Linux development environment

Rust supports most Linux distributions. Depending on the specific distribution and version of the operating system you use, you might need to add some software dependencies to your environment. In general, your development environment should include a linker or C-compatible compiler such as clang and an appropriate integrated development environment (IDE).

Before you begin

Check the documentation for your operating system for information about the packages that are installed and how to download and install any additional packages you might need. For example, if you use Ubuntu, you can use the Ubuntu Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) to install the build-essential package:

sudo apt install build-essential

At a minimum, you need the following packages before you install Rust:

clang curl git make

Because the blockchain requires standard cryptography to support the generation of public/private key pairs and the validation of transaction signatures, you must also have a package that provides cryptography, such as libssl-dev or openssl-devel.

Install required packages and Rust

To install the Rust toolchain on Linux:

  1. Log on to your computer and open a terminal shell.
  2. Check the packages you have installed on the local computer by running an appropriate package management command for your Linux distribution.
  3. Add any package dependencies you are missing to your local development environment by running an appropriate package management command for your Linux distribution.

    For example, on Ubuntu Desktop or Ubuntu Server, you might run a command similar to the following:

    sudo apt install --assume-yes git clang curl libssl-dev protobuf-compiler

    Click the tab titles to see examples for other Linux operating systems:

    Remember that different distributions might use different package managers and bundle packages in different ways. For example, depending on your installation selections, Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server might have different packages and different requirements. However, the packages listed in the command-line examples are applicable for many common Linux distributions, including Debian, Linux Mint, MX Linux, and Elementary OS.

  4. Download the rustup installation program and use it to install Rust by running the following command:

    curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh
  5. Follow the prompts displayed to proceed with a default installation.
  6. Update your current shell to include Cargo by running the following command:

    source $HOME/.cargo/env
  7. Verify your installation by running the following command:

    rustc --version
  8. Configure the Rust toolchain to default to the latest stable version by running the following commands:

    rustup default stable
    rustup update
  9. Add the nightly release and the nightly WebAssembly (wasm) targets to your development environment by running the following commands:

    rustup update nightly
    rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown --toolchain nightly
  10. Verify the configuration of your development environment by running the following command:

    rustup show
    rustup +nightly show

    The command displays output similar to the following:

    # rustup show
    active toolchain
    stable-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu (default)
    rustc 1.62.1 (e092d0b6b 2022-07-16)
    # rustup +nightly show
    active toolchain
    nightly-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu (overridden by +toolchain on the command line)
    rustc 1.65.0-nightly (34a6cae28 2022-08-09)

Compile a Substrate node

Now that you have Rust installed and the Rust toolchains configured for Substrate development, you are ready to finish setting up your development environment by cloning the Substrate node template files and compiling a Substrate node.

The node template provides a working environment that includes all of the most common features you need to build a blockchain without any extraneous modules or tools. To ensure that the node template offers a relatively stable working environment for you to experiment with, the recommended best practice is to clone Substrate node template from the Substrate Developer Hub repository, rather than from the core Substrate repository.

To compile the Substrate node template:

  1. Clone the node template repository by running the following command:

    git clone

    In most cases, you can clone the main branch to get the latest code. However, you can use the --branch command-line option if you want to work with a Substrate branch that is compatible with a specific Polkadot version. Click Tags to see the list of branches that are compatible with specific Polkadot versions.

  2. Change to the root of the node template directory by running the following command:

    cd substrate-node-template

    If you want to save your changes and make this branch easy to identify, you can create a new branch by running a command similar to the following:

    git switch -c my-wip-branch
  3. Compile the node template by running the following command:

    cargo build --release

    Because of the number of packages required, compiling the node can take several minutes.

After the build completes successfully, your local computer is ready for Substrate development activity.

Where to go next

The Substrate Developer Hub acts as a central portal for access to the many resources available to the community. Depending on your interests and learning style, you might prefer one avenue over another. For example, if you prefer to read source code and are familiar with Rust, you might want to start by digging into the Rust API.

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