I recently moved all in for Linux and have no intentions of going back to Windows, but programming for Arduino is a little annoying as I cannot find a way to have multiple instances.

In Windows you create individual shortcuts for several Arduino IDE instances. When you launch these from the desktop they are autonomous, meaning you can set a board/port combination for each one.

I have yet to find a way to do that in Ubuntu. Is there some form of isolation I can use? I tried using workspaces but they all still see just the one setting.

I do not want to have a bunch of VMs and switch from one to the other unless that is the only option left.

Is there some way I can emulate the Windows autonomous shortcut approach in Ubuntu?

  • 3
    Use UECIDE. I specifically created it to address that problem amongst others.
    – Majenko
    Jun 14 '17 at 22:37
  • How do we get that, @Majenko?
    – SDsolar
    Jun 15 '17 at 1:08
  • @SDsolar uecide.org/download.php
    – Majenko
    Jun 15 '17 at 9:04
  • @Majenko Thanks, I will give that a try and report back. Jun 15 '17 at 16:42
  • @Majenko The .deb link returns a 404. I checked the downloads folder and the only.deb is for an earlier version. Should I be using that? Jun 15 '17 at 17:46

There is nothing special about it, it just works.

I strongly suggest to remove everything that is Arduino related from the repositories and have a minimal Java environment installed.

It is no problem to have a gcc build environment together with Arduino though. Even a gcc-avr build environment from the repositories is no problem. But don't install any Arduino or Java-rxtx from the repositories.

You can download the linux version and unpack it in a folder. Go to that folder where you unpacked the Arduino files and right-click on the 'arduino' file to create a shortcut. Move that shortcut to your Desktop.
Depending on the flavor of Ubuntu that you have, you can also create a starter and fill in the whole path of the 'arduino' file.

Then you can start the Arduino IDE, and just click/activate that shortcut or starter again for another instance of the Arduino IDE. They will work independent of each other. You have to set the right board for each instance of course. A third one or more is also possible.

If you have trouble with shortcuts or starters, then you can even open a terminal and go to the unpacked files, type "./arduino" to start it. Open an other terminal (or new 'tab' in the terminal) and do the same.

You don't have to makes copies of the Arduino files, you don't have to make multiple shortcuts or starters. Just start a new instance by activating the shortcut or starter once more.

I recommend to use only the newest version (at the moment 1.8.3). But if you need to run an older version then you can download and unpack older versions in seperate folders. Be careful that you can not run different versions of the IDE at the same time. The Arduino IDE before 1.6.x differs too much from 1.8.x. All of them share the same ~/.arduino15 folder with settings and downloaded files, which can cause trouble when running a new version, then an older version and then a newer version again.

  • Thanks, I will try UECIDE first then attempt your suggestions, but right now, they sound a little out of my current knowledge level with Ubuntu. Jun 15 '17 at 16:44
  • Thanks, I have that working for two version and that will do fine for now. The UECIDE thing is not working at all well and I can't be bothered trying to mess with it any longer. Jun 15 '17 at 19:29
  • The term 'version' could be confusing, I have added more explanation in my answer about 'version'.
    – Jot
    Jun 16 '17 at 5:21
  • I have to downvote your answer. While technically correct and to the point, is inappropiate, because OP stated that he is new to Linux and wants a simple solution. UECIDE solve the OP's problem, is better than Arduino IDE in every aspect, and doesn't requires any special installation.
    – user31481
    Oct 15 '17 at 7:06
  • @LookAlterno ha ha ha, that doesn't make sense at all. Starting a shortcut twice is all that is needed. The rest is explanation how to get the Arduino IDE working in linux properly.
    – Jot
    Oct 15 '17 at 8:36

Use UECIDE. It does everything Arduino IDE does, can have multiple instances running out of the box, and projects/libraries are 100% compatibles.

You get a nice standard interface, with a project, edit and output panes.

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IDE can be extended with plugins:

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Download it from the same site. You have versions for Windows, Mac and Linux:

Linux files

To run on 64-bit Linux you may need extra libraries installed. These are for the compilers, not for UECIDE, some of which only come in a 32-bit flavour. Possible libraries include the i386 version of libc6.


As UECIDE follow follow strictly the rules for project/directory organization as standard Arduino IDE, libraries and projects are compatibles. You can use Arduino IDE and UECIDE on the same project without harm.

I used Arduino IDE at first, and later slowly migrate to UECIDE, keping both for a while, but right now I keep Arduino IDE only as a backup.

@Majenko is the mantainer. Shy guy, doesn't promote himself.

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