Software development: Arduino IDE installation


The Arduino IDE is a free/opensource software development tool that can be used for the development of a derivative form of C++ code, as well as managing its download into the memory of a wide range of microcontrollers, including the ESP8266 and ESP32.

The IDE programming language, producing what is called a 'sketch', is based upon the C/C++ programming languages but the IDE has many simplifications and special usage methods to support the IDE's primary purpose i.e. to 'load' compiled code into microcontroller boards e.g.  many Arduino boards use an Atmel microcontroller that only runs what is called the AVR instruction set. This blog post provides some more useful background on the IDE programming language.

For an individual's home use the latest version of the IDE can be downloaded from: https://www.arduino.cc/en/software with versions available for Windows, MacOS, Linux and Linux ARM machines, and a simple, low-cost Linux ARM machine is obviously a Raspberry Pi.

To install the IDE on a Raspberry Pi running the Raspberry Pi OS (a Debian OS derivative) you could just use the standard 'apt' install command i.e. 
  sudo apt-get install arduino  

BUT depending upon how up-to-date the apt repository is, it may install a relatively old version - so a more 'manual' method is recommended for the Raspberry Pi as follows:

  • download the Linux ARM 32 bits version which will normally put a compressed .xz file in the Raspberry Pi's /Downloads folder. The 'stable' production release at the last time this web page was updated is 1.8.19 but this will change over time.
  • then run the following commands in a Terminal window (updating the software version number in the commands below if required):
    • cd Downloads/
    • tar -xf arduino-1.8.19-linuxarm.tar.xz
    • sudo mv arduino-1.8.19 /opt
    • sudo /opt/arduino-1.8.19/install.sh

Once completed these steps create a link to the IDE under the Raspberry Pi's main menu i.e.  Menu > Programming

In this method the code is extracted from its downloaded compressed file and moved to the /opt folder, where it is then 'installed'. The /opt folder is only used 'by convention', since on a Raspberry Pi this is where 'whole' packages provided by an independent third party software distributor are usually stored.



All the currently available maker project information: