by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
It is possible to install the Arduino IDE from the default Ubuntu repositories using
sudo apt install arduino; however, what you will install is a woefully “out-of-date” version. Let’s install the most “up-to-date” software so we can take advantage of the latest tools and Arduino boards available.
I will document the process using Ubuntu Mate version 19.10; however, this should work on most versions of Ubuntu (no promises though). Let’s get started.
BLOGGER’S NOTE: This is the last post of 2019! I can’t believe 2020 has arrived. I wrote this post to help me prepare to teach my Spring 2020 TECH 120 course for Purdue Polytechnic Columbus; which for the first time, will include a section on physical computing. We are going to use ELEGOO Mega 2560 project kits.
Ubuntu Make, or
umake is a command line tool designed to “enable quick and easy setup of common needs for developers on Ubuntu.” It is available as a Snap package or via the default Ubuntu 19.10 repositories. I will use the repository version and follow the directions on the Ubuntu Make GitHub page.
First, fire up the Terminal application and use the commands below:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install ubuntu-make
sudocommand will require you to enter your Ubuntu user password.
The next step is to use Ubuntu Make, or the
umake command, to install the Arduino IDE with the command below:
umake ide arduino
Ubuntu Make installs the application in the default directory shown below:
You do have the option to change this location before installing but I do not recommend.
Let’s grant Ubuntu access to the USB ports that will be assigned to the Arduino hardware. This is as simple as the command below:
sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER
Logout of Ubuntu and then log back in. There’s no need to restart but if you have issues, you may want to give the computer a restart.
To test your install, you will use another Terminal command:
NOTE: You can add this command to your Ubuntu menu but that’s for another post or a simple Google search.
Plug in the Arduino using the USB cable provided with the device. Select the board type using the following Arduino IDE menu option:
Tools / Board:
Select the type of Arduino board connected. There are many, so be careful when making your selection (see image below).
The last hardware configuration step is to select the port connected to the Arduino. Use the Arduino IDE menu:
Tools / Port:
This is were every machine differs but you should see something similar to the following:
If you have a long list, you can find the correct port with these steps:
You are now ready to program and upload said program to your Arduino.
Updating the Arduino IDE is a manual process. When you discover that an update is available, by reviewing the Arduino software page, simply rerun this command:
umake ide arduino
Ubuntu Make will announce that a previous version is installed and ask to delete it. Answer
Y and hit the Return key (⏎) to proceed with the upgrade. You will not need to repeat to the
dialout command above.
NOTE: If you are a developer, you may want to look at the Ubuntu Make command
umake --list. This will list other IDEs, software, and development environments you can install.
That’s all it takes to install the Arduino IDE on your Ubuntu Mate distribution, run the software, configure the connected Arduino hardware, and keep the software up to date. I hope this blog post saves others some time. It took an hour or so of trial and error for me to find a method that I preferred. If you have questions or find an error, please drop a comment below. Happy programming!