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Installing GNU Radio From Source

There are two ways to install GNU Radio: either by using pre-compiled binary packages, or manually compiling it from source. The recommended way to install GNU Radio is via your distribution's package manager, as described in the standard installation guide. If, however, you need the latest version or are planning to make changes to the GNU Radio core itself, you will want to install from source.

Note: We have recently begun releasing the 3.7 versions of GNU Radio. This marks a significant change in both the capabilities and structure of the GNU Radio code. Most out-of-tree (OOT) projects have been built around the older style API (3.6 or earlier). Most projects are updating themselves to the new 3.7 to be compatible with the most current and recommended releases. Some, however, are not. If you are looking to use an existing OOT project, check to see if it has been updated to the 3.7 API to determine which version you require.

WARNING: If you choose an installation path without root privileges, the GRC icons etc. will not be installed currently.


We are moving to use PyBOMBS as our installation tool for GNU Radio. This will take care of dependencies and allow you to easily install out-of-tree projects. It is similar to Python's 'pip' or PHP's 'pear' programs.

See the PyBOMBS manual for more information.

Using the build-gnuradio script

If you're using PyBOMBS, don't use this.

The build-gnuradio is an install script for recent Fedora and Ubuntu systems provided by Marcus Leech.

The build-gnuradio script has a number of options that we can use to install different versions of GNU Radio. Just running build-gnuradio with no additional options, it fetches/builds the latest released version from the 3.7 series.

Passing the flag -m will fetch and build master/HEAD.

Passing the flag -o will fetch and build the latest in the old 3.6 series.

For the impatient: open a terminal window, move to the directory you would like the source files to be stored (e.g. 'cd src/'), remove old build-gnuradio file, and run this command:

$ wget && chmod a+x build-gnuradio && ./build-gnuradio

This downloads the installer (build-gnuradio) and makes it executable. It then downloads and installs all dependencies, downloads both UHD and GNU Radio from Git (which means it will automatically install the latest version from the 'master' branch), runs the make process, and installs it on your system (a lot of this is done silently, so if there's a lot to do for the script, don't be surprised if it doesn't say anything for a while). In most cases, simply running the script will do all you need to get a running GNU Radio system built from source. Also, you will have all the source code lying on your hard disk and therefore available for future modifications. It combines the flexibility of installing from source with the ease of using binaries and is recommended for most users of Ubuntu and Fedora.

Thanks to Marcus Leech for putting this together and hosting it.

Installing manually from source

If you choose this route, you have slightly more work to do. First, you need to download the code. You can get the code as a tarball or check it out from the git repository.

To build GNU Radio, refer to the build guide.

If you want to be able to use USRP devices, you need to install UHD before installing GNU Radio.

Windows users

If you want to install from pre-compiled binaries see the standard installation page
If you need to install GNU Radio from source refer to the windows install guide.