SDK Setup (Linux - Ubuntu)

This page is all about getting your Linux machine compiling code for the nRF9160 Feather. Run into trouble during the process? Post your questions on the community forum.

Installing IDE

  1. Install or use the code editor of your choice. I personally use Microsoft Visual Studio Code. You can download directly from the Ubuntu Software Install utility. Ubuntu software install
  2. If you decide to use Visual Studio Code, make sure you install the C/C++ and Cortex-Debug extentions using the built in extension marketplace.

Installing SDK

  1. Install dependencies using apt-get

    sudo apt install --no-install-recommends git cmake ninja-build gperf \
    ccache dfu-util device-tree-compiler wget \
    python3-dev python3-pip python3-setuptools python3-tk python3-wheel xz-utils file \
    make gcc gcc-multilib g++-multilib libsdl2-dev
  2. Check your cmake version:

    cmake --version

    If it's older than 3.13.3, you'll have to install a newer version using the instructions here.

  3. Install west. West is the most important utility for using nRF Connect SDK & Zephyr. You'll become quite familliar with very soon.

    pip3 install --user -U west
  4. Then make sure that ~/.local/bin is added to your path:

    echo 'export PATH=~/.local/bin:"$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc
    source ~/.bashrc
  5. Now create a folder on your machine and call it nfed (short for nRF9160 Feather Examples and Drivers). Open a terminal to this folder and initialize nRF Connect SDK using west:

    cd ~
    mkdir nfed
    cd nfed
    west init -m --mr main
  6. Once your nRF Connect SDK compontents are downloaded, you'll need to fetch the remaining SDK:

    west update

    You'll see a bunch of output go by as west downloads dependencies using Git.

    Here's what your nfed folder should look like:

    ❯ tree -L 1
    ├── bootloader
    ├── build
    ├── latest
    ├── mbedtls
    ├── modules
    ├── nrf
    ├── nrf9160-feather
    ├── nrfxlib
    ├── test
    ├── tools
    └── zephyr
  7. Installing the remaining SDK requirements using pip3:

    pip3 install --user -r zephyr/scripts/requirements.txt
    pip3 install --user -r nrf/scripts/requirements.txt
    pip3 install --user -r bootloader/mcuboot/scripts/requirements.txt

    Note: there may be an error during the first pip3 install you can safely ignore them.

The ARM Embedded Toolchain

  1. First download the latest Zephyr SDK installer:
    cd ~
  2. Then run it:
    chmod +x
    ./ -- -d ~/zephyr-sdk-0.11.4
  3. Finally install the udev rules which allows you to flash boards using a programmer.
    sudo cp ~/zephyr-sdk-0.11.4/sysroots/x86_64-pokysdk-linux/usr/share/openocd/contrib/60-openocd.rules /etc/udev/rules.d
    sudo udevadm control --reload


  1. For loading code to your nRF9160 Feather, you'll need to download and copy a custom version of newtmgr to a folder in your PATH.

    cd ~/Downloads
    wget ""
    mv newtmgr ~/.local/bin

    If you're not sure, ~/.local/bin is always a good spot for these types of binaries.

  2. Then you'll need to add your serial profile to make it easier to download/update your device:

    newtmgr conn add serial type=serial connstring='dev=/dev/ttyUSB0,baud=1000000'
    newtmgr -c serial reset

    If you have multiple Silicon Labs CP2102 connected to your machine your serial port may be named differently. I recommend you unplug all devices that could be named ttyUSB0 to ensure you're targeting the correct device during programming.

    Note if you get a Error: open /dev/ttyUSB0: permission denied error. You'll have to fix permissions for the serial device for all users. Here are the steps:

    Open this .rules file in vi (or your editor of choice)

    sudo vi /etc/udev/rules.d/50-myusb.rules

    Then within the editor hit i, paste this:


    Hit the esc button and then type :wq!.

For more info in using newtmgr checkout the programming section of this documentation.

Testing it

You can quickly test if your SDK is set up correctly by checking out the blinky example.