Eclipse for C/C++ developers. Set up and use for embedded programming on Linux OS

In embedded development, Eclipse IDE can be used to write, compile and transfer the generated binary using its Remote System Environment feature.

Installing Eclipse and Cross Toolchain and build tools

You need 3 pieces of software to use Eclipse IDE for embedded projects:

Using Eclipse for C/C++ developers on Linux Operating System

Step 1. Verify if Java is installed on your machine, install if it is not

If the Java Development Kit (JDK) is not installed, go install it from here: You can also install Java SDK with ‘apt install’ or via command line.

OpenJDK and Oracle Java are the two main implementations of Java, with almost no differences between them except that Oracle Java has a few additional commercial features. There are two different Java packages in Ubuntu repositories, Java Runtime Environment (JRE), and the Java Development Kit (JDK).

If you only want to run Java programs, then you need JRE, which contains only the Java Runtime Environment. Java developer should install JDK, which also includes the development/debugging tools and libraries.

george@VirtualBox:~$ sudo apt update
[sudo] password for george:
Hit:1 bionic InRelease
Get:2 bionic-updates InRelease [88,7 kB]
Get:3 bionic-security InRelease [88,7 kB]
Get:4 bionic-backports InRelease [74,6 kB]
Get:5 bionic-updates/main amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [295 kB]
Get:6 bionic-updates/universe amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [285 kB]
Get:7 bionic-updates/multiverse amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [2.464 B]
Get:8 bionic-backports/universe amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [9.288 B]
Get:9 bionic-security/main amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [48,9 kB]
Get:10 bionic-security/universe amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [56,0 kB]
Get:11 bionic-security/multiverse amd64 DEP-11 Metadata [2.464 B]
Fetched 951 kB in 1s (717 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
3 packages can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see them.

If you don’t know which Java implementation or version to use, the general recommendation is to stick with the default OpenJDK version available:

george@VirtualBox:~$ sudo apt install default-jdk
george@VirtualBox:~$ java -version
openjdk version "11.0.8" 2020-07-14
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 11.0.8+10-post-Ubuntu-0ubuntu118.04.1)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 11.0.8+10-post-Ubuntu-0ubuntu118.04.1, mixed mode, sharing)

Step 2. Download Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers

Go to and select the Linux version.

Step 3. Download the Cross-Compilation Toolchain

Select the appropriate cross-toolchain compiler according to with you development operating system from

Step 4. Unpack the Eclipse and cross-toolchain archives

george@VirtualBox:~/Downloads$ ls -lh 
total 664M
-rw-rw-r-- 1 george george 2,1M aug 21 11:04 busybox-1.26.0.tar.bz2
-rw-rw-r-- 1 george george 241M aug 24 15:20 eclipse-cpp-2020-06-R-linux-gtk-x86_64.tar.gz
drwxr-xr-x 8 george george 4,0K iun 12 2018 gcc-linaro-7.3.1-2018.05-x86_64_arm-linux-gnueabihf
-rw-rw-r-- 1 george george 103M aug 21 12:47 gcc-linaro-7.3.1-2018.05-x86_64_arm-linux-gnueabihf.tar.xz
drwxr-xr-x 8 george george 4,0K dec 4 2019 gcc-linaro-7.5.0-2019.12-x86_64_arm-linux-gnueabihf
-rw-rw-r-- 1 george george 105M aug 19 15:35 gcc-linaro-7.5.0-2019.12-x86_64_arm-linux-gnueabihf.tar.xz

george@VirtualBox:~/Downloads$ tar -xf eclipse-cpp-2020-06-R-linux-gtk-x86_64.tar.gz -C ../Eclipse/

Step 5. Open up the Eclipse IDE on Linux

Installing Remote System Explorer plug-in on Eclipse for C/C++ developers

Another important component of the Eclipse IDE development ecosystem is the Remote System Explorer plug-in program. It is a good-to-have accessory that is going to ease your actual embedded adventures.

Remote System Explorer plug-in for Eclipse IDE can be used for quick debugging and deployment on target platforms e.g. BeagleBone Black *, Raspberry PI * development boards.

Step 1. Within the Eclipse IDE ‘Help’ menu locate and use the ‘Install new software’ feature

Step 2. Select “Mobile and Device Development” from Available software

After selecting the desired packages to install, get a summary for what’s in it:

Step 3. “Install details” report

Step 4. Go install the Selected items.

Step 5. Restart Eclipse to apply the update of Eclipse for C/C++ developers IDE

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