Raspberry Pi Pico & Code-OSS on Archlinux - A Comprehensive Guide

I got really annoyed trying to figure out how to use the pico with vscode on arch, and I'm sure others are as well. Here's everything I did to get it working. I'll definitely forget all this so it def needed to be written down.

System Packages

sudo pacman -Syu --noconfirm git cmake gcc arm-none-eabi-gcc arm-none-eabi-gdb automake autoconf base-devel texinfo libtool libftdi libusb code minicom

For some reason, I needed to import the Maintainer's gpg key.

gpg --recv-keys 92EDB04BFF325CF3
cd ~/Downloads && git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/gdb-multiarch.git &&  cd gdb-multiarch && makepkg -sri && cd .. && rm -rf gdb-multiarch

SDK install

cd ~/Development/Libs && git clone https://github.com/raspberrypi/pico-sdk.git
cd ~/Development/Libs/pico-sdk && git reset --hard origin/master && git submodule update --init && mkdir build && cd build && cmake .. && chmod -R 755 ~/Development/Libs/pico-sdk

build it, change 16 to however many cores you want to allow the compiler to use.

make -j16

Environment Variables

export PICO_SDK_PATH=/home/nathan/Development/Libs/pico-sdk

check the variable is set

printenv | grep PICO

make it persistent

nano ~/.zshrc

add export PICO_SDK_PATH=/home/nathan/Development/pico-sdk

then source it

. ~/.zshrc

if you screw up, unset the variable and restart this process.




    code --install-extension marus25.cortex-debug &&
    code --install-extension ms-vscode.cmake-tools &&
    code --install-extension ms-vscode.cpptools

open vscode

  1. Click the Extensions button

  2. Select "CMake Tools" under installed

  3. Click the gear icon then "Extension Settings"

  4. Scroll down to find "Cmake: Generator"

  5. Paste in “Unix Makefiles

  6. Open a blank folder and create a file "main.c"

     #include <stdio.h>
     #include "pico/stdlib.h"
     int main() {
         const uint led_pin = 25;
         // Initialize LED pin
         gpio_set_dir(led_pin, GPIO_OUT);
         // Initialize chosen serial port
         // Loop forever
         while (true) {
             // Blink LED
             gpio_put(led_pin, true);
             gpio_put(led_pin, false);
  7. create a file "CMakeLists.txt"

     # Set minimum required version of CMake
     cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.12)
     # Include build functions from Pico SDK
     # Set name of project (as PROJECT_NAME) and C/C++ standards
     project(blink C CXX ASM)
     set(CMAKE_C_STANDARD 11)
     # Creates a pico-sdk subdirectory in our project for the libraries
     # Tell CMake where to find the executable source file
     # Create map/bin/hex/uf2 files
     # Link to pico_stdlib (gpio, time, etc. functions)
     # Enable usb output, disable uart output
     pico_enable_stdio_usb(${PROJECT_NAME} 1)
     pico_enable_stdio_uart(${PROJECT_NAME} 0)
  8. restart vscode

    *Note: #include will be squiggled until you build the project. You do not need to add any additional includes in the C/C++ or CMake tools.

  9. there will be a popup at the bottom right hand side when you reopen the project, click yes, then "Scan for Kits".

  10. At the bottom of VS Code, you should see a blue status bar. At the bottom left, click "No active kit" then "GCC arm-none-eabi".

  11. Click "Cmake: [Debug]: Ready" next to that, and select "Debug" This should run CMake and create a build directory in your project folder.

  12. Click "Build" in the same status bar. This will call make to build your project. You should see new, compiled binaries appear in the build folder

cmake arguments

If you want to specify cmake options, like selecting a board:

  1. Click the Extensions button

  2. Select "CMake Tools" under installed

  3. Click the gear icon then "Extension Settings"

  4. Scroll down to "Cmake: Configure Args" and add your arguments there.

  5. Click press build as done before.

Install additional libraries using pico-arduino-compat

cd ~/Development/Libs
git clone https://github.com/fhdm-dev/pico-arduino-compat.git && cd pico-arduino-compat && git submodule update --init arduino-compat/arduino-pico

You'll need the exact library name for the Arduino library that you're planning to use.

I suggest the arduino app or cli.

This guide kinda works