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Installing the Arduino IDE on OLPC OS.



  • an XO laptop with OLPC OS 13.2.0 already installed,
  • access to internet,


  • switch to the Gnome desktop, as the software works best in Gnome,
  • start the Terminal application, and type this:
 sudo yum install -y arduino
  • wait for the download to finish, it should need roughly 61 MB,
  • start Applications -> Programming -> Arduino,


  • connect Arduino board,
  • choose Tools -> Board entry, e.g. Arduino Uno,
  • choose Tools -> Serial Port entry, e.g. /dev/ttyACM0,
  • choose File -> Examples -> Basics -> Blink,
  • choose Upload to send the program to the Arduino board,
  • see LED flashing.


Firmata is a generic protocol for a computer to communicate with microcontrollers. The Sugar Labs Turtle Art activity included in OLPC OS builds supports Firmata, and can use an Arduino board as a general purpose analog and digital I/O interface.

The StandardFirmata may be uploaded to an Arduino board, using the Arduino IDE:

  • start Applications -> Programming -> Arduino,
  • connect Arduino board,
  • choose File -> Examples -> Firmata > StandardFirmata,
  • choose Upload to send the program to the Arduino board.

Alternatively, StandardFirmata may be uploaded without using the Arduino IDE, see How to upload StandardFirmata using ino. The download size is much smaller (18MB), but the steps required are more complex.

Choose a larger font

The default font is very small on the XO laptop, to fix it:

  • Applications -> Programming -> Arduino,
  • File -> Preferences,
  • Editor font size to 18, OK,
  • Quit and restart Arduino.


Follow the instructions above, but before starting Arduino add the olpc user to the lock group. See also ticket #11972. This fix also restarts Gnome, so that the membership change is effective.

In Terminal, type this:

sudo groupmems --group lock --add olpc && \
   sudo systemctl restart prefdm.service

See also


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