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Johnathan Corgan, 12/04/2013 11:07 am

GNU Radio Live DVD

The GNU Radio Live DVD, produced by Corgan Labs, is a bootable Ubuntu Linux DVD with GNU Radio and 3rd party software pre-installed. It is designed for quick and easy testing and experimentation with GNU Radio without having to make any permanent modifications to a PC or laptop.

The DVD is supplied as an ISO image to be downloaded and burned onto a recordable DVD disc. The preferred method to obtain the DVD image is to use a Bittorrent client with the following link:

The use of Bittorrent reduces the load on the GNU Radio web server.

If a Bittorrent client is not available, the following link may be used to download the ISO file directly:


The DVD image is based on Ubuntu Linux 12.04.3 LTS, 64-bit edition, and has the following additional software installed beyond the defaults supplied by Ubuntu:

  • GNU Radio release 3.7.2
  • Ettus Research uhd snapshot 3.5.4-157-g7641b42
  • gqrx snapshot v2.2.0-51-g6e30181
  • gr-air-modes commit g585ecf1 ('next' branch)
  • gr-iqbal snapshot v0.37.1-5-gd4fd4dd
  • gr-osmosdr snapshot v0.1.0-44-g0d10f5e
  • hackrf snapshot v2013.07.1-59-gbef5835
  • libosmo-dsp v0.3
  • osmo-sdr snapshot v0.1-7-gcd37e9fa
  • rtl-sdr snapshot v0.5.1-14-g360dd36

Using the GNU Radio Live DVD

Once a DVD has been created using the ISO image linked above, one boots directly into Linux from the DVD by inserting the DVD into a drive, reboot the PC, and either:

  • Accessing the PC boot device menu and selecting "Boot from CD/DVD Drive" (typically by pressing F12, but may be something else), or
  • Updating the PC BIOS configuration to allow booting from DVD. The PC BIOS is typically entered by pressing F2 during startup, but this varies between systems.

The booting process, depending on the speed of the DVD drive, may take 2-3 minutes or more to complete, and will automatically log into the Ubuntu desktop screen. From here, you can select software to run with the mouse, or may create a terminal window using the Ctrl-Alt-T shortcut key.

Network Configuration on the Live DVD

The system has been pre-configured to use one of two network configurations when an Ethernet cable is plugged into the network port of the PC. This is accessed by clicking on the network configuration icon in the upper right configuration bar.

  • Under "Wired Network", select "Wired DHCP" to allow the PC to obtain its network configuration from the connected LAN
  • For use with the Ettus Research USRP N-series devices, choose "USRP" from the selections, which will assign the IP address of to the host PC and allow communication with the default IP configuration of a USRP. In this configuration, in order to access an external network, an alternative interface must be availabe, such a Wireless network or second Ethernet port.

Installation Locations on the DVD

The GNU Radio software source code, as well as the source code to other installed software, is installed in /usr/local/src, which may be browsed from the filesystem explorer or from the command line.

The GNU Radio Companion application is installed as grc on the system path, and may be run from any directory.

GNU Radio example applications are installed in /usr/local/share/gnuradio/examples and may be run by navigating to one of the example directories and executing the python scripts using the syntax ./, where is the name of the example program.