Launchpad Development Tools for Linux

Texas Instruments has released the LaunchPad, a new open-source development board for the value line of the MSP430. The chips aren’t very powerful, but at $4.30, it’s hard to go wrong!

However, they do not give any official support for Linux development. There is already a GCC toolchain for the MSP430, and little-to-no effort is needed to get it working with the LaunchPad.

Getting Started


The mspgcc4 project offers a GCC toolchain targeted at the MSP430. Compared to the (somehow much more visible) mspgcc project, it boasts better optimization, and better support for C++.

From the building section, you can get latest version of mspgcc4 with:

svn checkout
cd mspgcc4 && sh (For me, the script's default options worked well.)

This will take a while to build…


In order to load programs to your board, you’ll need MSPDebug.

Grab the latest version from the Sourceforge download page. From the installation instructions, you can build MSPDebug with:

sudo apt-get install libusb-dev libreadline-dev
sudo make install

(If you’re not running Debian or Ubuntu, you’ll need to get libusb and libreadline another way.)

Programming the Board

Temperature Demo

The code written for the TI’s Windows tools needs to be modified to build with GCC.

For now, I’ve shamelessly (and without permission) stolen some modified code from “losinggeneration”.

You can get it here: temperature-demo.tar.bz2

To build the code, simply run:

make You should end up with a file called main.elf.

Loading the Code

To load the code, run:

sudo mspdebug rf2500
prog main.elf (If you'd like to be able to run mspdebug without sudo, check the [MSPDebug installation instructions](

As soon as you exit mspdebug, the program will start.


Instead of closing mspdebug, you can run the ‘gdb’ command. This will open a “remote target.”

From another terminal, run:

msp430-gdb main.elf
target remote localhost:2000

Do whatever you might want to do, like setting breakpoints, etc.

Since the program is technically already running on the board, use the ‘continue’ command to start debugging.


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