View on GitHub

Flight Software & Embedded Systems Framework


This installation guide is specifically designed to enable individuals and researchers to get up and running with F´ quickly. Larger projects with specific requirements may need to extend this process.

Note: see the troubleshooting section at the bottom for help resolving common issues found during F´ installs.


F´ depends on several items before the user should attempt to install it. These requirements are listed below and the user should ensure they are installed before proceeding with this guide. Should these items not be available on the user’s Operating System, then a Virtual Machine should be used. One option is VirtualBox.


  1. Linux or macOS operating system
  2. git
  3. CMake 3.16 or newer. CLI tool must be available on the system path.
  4. CLang or GCC compiler
  5. Python 3.7+, virtual environments, and PIP

Note: operating system specific notes are in the Troubleshooting section below.

Setting Up F´ Environment

The ecosystem of tools supporting F´ is installed as python packages available via PIP. In order to install F´, the user should setup an environment to run these tools in.

Note: Python is used by many operating systems. To prevent problems users are encouraged to run F´ python from within a virtual environment

Setting Up a Virtual Environment

Choose a location to generate a virtual environment. This can be any path the user has read and write access to. In this guide we’ll use the path: $HOME/fprime-venv

python3 -m venv $HOME/fprime-venv
source $HOME/fprime-venv/bin/activate
pip install -U setuptools setuptools_scm wheel pip

Note: source $HOME/fprime-venv/bin/activate must be run in each new terminal where the user wishes to use the virtual environment.

Cloning the F´ Repository and Installing F´ Tools

Installation of F´ requires cloning of the F´ core repository. This uses Git. This will bring down the core framework and C++ files. F´ ships with a requirements.txt file enumerating the tools F´ uses and their specific tested versions.

Clone F´ and Install Tools

git clone
pip install -r fprime/requirements.txt

Note: When changing F´ versions make sure to re-run the pip install -r fprime/requirements.txt to get the tested tool versions. Note: Alternative tool installations are described in Advanced.

Checking Your F´ Installation

The user may easily checkout that their F´ installation has succeeded by testing the following commands. First, the user will test the build and Autocoder install. Next, the user will test the GDS layer components. Should the user not have installed the given component, the commands won’t work.

Testing F´ Autocoder Installation Via Building Ref Application

cd Ref
fprime-util generate
fprime-util build --jobs "$(nproc || printf '%s\n' 1)"

Testing F´ GDS Installation Via Running HTML GUI

fprime-gds -g html -r <path to fprime checkout>/Ref/build-artifacts

Note: Ref should contain pre-built dictionaries and binaries for the user’s system. This can be achieved by running the Autocoder installation test (the user must have a working Autocoder installation).


There are several advanced options users can consider while installing F´. However, users should be warned that some knowledge of our tools and versions are often required.

Installing Tab Completion

Several of F´s command-line utilities support tab completion. To enable these tools to use it, see the instructions here.

Installing Individual Tools

Each of the F´ tools can be installed individually through sub packages. However, users should use care to ensure that compatible versions are installed.

Tool(s) Package
fpp fprime-fpp
fprime-util fprime-tools
GDS fprime-gds

Note: fprime-gds depends on fprime-tools. It is advisable to install fprime-gds and let PIP pull in a compatible version of fprime-tools.

Installing Optional Components

Some F´ packages contain optional components. These components can be installed including the option in square brackets.

Package Description
fprime-tools[dev] Installs the Python development tools for working with F´ Python code
fprime-gds[uart-adapter] Installs the UART communication adapter for the F´ GDS
fprime-gds[test-api-xls] Installs excel logging for use within the integration test framework

Note: these packages are optional as they pull in many additional packages and libraries. These may not be supported on all systems.


pip install fprime-gds[uart-adapter]


This section will add some known hints to trouble-shooting with the installation of F´. This will hopefully help users install things more effectively.

fprime-util: command not found

If the user is using a virtual environment and receives the command not found, the problem is likely caused by the environment not being sourced in a new terminal. Make sure to source the environment before running:

source $HOME/fprime-venv/bin/activate

If installing without a virtual environment, PIP occasionally uses $HOME/.local/bin as a place to install user tools. Users running without virtual environments should add this directory to the path.

Ubuntu, Debian, Java and Python PIP

Ubuntu and possibly other Debian variants don’t include the pip packages in the default python 3 installation. To get a fully functional, use these commands on Ubuntu and Debian based systems:

sudo apt install git cmake default-jre python3 python3-pip python3-venv

Now you should be able to run the installation without trouble.

Mac OS X and CMake Command Not Found

If the user chooses to install CMake directly from the CMake site (not using homebrew nor Mac Ports), then the CMake command-line tools must be added to the user’s PATH or default system libraries. The quickest command to do that is:

sudo "/Applications/" --install

More information can be found here

System Python, Packages, and Python3

Many operating systems offer python PIP packages through their package manager (apt, yum, etc). Most python projects recommend avoiding those packages, but rather installing from PIP in a virtual environment. The reason for this is that the version of the python package from the OS may not be the required version that the python project depends on. Thus, users may choose to install F´ into a virtual environment. This is outside the scope of this document.