Family: native

Martine Lenders edited this page Oct 18, 2016 · 49 revisions

There's currently only one cpu/board in this family: Board: native

The RIOT native port uses system calls and signals to emulate hardware at the API level. That means that you can compile the complete RIOT software stack for your *NIX system and run it as a process. Reasons why you might want to do that are:

  • You want to try out RIOT but don't have one of the supported hardware platforms
  • You are developing an application for RIOT or you are hacking on RIOT itself and want to test and debug without the limitations and requirements of debugging on actual hardware
  • You want to experiment with network protocols in a controlled environment

There is support for networking through tap interfaces. Emulators for some typical devices exist. If you are missing one it should be easy to add it.

Some aspects of a native RIOT instance can be configured at runtime. To get an overview invoke the program with the -h option. Example:

./bin/native/default.elf -h
usage: ./bin/native/default.elf <tap interface> [-t <port>|-u [path]] [-i <id>] [-d] [-e|-E] [-o]
 help: ./bin/native/default.elf -h

-h      help
-i      specify instance id (set by config module)
-d      daemonize
-e      redirect stderr to file
-E      do not redirect stderr (i.e. leave sterr unchanged despite socket/daemon io)
-o      redirect stdout to file when not attached to socket
-u      redirect stdio to UNIX socket
        if no path is given /tmp/riot.tty.PID is used
-t      redirect stdio to TCP socket

The order of command line arguments matters.

As with any platform, you can specify the sizes of your stacks, i.e. the amount of space your application can use. You may wish to use a more realistic stack size than natives MINIMUM_STACK_SIZE or KERNEL_CONF_STACKSIZE_DEFAULT to increase realism.

Known Issues

Check the list of open issues labeled native in the github issue tracker



  • gnu libc 2.13
  • gnu libc 2.19
  • gcc 4.4.6
  • gcc 4.9.0
  • clang version 3.4

Not Working:

  • gnu libc 2.15
  • gnu libc 2.16
  • gcc 4.6.3 (only tried in conjunction with gnu libc 2.15)

Host Systems

As a rule of thumb: native is developed primarily on Arch Linux, so this should always be the most reliable platform.


  • Arch Linux
  • Debian 7 Wheezy (Stable)
  • Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander
  • Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr
  • Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks
  • FreeBSD 10

Not Working:

  • Windows - no plans for support exist (You can take a look at Vagrant and use a virtual Linux to run the virtual RIOT..)


Generally speaking, you only need your systems development packages (libc, compiler, make). Below is a list of specific instructions for certain distributions/systems.

Arch Linux

Build requirements: pacman -S base-devel

You probably want to install bridge-utils and valgrind as well: pacman -S valgrind bridge-utils


If you have a 64 bit system, you need to enable multilib support. Edit /etc/pacman.conf and uncomment the multilib repository:

Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Install required packages (you will probably have to answer some questions regarding conflict resolution): pacman -S gcc-multilib valgrind-multilib

Debian 7.5 Stable

To install all required packages and make your user a sudoer (for run (as root):

apt-get install build-essential pkg-config valgrind sudo bridge-utils
usermod -a -G sudo <your account>


When you're running a 64 bit Debian, you will additionally need to add support for 32 bit:

dpkg --add-architecture i386
apt-get update
apt-get install libc6-dev-i386 libc6-dbg:i386


32-bit support

If you are running a 64-bit machine, you have to install the gcc-multilib package

sudo apt-get install gcc-multilib

to successfully compile RIOT.

Valgrind troubleshooting

You may encounter the following error message, even though libc6-dbg is installed:

==11361== Memcheck, a memory error detector
==11361== Copyright (C) 2002-2012, and GNU GPL'd, by Julian Seward et al.
==11361== Using Valgrind-3.8.1 and LibVEX; rerun with -h for copyright info
==11361== Command: ./bin/native/aodvv2_node.elf tap0

valgrind:  Fatal error at startup: a function redirection
valgrind:  which is mandatory for this platform-tool combination
valgrind:  cannot be set up.  Details of the redirection are:
valgrind:  A must-be-redirected function
valgrind:  whose name matches the pattern:      strlen
valgrind:  in an object with soname matching:
valgrind:  was not found whilst processing
valgrind:  symbols from the object with soname:
valgrind:  Possible fixes: (1, short term): install glibc's debuginfo
valgrind:  package on this machine.  (2, longer term): ask the packagers
valgrind:  for your Linux distribution to please in future ship a non-
valgrind:  stripped (or whatever the dynamic linker .so is called)
valgrind:  that exports the above-named function using the standard
valgrind:  calling conventions for this platform.  The package you need
valgrind:  to install for fix (1) is called
valgrind:    On Debian, Ubuntu:                 libc6-dbg
valgrind:    On SuSE, openSuSE, Fedora, RHEL:   glibc-debuginfo
valgrind:  Cannot continue -- exiting now.  Sorry.

To enable the use of Valgrind, change the lines in /etc/apt/sources.list from something like

deb saucy main


deb [arch=i386,amd64] saucy main

and execute

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libc6-dbg:i386

If the version of dpkg is older than 1.16.2 you have to add the i386 architecture manually. Check if the only file present in /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/ is "multiarch" and execute

sudo sh -c "echo 'foreign-architecture i386' > /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/multiarch"

If there is no "multiarch" file replace the filename with the name of file present in that directory.


In order to use the nativenet network device, you will need to install TunTap.

FreeBSD 10 amd64

This section is work in progess..

Install dependencies:

# pkg install gmake
# pkg install gcc

Set up your environment and build:

$ export LINK=gcc47
$ export CC=gcc47
$ gmake clean all

GCC address sanitizer troubleshooting

As of GCC 4.8 has a build-in address sanitizer (see address sanitizer). There is however no build-in symbolizer in versions before GCC 4.9, so the stack backtraces will give you addresses instead of lines of code + function name. To get the later anyways you need to install the llvm-symbolizer and set two environment variables for libasan to use this symbolizer:

Ubuntu 14.04

sudo apt-get install llvm-symbolizer-3.4
export ASAN_SYMBOLIZER_PATH=/usr/bin/llvm-symbolizer-3.4
export ASAN_OPTIONS=symbolize=1



You can use the Valgrind tool cachegrind to profile native processes.


make -B clean all-cachegrind
make term-cachegrind
make eval-cachegrind

The cachegrind file name (cachegrind.out.*) contains the process ID as a suffix, so you can create profiles for several instances at the same time. You can also use the kcachegrind GUI to investigate the cachegrind files.


Profiling with callgrind is not working at the moment.


The gprof profiler can be used to profile native processes.


make -B clean all-gprof
make term-gprof
make eval-gprof

The gprof file name (gmon.out.*) contains the process ID as a suffix, so you can create profiles for several instances at the same time.

You can use the gprof profile to create a call graph with dot:

Address sanitizer

clang>=3.1 and gcc>=4.8 have build-in address sanitizers to detect and display possible memory corruption bugs. For both compiler collections the -fsanitize=address flag is used to include this feature. RIOT has this feature integrated into its build system:

make all-asan
make term


See here: Virtual riot network


You can use the -d option to daemonize a RIOT process.


/bin/native/default.elf tap0 -d 
RIOT pid: 14363

The program prints the PID of the daemon process. A daemonized process is detached from the terminal in which is was created. You can use UART redirection to communicate with it. To stop the process, you can send a TERM signal to the process.


kill -SIGTERM 14363


Use the -c parameter to specify /dev/tty* devices.


./bin/native/devault.elf tap0 -c /dev/ttyS0 -c /dev/ttyS1

Data Type Sizes

sizeof(short): 2
sizeof(int): 4
sizeof(long): 4
sizeof(long long): 8
sizeof(float): 4
sizeof(double): 8


Supported platforms

Further Information

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