Installing MAVLink

This topic explains how to install the MAVLink toolchain, including both XML message definitions and the GUI/command line tools that use them to Generate MAVLink Source Files.

You do not need to install or generate the source files if you are using the C programming language and a standard dialect. Just get the prebuilt libraries and then jump to Using C Libraries.


The requirements for using the MAVLink generator are:

  • Python 3.3+
  • Python future module
  • TkInter (required to use the GUI tool).
  • PYTHONPATH environment variable must be set to the directory path containing the mavlink repository.

If you are creating new XML definitions you should also install lxml and libxml2 for XML validation and formatting.


To install the MAVLink tools:

  1. Install Python 3.6+:
    • Windows: Download from Python for Windows
    • Ubuntu Linux Python 3 is present on 18.04 and 20.04 by default but you will need to install the pip3 package manager: sudo apt install python3-pip
  2. Install the future module:
    • Windows: pip3 install future
    • Linux: pip3 install --user future
  3. (Recommended) Install modules for XML validation and formatting:
    • Linux: sudo apt install python3-lxml libxml2-utils
  4. (Optional) Install TkInter
    • Windows: Installed already as part of Python for Windows
    • Linux: Enter the following terminal command: sudo apt install python3-tk
  5. Clone the mavlink repo (or your fork) into a user-writable directory: git clone --recursive
  6. Set PYTHONPATH to the directory path containing your mavlink repository.
    • Windows: set PYTHONPATH=C:\path_to_root_of_cloned_mavlink_repository
    • Linux: PYTHONPATH=path_to_root_of_cloned_mavlink_repository

Now you are ready to Generate MAVLink Libraries.

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