Standard Setup of Toolchain for Linux


Install Prerequisites

To compile with ESP-IDF you need to get the following packages:

  • CentOS 7:

    sudo yum install gcc git wget make ncurses-devel flex bison gperf python pyserial
  • Ubuntu and Debian:

    sudo apt-get install gcc git wget make libncurses-dev flex bison gperf python python-pip python-setuptools python-serial
  • Arch:

    sudo pacman -S --needed gcc git make ncurses flex bison gperf python2-pyserial


Some older (pre-2014) Linux distributions may use pyserial version 2.x which is not supported by ESP-IDF. In this case please install a supported version via pip as it is described in section Install the Required Python Packages.

Toolchain Setup

ESP32 toolchain for Linux is available for download from Espressif website:

  1. Download this file, then extract it in ~/esp directory:

    mkdir -p ~/esp
    cd ~/esp
    tar -xzf ~/Downloads/xtensa-esp32-elf-linux64-1.22.0-80-g6c4433a-5.2.0.tar.gz
  1. The toolchain will be extracted into ~/esp/xtensa-esp32-elf/ directory.

    To use it, you will need to update your PATH environment variable in ~/.profile file. To make xtensa-esp32-elf available for all terminal sessions, add the following line to your ~/.profile file:

    export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/esp/xtensa-esp32-elf/bin"

    Alternatively, you may create an alias for the above command. This way you can get the toolchain only when you need it. To do this, add different line to your ~/.profile file:

    alias get_esp32='export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/esp/xtensa-esp32-elf/bin"'

    Then when you need the toolchain you can type get_esp32 on the command line and the toolchain will be added to your PATH.


    If you have /bin/bash set as login shell, and both .bash_profile and .profile exist, then update .bash_profile instead. In CentOS, alias should set in .bashrc.

  2. Log off and log in back to make the .profile changes effective. Run the following command to verify if PATH is correctly set:

    printenv PATH

    You are looking for similar result containing toolchain’s path at the end of displayed string:

    $ printenv PATH

    Instead of /home/user-name there should be a home path specific to your installation.

Permission issues /dev/ttyUSB0

With some Linux distributions you may get the Failed to open port /dev/ttyUSB0 error message when flashing the ESP32. This can be solved by adding the current user to the dialout group.

Arch Linux Users

To run the precompiled gdb (xtensa-esp32-elf-gdb) in Arch Linux requires ncurses 5, but Arch uses ncurses 6.

Backwards compatibility libraries are available in AUR for native and lib32 configurations:

Before installing these packages you might need to add the author’s public key to your keyring as described in the “Comments” section at the links above.

Alternatively, use crosstool-NG to compile a gdb that links against ncurses 6.

Next Steps

To carry on with development environment setup, proceed to section Get ESP-IDF.