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Zedboard - Setting up a ARM development environment in Linux

Well now that you have your Zedboard up and running, and your network is configured to talk to the outside world, let's get some code running on this thing!

First some environmental comments.  I am a big fan of Ubuntu.  I like it's feel and it's ease of use when it comes to installing packages using the apt-get command.  I will be writing just about all of these blog posts using Ubuntu as my host OS unless otherwise specified (like if it is a Windows post, or another flavor of Linux such as Fedora).

I have installed on a development box Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.  The only thing I selected during the install was to install OpenSSH so I could actually interface to the thing.  We are going to install just a single additional package to allow us to compile ARM code, and it's going to be really really simple to do!

Open up a command terminal on the local machine, or in my case open putty and connect to your box.

In the event that you do not have SSH installed and would like it installed then here is the command:

# sudo apt-get install update
# sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Now that you are at the prompt either on your local machine or via SSH, we can install the arm gcc tools:

$ sudo apt-get install gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi

Once the package is installed, you now have the ability to compile applications for your Zedboard! Woot!

I am going to go to my home directory and create a folder to do some development in, and then compile a hello world application:

zynqgeek@beth:~$ cd
zynqgeek@beth:~$ mkdir arm-devel
zynqgeek@beth:~$ cd arm-devel/
zynqgeek@beth:~/arm-devel$ touch helloworld.c zynqgeek@beth:~/arm-devel$ cat > helloworld.c
int main()
printf("Hello World!\n");
return 0;


So we have our source file, now we need to compile it.  The application we will use is arm-linux-gnueabi-gcc .

$ arm-linux-gnueabi-gcc -o helloworld helloworld.c


Ok, so now we have our application written and compiled.  But now what?  We can't run it on our development box because it isn't ARM based.  So we need to get it over to our Zedboard.  The Zedboard conveniently ships with a FTP server running on it!  So all we need to do is connect to our Zedboard and drop our file there.

zynqgeek@beth:~/arm-devel$ ftp
Connected to
220 Operation successful
Name ( root
230 Operation successful
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> ls
200 Operation successful
150 Directory listing
total 27
drwxr-xr-x    2 12319    300           2048 Jan  9  2012 bin
drwxr-xr-x    4 12319    300           3072 Jan  1 00:00 dev
drwxr-xr-x    4 12319    300           1024 Jan  1 00:00 etc
drwxr-xr-x    3 12319    300           2048 Jul 12  2012 lib
drwxr-xr-x   11 12319    300           1024 Jan  9  2012 licenses
lrwxrwxrwx    1 12319    300             11 Jan  9  2012 linuxrc -> bin/busybox
drwx------    2 root     0            12288 Jan  9  2012 lost+found
drwxr-xr-x    2 12319    300           1024 Aug 21  2010 mnt
drwxr-xr-x    2 12319    300           1024 Aug 21  2010 opt
dr-xr-xr-x   48 root     0                0 Jan  1 00:00 proc
drwxr-xr-x    2 12319    300           1024 Jan  1 00:07 root
drwxr-xr-x    2 12319    300           1024 Jan  9  2012 sbin
drwxr-xr-x   12 root     0                0 Jan  1 00:00 sys
drwxrwxrwt    2 root     0               40 Jan  1 00:00 tmp
drwxr-xr-x    5 12319    300           1024 Mar 30  2012 usr
drwxr-xr-x    4 12319    300           1024 Oct 25  2010 var
226 Operation successful
ftp> cd root
250 Operation successful
ftp> put helloworld
local: helloworld remote: helloworld
200 Operation successful
150 Ok to send data
226 Operation successful
7797 bytes sent in 0.00 secs (155393.0 kB/s)
ftp> ls
200 Operation successful
150 Directory listing
total 9
-rw-r--r--    1 root     0             7797 Jan  1 00:25 helloworld
-rw-r--r--    1 root     0              512 Jul 12  2012 logo.bin
226 Operation successful
ftp> quit
221 Operation successful
zynqgeek @beth:~/arm-devel$


Cool.  So now our our Zedboard in the /root folder we have a file called helloworld.  We need to change it's properties outever so our shell knows it can be executed.  To do this we will use chmod:
zynq> cd /root
zynq> ls
helloworld  logo.bin
zynq> chmod +x helloworld
zynq> ls -al
total 12
drwxr-xr-x    2 12319    300           1024 Jan  1 00:25 .
drwxr-xr-x   17 12319    300           1024 Jan  1 00:00 ..
-rw-------    1 root     0               92 Jan  1 00:28 .ash_history
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     0             7797 Jan  1 00:25 helloworld
 -rw-r--r--    1 root     0              512 Jul 12  2012 logo.bin
You will notice that the helloworld app now has the ability to be executed.  Well, what are you waiting for!? let's do it!
zynq> ./helloworld
Hello World!
Woohoo!  How cool is that!?.  So now, you are well on your way to application development for the ARM cores running within the Zynq-7000 EPP on you Zedboard.

Xilinx Tools:

Note:  I want to put this in here since it is important.  The above how-to simply just shows you how to get a file running on an ARM processor, in this case on your Zedboard.  If you want to take full advantage of your Zynq-7000 EPP platform you really want to go and download the free Xilinx tools here:
They are rather large I know, but well worth it.  I will put together a how-to for the Xilinx tools soon so you can see what else is out there!  Also check the site as often as possible for the latest updates, how-to's and user guides.


Alex G's picture

Nice blog.
Just created a zedboard page on

Hope you don't mind me including a link or two to your blog ?

Zynq Geek's picture

Not at all! Knowledge should always be shared :D

Anonymous's picture

Hi ZynqGeek,

Thanks for these great tutorials. Can you help me find out why my FTP is not working properly? I followed all instructions in your Network bring up tutorial, and the webserver page and telnet are working just fine. I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 in VirtualBox from Win XP.

zeus@zeus-vb:~$ ftp
Connected to
220 Operation successful
Name ( root
230 Operation successful
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> ls
200 Operation successful
421 Service not available, remote server has closed connection


Anonymous's picture

Nevermind, I've been able to SFTP in and upload. Thanks.

mustafahyuce's picture

i think in your helloworld.c file you had a typo
#include <stdio.h>.

Newbies might get confuse !! :)

eactor's picture

Might it also be possible to include the arm-gcc onto the Zedboard itself?

kissmyarseuwimps's picture

The above "gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi" will only be good for C code. Anything C++ needs "arm-xilinx-linux-gnueabi"...which means installation of Vivado tools. Doh

eactor's picture

to use the "arm-xilinx-linux-gnueabi-" on the board you wouldn't have to install whole Vivado in the ISE Versions before 14.6 the CrossComplier Toolchain was included as seperate Installation on the DVD or the full Download medium within (ISE-DVD-14.x -> D:/CodeSourcery/lin/xilinx-2012.09-104-arm-xilinx-linux-gnueabi.bin)

In addition you could use the CodeSoucery Lite Version directly of the Mentor webpage ( or install a Linaro Toolchain which has full float-abi=hard support but isn't compatible with the first two.

abdulbasit411's picture

I am using petalinux sdk 2015.4. I made bootable image of linux. I am able to boot linux and work as usual with this newly built image.
After that i tried to FTP using winscp. I am unable to see directories in zedboard using FTP. But i am able to use SFTP successfully. What can cause such issue?

bookahantas's picture

i think you work is good for C++ i test it and it worked fine in one of my website you find the code tafsir al ahlam
and it works with FTP as well as SFTP