Fast RTPS installation

eProsima Fast RTPS is a C++ implementation of the RTPS (Real Time Publish Subscribe) protocol. FastRTPS is used, via the RTPS/ROS2 Interface: PX4-FastRTPS Bridge, to allow PX4 uORB topics to be shared with offboard components.

Follow the instructions in Fast RTPS Installation to install it.

Additional Tools

After setting up the build/simulation toolchain, see Additional Tools for information about other useful tools.

Next Steps

Once you have finished setting up the environment, continue to the build instructions.

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