Toolchain installation on Linux

We recommend using the Contiki-NG Docker image for easy setup of a consistent development environment: doc:docker.

Alternatively, you can install the toolchains natively on your system. This page describes how to do so, for a Linux development environment.

Install development tools for Contiki-NG

Start by installing some necessary packages:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install build-essential doxygen git git-lfs curl wireshark python3-serial srecord rlwrap

On recent Ubuntu releases, you may get an error ifconfig: not found and netstat: not found when trying to run tunslip6. If this is the case, use apt to install net-tools.

While installing Wireshark, select enable the feature that lets non-superuser capture packets (select “yes”). Now add yourself to the wireshark group:

$ sudo usermod -a -G wireshark <user>

Then you will - if you intend to develop or re-configure examples - also need to install an code/text editor. There are many alternatives so we leave that up to you!

Install ARM compiler

An ARM compiler is needed to compile for ARM-based platforms such as CC2538DK and Zoul.

You should download it from or you can grab an older version from

$ wget
$ tar -xjf gcc-arm-none-eabi-9-2020-q2-update-x86_64-linux.tar.bz2

This will create a directory named gcc-arm-none-eabi-9-2020-q2-update in your current working dir. Add <working-directory>/gcc-arm-none-eabi-9-2020-q2-update/bin to your path.

Install MSP430 compiler

A compiler for MSP430 is needed to use the MSPSim emulator in Cooja. It is possible to install a GCC compiler for MSP430 from the Ubuntu package repository (sudo apt install gcc-msp430) but that version is too old to support the full memory of newer versions of MSP430.

The preferred version of MSP430 gcc is 4.7.2. To install it on /usr/local if you’re using 64-bit Linux, run:

$ wget -nv && \
  tar xjf mspgcc*.tar.bz2 -C /tmp/ && \
  cp -f -r /tmp/msp430/* /usr/local/ && \
  rm -rf /tmp/msp430 mspgcc*.tar.bz2

If desired, a script to compile MSP430 GCC 4.7.2 from source can be found here.

Install Java for the Cooja network simulator

$ sudo apt install default-jdk ant
$ update-alternatives --config java
There is only one alternative in link group java (providing /usr/bin/java): /usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java
Nothing to configure.

Install JTAG software for CC2538 (optional)

Many platforms such as Zolertia Zoul can be programmed via builtin USB but for programming a device using a JTAG dongle, Segger J-Link has been verified to work well with CC2538. The software for Segger J-Link can be downloaded from Segger. Download the installation file for Debian Linux.

$ sudo dpkg --install jlink_4.98.5_i386.deb

Install a CoAP client (optional)

Optionally and if you want to use CoAP examples, you can install the CoAP client coap-cli:

$ sudo apt-get install -y npm \
  && sudo apt-get clean \
  && sudo npm install coap-cli -g \
  && sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

Install the Mosquitto MQTT broker and accompanying clients (optional)

Install Mosquitto, if you need MQTT:

$ sudo apt-get install -y mosquitto mosquitto-clients

User access to USB

To be able to access the USB without using sudo, the user should be part of the groups plugdev and dialout.

$ sudo usermod -a -G plugdev <user>
$ sudo usermod -a -G dialout <user>

Improve stability for CC2538

The modem manager might interfere with the USB for CC2538. Update the configuration with:

echo 'ATTRS{idVendor}=="0451", ATTRS{idProduct}=="16c8", ENV{ID_MM_DEVICE_IGNORE}="1"' >> /lib/udev/rules.d/77-mm-usb-device-blacklist.rules

After configuration

Reboot the system after all configurations have been made.

Clone Contiki-NG

$ git clone
$ cd contiki-ng
$ git submodule update --init --recursive

Note: we recommend cloning and then initializing the submodules rather than using git clone --recursive. The latter results in submodules that use absolute paths to the top-level git, rather than relative paths, which are more flexible for a number of reasons.