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Overall outline of this guide:

1.      Installing Linux Ubuntu 11.04, estimated time to complete 1hr (not including download time).

2.      Installing Paparazzi Ground Control Station software, estimated time to complete 45min.

Note: Ubuntu has a 6 month regular release cycle which means this guide will have to be updated to match the latest Ubuntu release. Please email me if the latest version of Ubuntu does not match the one listed above and i will update the guide.


What you will need:

·        A laptop, the laptop does not have to be high performance but should have the following capabilities:

o   Able to be dedicated to the project, dual booting Windows/Linux can cause issues so it is best to avoid any unnecessary complexity until you are more confident with the system.

o   Optical drive (for the Ubuntu install CD/DVD).

o   At least 1 USB port.

o   Ability to connect to the internet (via WIFI or otherwise).

o   At least 256Mb of RAM.

o   Able to run on its battery for at least 2 hours (for use at the airfield).

o   Able to access the system BIOS.

·        Linux Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid, select the version appropriate to your hardware download here.

·        A Windows machine with a CD burner and a 700mb CDR.

·        PowerISO a CD/DVD image file processing tool download here:

Install Linux Ubuntu 10.10

OK, let’s get started, I won’t be focusing too much on how to install Ubuntu but rather getting the Paparazzi ground station (GCS) working. That said I will provide the outline of installing the correct version of Ubuntu as there were some recent issues relating to the operation of the GCS that were overcome by Ubuntu 10.10. If you run into problems during the Ubuntu install please consult Ubuntu support documentation and forums:

1.      Using your windows machine download Ubuntu 11.04 Natty.

2.      Open the Ubuntu file that you just downloaded with PowerISO.

3.      Insert your CD-R.

4.      Click the burn button and follow the prompts.

****now go to the laptop you want to install Linux Ubuntu on****

5.      Set the laptop to boot from the CDROM drive if you are unsure how to do this please consult your laptop documentation or have a look at this guide:

6.      Insert the Linux CD you just created and reboot your laptop.

7.      Let the laptop load and select “Install Ubuntu” and follow the prompts.

8.      Ensure that you are able to get access to the Internet (critical).

9.      Navigate to: System --> Administration --> Update Manager, click the Check button and then the Install Updates button.

10. Ubuntu should now be ready to use and fully compatible with Paparazzi


Install Paparazzi GCS

Alright, now that you have successfully setup Linux Ubuntu 11.04 on your laptop we are about to do the following things:

1.      Tell Ubuntu where to find the Paparazzi repository of files on the internet.

2.      Search for, download and install the required package files via the Synaptic Package Manager (SPM). The SPM is a program in Ubuntu that provides a graphical interface for downloading and installing Ubuntu packages. The point of this is to partially reduce the need to use the command line.

3.      Download source code from the subversion repository.

4.      Compile the source code and set USB access rights.

5.      Create a quick launch icon for the desktop.

Ok let’s begin!

Telling Ubuntu where to find the paparazzi files to download.

1.      Navigate to: System --> Administration --> Software Sources, you will probably have to enter your admin password that you created during the install.

2.      Click on the Other Software tab.

3.      Click on the Add button in the bottom left corner

4.      It will pop up with a window asking for the APT line this is the location of the repository of files, enter the following:

deb natty main

5.      Ensure that you have no spaces at the ends of the line and click the Add Source button.


Search for and download files via the Synaptic Package Manager

 The purpose of this is to provide the dependencies needed for compiling from the source code (next section).

1.      Navigate to: System --> Administration --> Synaptic Package Manager, you will probably have to enter your admin password again.

2.      Click the Reload button in the top left of the screen this refreshes your list of available packages so now the Paparazzi repository you just added will be included in search results.

3.      Click the Search button (not Quick Search).

4.      Type “Paparazzi” and click search.

5.      The paparazzi-arm7 and paparazzi-dev packages should now be showing, right click both and select Mark for Installation.

6.      Then click the Apply button follow any prompts and the packages will be downloaded and installed to your laptop.


Download and Install the source code.

Ok what’s happening in this step is the source code is being downloaded from the subversion directory and installed into the /home_folder/paparazzi3/ directory.

1.      Navigate to: Accessories --> Terminal, the terminal is used to provide access to the command line.

2.      You will see a blinking cursor and the default directory you are in should look like this


where “adam” is the user name and consequently the name of the home folder and “UAV-Ground-Station” is the name of the computer. This means that when you type something in the command line you are instructing the Terminal to act on the files in the directory you are currently in.

3.      Now simply enter one of the following codes into the Terminal (copy paste is a good idea)

svn co svn:// paparazzi3

If that code fails you are probably behind a firewall, if you have an http proxy available use the following code.

svn co paparazzi3

Compile and run the Paparazzi GCS

Alright almost there, the purpose of compiling is to turn the source code into machine language for the computer to read, and starting programs in Linux is a bit different to Windows so I will take some time to explain.

1.      To compile the source code we first need to tell the Terminal where to find the code we want to compile, if you remember from the previous section we downloaded the source code to the /home_folder/paparazzi3 directory. So the first thing to do is to tell the Terminal to look at the /paparazzi3 directory. Seeing as we are currently in the /home_folder/ directory we need only type:

cd paparazzi3

You should now see something like:


2.      The next step is to simply type:


The make command looks for a “make file” which is in the /paparazzi3 directory and suffices to say brings together all the dependencies/source code required to run the Paparazzi GCS and compiles it for you, SWEET!

Note: if you are getting errors please go back and review these instructions as you are most likely missing a dependency somewhere or are in the wrong directory.

3.      While you are in the /paparazzi3 directory you should set the access rights for the USB simply type:

sudo adduser “your user name” plugdev

So in my case it was:

sudo adduser adam plugdev

You will probably have to enter your administrator password and you will also probably get the message: The user ‘your user name’ is already a member of ‘plugdev’.

4.      The majority of people should already be a member of plugdev so if you were already a member please proceed to step 5. But if you were not please restart your Terminal and follow the instructions for changing your directory back to /paparazzi3 before proceeding with step 5.

5.      Now we must add a rule to the plugdev group, this can be simply done by executing the following command from the /paparaazi3 directory which you should currently be in.

sudo cp conf/system/udev/rules/10-paparazzi.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/


6.      Once that has been successfully completed you can test run the GCS by typing (ensure you are in the /paparazzi3 directory):


verify that the GCS has booted and then close it down.

Create a quick launch icon for the desktop.

We are going to create an icon on the desktop so you don’t have to manually type codes into the Terminal each time you want to start the GCS.

1.      Save this image file to your /paparazzi3 folder

2.      Right click anywhere on the Ubuntu desktop and click Create Launcher.

3.      Enter the following in the fields provided:

Name: Paparazzi GCS

Command: /home/YOUR_USER_NAME/paparazzi3/paparazzi

Comment: Runs the Paparazzi GCS, logo image from:

Then click the icon image in the top left on the dialog box and select the Paparazzi logo you just downloaded.

4.      Click the OK button and that’s it! your icon should appear on the desktop and you are ready to go.

This guide is written based on the information provided by: and the users of the rcgroups forum: