Standard Setup of Toolchain for Linux (CMake)


This is documentation for the CMake-based build system which is currently in preview release. If you encounter any gaps or bugs, please report them in the Issues section of the ESP-IDF repository.

The CMake-based build system will become the default build system in ESP-IDF V4.0. The existing GNU Make based build system will be deprecated in ESP-IDF V5.0.

Install Prerequisites

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

  • CentOS 7:

    sudo yum install git wget ncurses-devel flex bison gperf python pyserial cmake ninja-build ccache
  • Ubuntu and Debian:

    sudo apt-get install git wget libncurses-dev flex bison gperf python python-pip python-setuptools python-serial python-cryptography python-future python-pyparsing cmake ninja-build ccache libffi-dev libssl-dev
  • Arch:

    sudo pacman -S --needed gcc git make ncurses flex bison gperf python2-pyserial python2-cryptography python2-future python2-pyparsing cmake ninja ccache


CMake version 3.5 or newer is required for use with ESP-IDF. Older Linux distributions may require updating, enabling of a “backports” repository, or installing of a “cmake3” package rather than “cmake”.

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.

  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.