Apache NuttX Apps is a collection of tools, shells, network utilities, libraries, interpreters and can be used with the NuttX RTOS

Clone this repo:
  1. 483e6ba build: Remove staging folder in distclean by Xiang Xiao · 23 hours ago master
  2. 99a8c59 Fix drivertest_watchdog.c:207:30: error: 'struct wdg_state_s' has no member named 'infopath' by Xiang Xiao · 20 hours ago
  3. 3e87083 testing: fix osperf running error in SMP mode by yinshengkai · 3 days ago
  4. 9d8a364 testing/osperf: fix qemu-armv8a compilation error by yinshengkai · 3 days ago
  5. 009c9ad apps/system/uorb/test/unit_test.c: add orb_copy return judgment. by likun17 · 3 days ago

Application Folder


  • General
  • Directory Location
  • Built-In Applications
  • NuttShell (NSH) Built-In Commands
  • Synchronous Built-In Commands
  • Application Configuration File
  • Example Built-In Application
  • Building NuttX with Board-Specific Pieces Outside the Source Tree


This folder provides various applications found in sub-directories. These applications are not inherently a part of NuttX but are provided to help you develop your own applications. The apps/ directory is a break away part of the configuration that you may choose to use or not.

Directory Location

The default application directory used by the NuttX build should be named apps/ (or apps-x.y.z/ where x.y.z is the NuttX version number). This apps/ directory should appear in the directory tree at the same level as the NuttX directory. Like:

 |- nuttx
 `- apps

If all of the above conditions are TRUE, then NuttX will be able to find the application directory. If your application directory has a different name or is location at a different position, then you will have to inform the NuttX build system of that location. There are several ways to do that:

  1. You can define CONFIG_APPS_DIR to be the full path to your application directory in the NuttX configuration file.
  2. You can provide the path to the application directory on the command line like: make APPDIR=<path> or make CONFIG_APPS_DIR=<path>
  3. When you configure NuttX using tools/configure.sh, you can provide that path to the application directory on the configuration command line like: ./configure.sh -a <app-dir> <board-name>:<config-name>

Built-In Applications

NuttX also supports applications that can be started using a name string. In this case, application entry points with their requirements are gathered together in two files:

  • builtin/builtin_proto.h – Entry points, prototype function
  • builtin/builtin_list.h – Application specific information and requirements

The build occurs in several phases as different build targets are executed: (1) context, (2) depend, and (3) default (all). Application information is collected during the make context build phase.

To execute an application function:

exec_builtin() is defined in the apps/include/builtin/builtin.h.

NuttShell (NSH) Built-In Commands

One use of builtin applications is to provide a way of invoking your custom application through the NuttShell (NSH) command line. NSH will support a seamless method invoking the applications, when the following option is enabled in the NuttX configuration file:


Applications registered in the apps/builtin/builtin_list.h file will then be accessible from the NSH command line. If you type help at the NSH prompt, you will see a list of the registered commands.

Synchronous Built-In Commands

By default, built-in commands started from the NSH command line will run asynchronously with NSH. If you want to force NSH to execute commands then wait for the command to execute, you can enable that feature by adding the following to the NuttX configuration file:


The configuration option enables support for the waitpid() RTOS interface. When that interface is enabled, NSH will use it to wait, sleeping until the built-in command executes to completion.

Of course, even with CONFIG_SCHED_WAITPID=y defined, specific commands can still be forced to run asynchronously by adding the ampersand (&) after the NSH command.

Application Configuration File

The NuttX configuration uses kconfig-frontends tools and the NuttX configuration file (.config) file. For example, the NuttX .config may have:


This will select the apps/examples/hello in the following way:

  • The top-level make will include apps/examples/Make.defs
  • apps/examples/Make.defs will set CONFIGURED_APPS += $(APPDIR)/examples/hello like this:
  CONFIGURED_APPS += $(APPDIR)/examples/hello

Example Built-In Application

An example application skeleton can be found under the examples/hello sub-directory. This example shows how a builtin application can be added to the project. One must:

  1. Create sub-directory as: progname

  2. In this directory there should be:

    • A Make.defs file that would be included by the apps/Makefile
    • A Kconfig file that would be used by the configuration tool (see the file kconfig-language.txt in the NuttX tools repository). This Kconfig file should be included by the apps/Kconfig file
    • A Makefile, and
    • The application source code.
  3. The application source code should provide the entry point:

  4. Set the requirements in the file: Makefile, specially the lines:

    PROGNAME   = progname
    STACKSIZE  = 768
    ASRCS      = asm source file list as a.asm b.asm ...
    CSRCS      = C source file list as foo1.c foo2.c ..
  5. The Make.defs file should include a line like:

    ifneq ($(CONFIG_PROGNAME),)
    CONFIGURED_APPS += progname

Building NuttX with Board-Specific Pieces Outside the Source Tree

Q: Has anyone come up with a tidy way to build NuttX with board- specific pieces outside the source tree?

A: Here are three:

  1. There is a make target called make export. It will build NuttX, then bundle all of the header files, libraries, startup objects, and other build components into a .zip file. You can move that .zip file into any build environment you want. You can even build NuttX under a DOS CMD window.

    This make target is documented in the top level nuttx/README.txt.

  2. You can replace the entire apps/ directory. If there is nothing in the apps/ directory that you need, you can define CONFIG_APPS_DIR in your .config file so that it points to a different, custom application directory.

    You can copy any pieces that you like from the old apps/directory to your custom apps directory as necessary.

    This is documented in NuttX/boards/README.txt and NuttX Porting Guide online at https://cwiki.apache.org/confluence/display/NUTTX/Porting+Guide.

  3. If you like the random collection of stuff in the apps/ directory but just want to expand the existing components with your own, external sub-directory then there is an easy way to that too: You just create a symbolic link in the apps/ directory that redirects to your application sub-directory.

    In order to be incorporated into the build, the directory that you link under the apps/ directory should contain (1) a Makefile that supports the clean and distclean targets (see other Makefiles for examples), and (2) a tiny Make.defs file that simply adds the custom build directories to the variable CONFIGURED_APPS like:

    CONFIGURED_APPS += my_directory1 my_directory2

    The apps/Makefile will always automatically check for the existence of subdirectories containing a Makefile and a Make.defs file. The Makefile will be used only to support cleaning operations. The Make.defs file provides the set of directories to be built; these directories must also contain a Makefile. That Makefile must be able to build the sources and add the objects to the apps/libapps.a archive. (see other Makefiles for examples). It should support the all, install, context, and depend targets.

    apps/Makefile does not depend on any hardcoded lists of directories. Instead, it does a wildcard search to find all appropriate directories. This means that to install a new application, you simply have to copy the directory (or link it) into the apps/ directory. If the new directory includes a Makefile and Make.defs file, then it will automatically be included in the build.

    If the directory that you add also includes a Kconfig file, then it will automatically be included in the NuttX configuration system as well. apps/Makefile uses a tool at apps/tools/mkkconfig.sh that dynamically builds the apps/Kconfig file at pre-configuration time.

    You could, for example, create a script called install.sh that installs a custom application, configuration, and board specific directory:

    a) Copy MyBoard directory to boards/MyBoard. b) Add a symbolic link to MyApplication at apps/external. c) Configure NuttX, usually by:

    tools/configure.sh MyBoard:MyConfiguration

    Use of the name apps/external is suggested because that name is included in the .gitignore file and will save you some nuisance when working with GIT.

Export restrictions

This distribution includes cryptographic software. The country in which you currently reside may have restrictions on the import, possession, use, and/or re-export to another country, of encryption software. BEFORE using any encryption software, please check your country's laws, regulations and policies concerning the import, possession, or use, and re-export of encryption software, to see if this is permitted. See http://www.wassenaar.org/ for more information.

The U.S. Government Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), has classified this software as Export Commodity Control Number (ECCN) 5D002.C.1, which includes information security software using or performing cryptographic functions with asymmetric algorithms. The form and manner of this Apache Software Foundation distribution makes it eligible for export under the License Exception ENC Technology Software Unrestricted (TSU) exception (see the BIS Export Administration Regulations, Section 740.13) for both object code and source code.

The following provides more details on the included cryptographic software: https://tls.mbed.org/supported-ssl-ciphersuites. https://github.com/intel/tinycrypt