Jetson Nano – Visual Studio Code + Python

Visual Studio Code is a very popular Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which you can run on the NVIDIA Jetson Nano. Looky here:

Background

One of the first questions most people ask when they start using a new platform is “How should I write programs, and what development environments are available?”. Most people have experience with a few development environments, but have their standard gotos with which they are most familiar.

The Jetson Developer Kits support a wide variety of development environments. Most IDEs which run on a Linux platform either work or can be ported to the Jetson. One of the most popular IDEs is Visual Studio Code by Microsoft. Visual Studio Code is often referred to as VSCode. Fortunately, Microsoft offers an open source version of this mainstay of professional developers.

While you can install VSCode from source, there are community builds available for the Jetson. Here we install a build from headmelted.com. Make sure to go over there and give them some love. They have a version which runs on ARM 64 machines such as the Jetson Nano and Raspberry Pi. This saves a lot of work in gathering up the all the necessary libraries and building VSCode from source. Plus, the headmelted.com builds are automated, which means that they will update on an ongoing basis.

Visual Studio Code supports many different programming languages. In the video we add Python support. This is one of the more frequently asked questions here, “Which IDE should we use for Python on the Jetson?”. Try this one, and see how you like it.

Installation

On the JetsonHacksNano account on Github, there is a repository installVSCode. To clone the repository and install VSCode:

$ git clone https://github.com/JetsonHacksNano/installVSCode.git
$ cd installVSCode
$ ./installVSCode.sh

After installation, to run VSCode:

$ code-oss

Because VSCode is a GUI, it’s easiest to watch the video to get a feel on how to add different support features. In the video, we add Python support.

Because installation is from pre-built code, it only takes a few minutes.

Commentary

Right up front, this is a very simple install. Visual Studio Code is a very rich, professional level environment which supports a wide range of activities. It is beyond the scope of a short article or video on how to exploit much of this power.

However, we’ll note here that you may want to add Python environments, or remote developing capabilities. There are other articles out there that cover topics like doing “Remote development from a Windows host to a Jetson Nano using VSCode”. That particular article is well worth reading to get a better understanding of some of the niggles that you will have to overcome for such an endeavor.

Alternate Install

Paul DeCarlo who is currently working at Microsoft has a Github Repository which is modified to build a .deb file for ARM64 (Jetson Nano). The 1.32.3 release of vscode is on the Releases Page. It is easy to install. Download the file and open a Terminal in the directory of the .deb file:

$ sudo dpkg -i code-oss_1.32.3-arm64.deb

Note that you will not need to add certificates to Ubuntu to get this to work, and may be a better solution if you have issues connecting with the ubuntu servers. Also, the reason that the previous method described was selected is that the headmelted.com version is from an automated build system.

Notes

In the video, we use a NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit and Raspberry Pi camera to clean up the JetsonHacksNano CSI-Camera repository.

The Incidentals

  • Jetson Nano
  • L4T 32.2.1 (JetPack 4.2.2)
  • Visual Studio Code Code-OSS Version: 1.32.0 (user setup)
  • Commit: aeaef41d51201e555735f5e8d2f38a9d0ddb9026
  • Date: 2019-02-20T06:32:49.577Z

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