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Bash on Windows Toolchain

The Windows Cygwin Toolchain is the (only) officially supported toolchain for Windows development.

Windows users can alternatively install a slightly modified Ubuntu Linux PX4 development environment within Bash on Windows, and use it to:

  • Build firmware for NuttX/Pixhawk targets.
  • Run the PX4 JMAVSim simulation (using a Windows-hosted X-Windows app to display the UI)

This mechanism only works on Windows 10. It essentially runs the toolchain in a virtual machine, and is relatively slow compared to other solutions.

Setup Environment

The easiest way to setup the environment is to use the script (details for script are given below).

To setup the development environment:

  1. Install Bash on Windows.
  2. Open the bash shell.
  3. Download the
  4. Run the script using the command below (acknowledging any prompts as required):

Build Firmware

To build the firmware (i.e. for px4_fmu-v4):

  1. Enter the following commands in the bash shell:

    cd ~/src/PX4-Autopilot
    make px4_fmu-v4_default

    On successful completion you'll find the firmware here: PX4-Autopilot/build/px4_fmu-v4_default/px4_fmu-v4_default.px4

    The make commands to build firmware for other boards can be found in Building the Code

  2. You can flash the custom firmware on Windows using QGroundControl or Mission Planner (it is not possible to directly flash the firmware from within the bash shell using the upload command).

Simulation (JMAVSim)

Bash on Windows does not include support for UI libraries. In order to display the jMAVSim UI you will first need to install an X-Window application like XMing into Windows.

To run JMAVSim:

  1. Install and start XMing on Windows.
  2. Enter the following command in the bash shell:
    export DISPLAY=:0

    Add this line to the Ubuntu .bashrc file if you don't want to enter it every session.

  3. Start PX4 and jMAVSim in the bash shell:

    make px4_sitl jmavsim

    The JMAVSim UI is then displayed in XMing as shown below:


Gazebo can similarly be run within Ubuntu Bash for Windows, but too slow to be useful. To try this, follow the ROS kinetic install guide and run Gazebo in the Bash shell as shown:

  export DISPLAY=:0
  export GAZEBO_IP=
  make px4_sitl gazebo

Build Script Details

The build script modifies the Ubuntu build instructions to remove Ubuntu-specific and UI-dependent components, including the Qt Creator IDE and the simulators.

In addition, it uses a 64 bit arm-none-eabi compiler since BashOnWindows doesn't run 32 bit ELF programs (and the default compiler from is 32 bit).

To add this compiler to your environment manually:

  1. Download the compiler:
  2. Unpack it using this command line in the Bash On Windows console:
    tar -xvf gcc-arm-none-eabi-5_4-2017q2-20170512-linux.tar.bz2
    This will unpack the arm gcc cross-compiler to:
  3. Add the to the environment (add the line to your bash profile to make the change permanent)
    export PATH=$HOME/gcc-arm-none-eabi-5_4-2017q2/bin:$PATH

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