ESP8266: Sming Framework on Arch Linux

Sming Framework logo

Sming is an open source Framework for ESP8266 Wi-Fi Module. It simplifies development my allowing advanced features to be implemented with trivial amount of code compared to low level programming. Sming and Eclipse IDE can also be used to write, compile and flash Sming projects instead of using command line tools.


Install common dependencies.

sudo pacman -S git gperf help2man

Missing dependencies will result in configure: error: missing required tool: gperf and configure: error: missing required tool: help2man errors respectively when attempting to compile.


Install Espressif SDK

Change current directory to the installation directory.

cd /opt


Clone the esp-open-sdk repository from Git.

sudo git clone --recursive


Change file ownership to match the current user.

sudo chown -R dom:users /opt/esp-open-sdk

By default /opt directory is owned by root and would result in error: could not lock config file .git/config: Permission denied message when attempting to compile. Since root is not allowed to execute make command in this case, write permissions must be granted to an unprivileged user.


Change current directory to the newly downloaded repository.

cd /opt/esp-open-sdk


Compile the SDK.


Compiling will take quite a while and stress the CPU significantly.


Install Sming Framework

Change current directory to the installation directory.

cd /opt


Clone the Sming repository from Git.

sudo git clone

By default a Develop branch is cloned. This can be changed to master branch with git checkout origin/master command. Develop branch is recommended since there may actually be more issues with master branch.


Change current directory to the downloaded repository.

cd /opt/Sming/Sming


Change file ownership to match the current user.

sudo chown -R dom:users /opt/Sming

This is optional but allows to compile without root privileges.


Compile Sming.



Compile spiffy file system if desired.

make spiffy


Install esptools

Install the required dependencies.

sudo pacman -S python2 python python2-pyserial python-pyserial unzip

Both python 2 and python 3 serial packages are required or compilation will fail with an /usr/bin/python: Error while finding spec for '' (<class ‘ImportError’>: No module named ‘serial’) error message.


Change current directory to the installation directory.

cd /opt/esp-open-sdk/esptool


Clone the Sming repository from Git.

sudo git clone


Open the esptool python script.

nano /opt/esp-open-sdk/esptool/


Change the default python version that esptool uses and save the file.

#!/usr/bin/env python2

On Arch Linux python 3 is the default interpreter and so it needs to be changed from the default python to python2.


Install esptools2

Change current directory to the SDK installation directory.

cd /opt/esp-open-sdk


Clone the esptool2 repository from Git.

git clone


Change current directory to the downloaded repository.

cd esptool2


Compile esptool2.

sudo make


Set Environmental Variables

Open the configuration file that will be executed every time an interactive non-login shell is started.

sudo nano ~/.bashrc


Append the environmental variables and save the file.

# esptool
export ESP_HOME=/opt/esp-open-sdk
export PATH=$PATH:$ESP_HOME/esptool2

# Sming Framework
export SMING_HOME=/opt/Sming/Sming
export ESP_HOME=/opt/esp-open-sdk

The first two variables set the esptool and esptool2 paths respectively. Failing to set environmental variables will lead to compilation failure with make: esptool2: Command not found error.

Remaining two variables the SMING_HOME and ESP_HOME paths which otherwise would need to be set in the project’s file. When the variables are not set an error message Makefile:13: *** SMING_HOME is not set. Please configure it in Stop. is returned.


Flash ESP8266 with Sming Code

Add current user to uucp group.

sudo usermod -a -G uucp dom

USB devices are owned by root owner and uucp group by default. Adding the user to the group is the ideal way to get access to USB devices. For changes to take effect the user needs to re-login or serial.serialutil.SerialException: [Errno 13] could not open port /dev/ttyUSB0: [Errno 13] Permission denied: '/dev/ttyUSB0' message will be displayed when attempting to compile projects.


Change the current directory to the sample project directory.

cd /opt/Sming/samples/Basic_Blink


Edit the user makefile to set required variables.


Uncomment and if necessary change ESP_HOME variable value to /opt/esp-open-sdk and SMING_HOME to /opt/Sming/Sming. This step must be carried out for each project unless the environmental variables are being set automatically when interactive shell is started.





Clean if needed.

make clean

Cleaning removes leftover files from previously compiled projects and resolves make: Nothing to be done for 'all' error.


Flash ESP8266 module.

make flash

After successful flashing exit miniterm with CTRL + ] command.


The following error will be generated if the ESP8266 module is disconnected or not in flash mode.

Not connected or Not reconnected after flash
A fatal error occurred: Failed to connect to ESP8266
/home/dom/Sming/Sming/ recipe for target 'flash' failed
make: *** [flash] Error 2

Depending on the hardware configuration this may happen when device has not been power cycled after flashing.


For a more integrated and streamlined workflow configure Sming Framework with Eclipse.