3.2. Installing Linux software

To install the software for the Tic on a computer running Linux, follow these steps:

  1. Download the version for your system from this list:
  2. In a terminal, use cd to navigate to the directoy holding the downloaded file. For example, run cd ~/Downloads if it was downloaded to the “Downloads” folder in your home directory.
  3. Run tar -xvf pololu-tic-*.tar.xz to extract the software. If you downloaded multiple versions of the software, you should use an exact file name instead of an asterisk.
  4. Run sudo pololu-tic-*/install.sh to install the software. You will need to have sudo privilege on your system and you might need to type your password at this point. Look at the output of the script to see if any errors happened.
  5. After the installation has completed, plug the Tic into your computer via USB. If you already connected the Tic earlier, unplug it and plug it in again to make sure the newly-installed udev rules are applied.
  6. Run ticcmd --list to make sure the software can detect the Tic. This command should print the serial number and model of the Tic. If it prints nothing, see the “USB troubleshooting for Linux” section below.
  7. Run ticgui to start the Tic Control Center.

This Tic software consists of two programs:

  • The Pololu Tic Control Center (ticgui) is a graphical user interface (GUI) for configuring the Tic, viewing its status, and controlling it manually. You can open a terminal and type ticgui to run it.
  • The Pololu Tic Command-line Utility (ticcmd) is a command-line utility that can do most of what the GUI can do, and more. You can open a terminal and type ticcmd with no arguments to a see a summary of its options.

No special drivers are needed for the Tic on Linux. Also, the Tic software is statically compiled; it does not depend on any shared libraries.

The source code for the software is available.

Software installation troubleshooting for Linux

If you do not have sudo privilege or you do not remember your password, you can skip running install.sh and just run the Tic programs directly from the directory you extracted them to. For example, try running pololu-tic/ticgui after running the tar command above. You should also consider moving the software to a more permanent location and adding that location to your PATH as described below.

If you get a “No such file or directory” error while running ./install.sh, it is possible that your system is missing one of the directories that the install script assumes will be present. Please contact us to let us know about your system so we can consider supporting it better in the future.

If you get the error “command not found” when you try to run ticcmd or ticgui, then you should run echo $PATH to see what directories are on your PATH, and then make sure one of those directories contains the Tic executables or symbolic links to them. The installer puts symbolic links in /usr/local/bin, so if that directory is not on your PATH, you should run export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin to add it. Also, you might want to put that line in your ~/.profile file so the directory will be on your PATH in future sessions.

If you get the error “cannot execute binary file: Exec format error” when you try to run ticcmd or ticgui, then it is likely that you downloaded the wrong version of the software from the list above. If all of the listed versions give you this error, you will probably need to compile the software from source by following the instructions in BUILDING.md in the source code. Please contact us to let us know about your system so we can consider supporting it better in the future.

If the Tic Control Center window is too big to fit on your screen properly, try setting the TICGUI_COMPACT environment variable to Y before running the software. You can do this by running the command TICGUI_COMPACT=Y ticgui in your terminal. You could also add the line export TICGUI_COMPACT=Y to your ~/.profile file to make the change permanent.

If the text in the Tic Control Center window is not visible, make sure that the .ttf font file that we ship with the software is in the same directory as the ticgui executable.

USB troubleshooting for Linux

If the Tic software cannot connect to your Tic after you plug it into the computer via USB, the tips here can help you troubleshoot the Tic’s USB connection.

If you have connected any electronic devices to your Tic besides the USB cable, you should disconnect them.

You should look at the LEDs of the Tic. If the LEDs are off, then the Tic is probably not receiving power from the USB port. If the green LED is flashing very briefly once per second, then the Tic is receiving power from USB, but it is not receiving any data. These issues can be caused by using a broken USB port, using a broken USB cable, or by using a USB charging cable that does not have data wires. Using a different USB port and a different USB cable, both of which are known to work with other devices, is a good thing to try. Also, if you are connecting the Tic to your computer via a USB hub, try connecting it directly.

If the Tic’s green LED is on all the time or flashing slowly, but you can’t connect to it in the Tic software, then there might be something wrong with your computer. A good thing to try is to unplug the Tic from USB, reboot your computer, and then plug it in again.

If you get a “Permission denied” error when trying to connect to the Tic, you should make sure to copy the 99-pololu.rules file into /etc/udev/rules.d and then unplug the Tic and plug it back in again. The install script normally takes care of installing that file for you.

If that does not help, you should try running lsusb to list the USB devices recognized by your computer. Look for the Pololu vendor ID, which is 1ffb. You should also try running dmesg right after plugging in the Tic to see if there are any messages about it.

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