Free tools to develop Linux on STM32 MCUs

February 10, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
STMicroelectronics has extended is “design free” tool supports to both Linux and Windows platforms, for microcontrollers in the STM32 architecture.

Most Linux distributions are free, and open-source application software makes the Linux world attractive to technology enthusiasts. Until now, however, (says ST) most development tools for embedded computing have been available only for Windows.

The STM32CubeMX configurator and initialisation tool and the System Workbench for STM32, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) created by French company Ac6 Tools , supported by the community, and available at, are now both available to run on Linux OS.

ST’s latest move means Linux users can now start their own embedded projects on STM32 devices, free of charge, without leaving their favourite desktop environment. Users, ST adds, can now benefit from free software for configuring microcontrollers and developing and debugging code, together with manufacturer-supported low-cost evaluation boards, allowing greater focus on product development. Tools installation is very easy and fast, which contrasts with established practice in the Linux world, where users often have to create or adapt their own tools with minimal support.

“Since the launch of the System Workbench for STM32 in early 2015, its popularity has grown both on Windows and Linux platforms,” said Bernard Dautrevaux, Ac6 Tools Chief Technical Officer. “ST’s new tools for Linux both validate and complement our work and the openSTM32 initiative, and we plan to further support ST with major upgrades to System Workbench for STM32 in the future, including the support of OS/X as a development host.”

System Workbench for STM32 supports the ST-LINK/V2 debugging tool under Linux through an adapted version of the OpenOCD (OpenOCD: Open On-Chip Debug, a free and open project to develop software debug for ARM-based embedded systems, designed to run directly on-chip) community project. Each of these tools can be used in conjunction with ST’s low-cost development hardware including STM32 Nucleo boards, Discovery kits, and Evaluation boards, as well as microcontroller firmware within the STM32Cube embedded-software packages or Standard Peripheral Library.