Axepad and 64-bit linux?


Senior Member
I'm contemplating acquiring a Chromebook and loading Linux so I can program Picaxe chips, but I get the impression that while Linux is moving away from supporting 32-bit software and is becoming a 64-bit operating system, Axepad will not function in that environment without major effort and heartburn and there is no indication that a 64-bit compatible Axepad is on the horizon.

Am I mistaken that Axepad does not run in 64-bit linux environments and that 64-bit Axepad is not in the immediate offing?


Technical Support
Staff member
AXEpad is a 32-bit application and that isn't likely to change any time soon. It does run under 64-bit Linux, though some distros do seem to make that more difficult than it should be.

One thing to watch out for is what the architecture of the target is; in this case the Chromebook. AXEPad expects an X86 architecture, as do the PICAXE compilers, so will not run direct on a different architecture without some sort of emulation.
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New Member
I realize this thread is getting old but I found it while upgrading my picaxe environment to a 64 bit distro.
For future reference: on debian (and presumably its derivatives) all you need to do is install libc6-i386 and the compilers will run fine.

I also have a question that someone here might be able to answer: are there any plans to update axepad itself?
Its looks and functionality are becoming a bit dated.

Jeremy Harris

Senior Member
Just to add to the above, I've been testing Visual Studio Code, with the Picaxe extensions and compilers yesterday and today, on Linux Mint 18.1, 64 bit, running on a fairly old Intel D5252MW dual core Atom machine that's driving a very old 19" 1280 x 1024 LCD display. So far it looks pretty good as a Linux development tool for more experienced Picaxe users. Visual Studio Code, with the Picaxe extensions, is fairly easy to use, and I've had no problems getting it to work and program a Picaxe via a hardware serial port. With luck I should be able to do some further testing with an AXE027 USB to serial cable in the next week or so; my only reason for initially testing with a hardware serial port is that this work bench PC has one (and a proper LPT port for running a CNC PCB router/drill).

It's still early days, and I understand that the installation and set up will probably get a bit easier than it is at the moment for the beta version that some, like me, are playing with. Having said that, if you work methodically through the set up instructions on the link above then you should be able to get a straightforward installation up and running.

I've been tweaking my installation today, by creating folders in VS Code for each Picaxe chip, with each folder having its own customised java script notification file (tasks.json), so it calls the correct compiler for that chip. This makes it simpler to use, as you can keep all programme files for a particular Picaxe flavour in the same folder, and when you wish to download them they will automatically run the correct compiler and download the programme to the Picaxe with a single keypress.

Configuring the tasks.json files is pretty straightforward, as they are text files. If others are interested in using Linux to write code and programme Picaxe chips using VS Code it might be useful to start a specific topic, or perhaps even a forum sub-section, to discuss this, as although it's pretty easy to use, it can seem a bit daunting for those unfamiliar with editing configuration files in Linux (although in this case VS code is the file editor as well, which makes things a lot simpler).

All told I quite like VS Code, mainly because it's a very clean and simple interface, which I prefer, as I rarely use anything other than the text editing and programme download capability in the Windows PE. It also seems to be rock-solid, with no problems at all with loading or saving files from any source I've so far tried (network storage, USB memory and the machines internal file system). For those who have had problems with Axepad crashing during file saves (which is an issue particular to some Linux distros, it seems) then I suggest having a go with VS Code. I'm not sure how many people have been trying it out over the past week or so, but even though I'm far from being an expert when it comes to Linux, I'd be happy to share my experiences and some of the tweaks I've made, and a user group here on the forum seems like a good way to share this stuff.


New Member
Thanks for the update.
For my needs blockly doesn't really cut it, but I will download visual studio code and take a look.
Personally I have used geany as IDE for picaxe programming for the last year or so, but its always good to have a choice.
Are there any plans to make the picaxe simulator multi platform? Right now I have to keep a windowsXP VM around just in case I really need to analyze a chunk of code.

I did get around to checking out visual studio code.
- installing debian package worked fine
- installing picaxe extensions isn't any more difficult than it would be in other applications (instructions could use some cleanup ;)
- F4-F6 keys are recognized but gave me an error message: tasks are only available on a workspace folder, so I may need to do some more digging
looking at the picaxe extension code, I ended up with one question though: does it support the #include directive, just like picaxe editor 6?
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