NVIDIA Jetson Development Environment Setup

In previous posts on the NVIDIA Jetson posts I’ve talked about getting the device setup and some additional accessories that you may want to have. The OS image for the NVIDIA Jetson already contains a compiler and other development software. Technically someone can start developing with the OS image as it is when it ships.  But it is not desirable to develop this way.

There may be some things that you prefer to do on your primary computer and you’d like to be able to control the Jetson from your primary machine. The OS image for the Jetson already has SSH enabled. If you are using a Windows machine and net an SSH client I suggest using PuTTY for Windows. It’s a great SSH client and also works as a telnet or serial console when needed. It’s available from https://www.putty.org/.

When Putty is opened by default it is ready to connect to a device over SSH. You only need to enter the IP address to start the connection. Once connected enter your account name and password and you’ll have an active terminal available. For copying files over SSHFTP I use WinSCP (available from https://winscp.net/).

For development on the device I’ve chose Visual Studio Code as my IDE. Yes, it runs on ARMs too.  There are a number of guides available on how to get Visual Studio Code recompiled and installed for an ARMS system. The one that I used is available from code.headmelted.com. In a nutshell I followed two steps; I entered a super user session with the command

su -s

Then I ran the following (which downloads a script from the head melted site and runs it).

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 0CC3FD642696BFC8^C
. <( wget -O - https://code.headmelted.com/installers/apt.sh )

The script only takes a few moments to run. After it’s done you are ready to start development either directly on the board or from another machine.

To make sure that everything works let’s make our first program with the Jetson Nano. This is a “Hello World” program; it is not going to do anything substantial. Let’s also use make to compile the program. make will take care of seeing what needs to be built and issuing the necessary commands. Here it’s use is going to be trivial. But I think starting with simple use of it will give an opportunity for those that are new to it to get oriented with it. Type the following code and save it as helloworld.cu

#include 

__global__ void cuda_hello()
{
    printf("Hello World from GPU!\n");
}

using namespace std;

int main()
{
	cout << "Hello world!" << endl;
	cuda_hello<<>>();
	return 0;
}

We also need to make a new file named makefile. The following couple of lines will say that if there is no file named helloworld (or if the file is out of date based on the date stamp on helloworld.cu) the to compile it using the command /usr/local/cuda/bin/nvcc helloworld.cu -o helloworld

helloworld: helloworld.cu
   usr/local/cuda/bin/nvcc helloworld.cu -o helloworld

Note that there should be a tab on the second line, not a space.
Save this in the same folder as helloworld.cs.

Type make and press enter to build the program. If you type it again nothing will happen. That’s because make sees that the source file hasn’t changed since the executable was build.

Now type ./helloworld and see the program run.

Congratulations, you have a working build environment. Now that we can compile code it’s time to move to something less trivial. In an upcoming post I’ll talk about what CUDA is and how you can use it for calculations with high parallelism.

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