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GPIB on Ubuntu

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GPIB on Ubuntu
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Forget about previous ways to install gpib.

Go to linux-gpib package download page to download appropriate version based on your kernel. I did 3.2.21 and it worked.

Untar the folder and run ./configure; make;make install

It will work.



All the instructions in this file are to be run as root.

Remove any old install of linux-gpib

Instructions forthcoming.

New Working(ish?) method as of 8/22/12 [Alex]:

The "apt-get install gpib-modules-source" command under the Install the packages heading was intended to retrieve the latest gpib modules directly from the central Ubuntu package repository; however, it doesn't seem as though that has been updated for almost two years. We have downloaded the latest gpib modules from whoever keeps that stuff updated. The file location is /var/www/electron/images/gpib.tar.bz2 (which means you can get it directly from electron or download it from

Become root:

apt-get install module-assistant

cd /usr/src; wget

m-a a-i gpib

Further clarification needed: gpib.conf file does not seem to exist after these three commands are run. Running gpib_config may be what causes it to appear, however there are still kinks to be worked out with the setup along those lines.

addgroup ${USER} gpib

addgroup ${USER} dialout (is this necessary for gpib?)

The addgroup commands seem to only take effect upon restart. There may be a command that just refreshes/restarts the proper lists, rendering a restart redundant, but at the time of this writing (Aug. 22, 2012) we only noticed a gpib-reliant command such as "simple_vm -g20 -mv" work properly upon machine restart.

Install the packages

apt-get install gpib-modules-source

apt-get install module-assistant

Build the kernel modules

Note: As of Sept. 4, 2010, this does not work because the GPIB packages are out of date.  It may start working someday soon.  If it doesn't work, follow the instructions under "GPIB Packages are broken" below. (Oct. 13th, 2011. May 3rd, 2012.  The m-a failed to build the gpib-modules-source [still!] -BH)

m-a a-i gpib

If the GPIB Packages are broken

You need to replace the source code for the kernel modules with an up-to-date copy.  I've done this for linux-gpib version 3.2.15.  You can check the current version on the linux-gpib package download page. If this is still the current version, just run

cd /usr/src; wget

Then try to re-run the m-a command above.

If the linux-gpib version is out of date, please look at the next page of this article.


Update the configuration files

Edit /etc/gpib.conf.  If you're using a USB adapter, you'll want to change board_type to ni_usb_b.

As root, run


And everything should work.