Monday, 28 November 2016

Ultimate GNU Radio Install

I find myself installing GNU Radio quite often lately, so I felt the need to document all (most) of the steps.

I use Xubuntu because I like the simple, minimalistic feel of it and the speed! Xubuntu 16.04 doesn't seem to work well just yet and so I use 14.04 with all the updates. I also use the PyBOMBS version because it is up to date and it's easy to install new packages.

The guide here is a good starting point after installing updates, etc. I'll repeat the steps here for copy-paste reasons...

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now for the PyBOMBS and GNU Radio...

sudo apt-get install python-pip
sudo pip install -U pip
sudo pip install pybombs

We need to set the PyBOMBS prefix. I have no interest in messing about with prefixes, so things PyBOMBS installs should appear to the system as normal programs.

sudo pybombs prefix init /usr/local -a usrlocal
sudo pybombs config default_prefix /usr/local

sudo pybombs recipes add gr-recipes git+https://github.com/gnuradio/gr-recipes.git
sudo pybombs recipes add gr-etcetera git+https://github.com/gnuradio/gr-etcetera.git


We can now do the installation, but first you may notice an HTTPS error when we run PyBOMBS installs. This can be fixed as follows:

sudo pip install 'requests[security]'

Install!

sudo pybombs install uhd gnuradio

Now is a good time to sit back or go grab a coffee. It will take a few minutes to fetch and compile everything. On my old 2GHz i7 it takes over an hour and on my i7-6770 @ 4GHz it takes at least 15 minutes.

At this stage I like to do a little customization. I set the background to a nice GNU Radio logo and put a CPU and network monitor widget next to the clock. I also like to change the system highlight colour to a matching orange.

sudo ldconfig

You must run ldconfig every time PyBOMBS finishes something or odd things just won't seem to work!

Once the install is done, GNU Radio should be working. There are a few more settings to deal with to avoid warnings, etc.

sudo groupadd usrp
sudo adduser <my-login> usrp

sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf

Add the following line to the bottom of the file:

@usrp            -       rtprio          99

I use USRP so I need the firmware packages:

sudo "/usr/local/lib/uhd/utils/uhd_images_downloader.py"

Finally, test by typing gnuradio-companion in a terminal. Close it again. Let's install some more packages!

Note: For some reason it's not working anymore... :(

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