Installing OpenCPN

Windows XP SP3/Vista/7/8 (except W8 RT)
  • Download the installation package for Windows from Download OpenCPN.
  • Use the stable release for navigation en route, or if you just started using OpenCPN.
  • Exit all other programs, including your anti virus program - known to create problems in some cases. Unplug your network cable, to be on the safe side.
  • Run the downloaded installer. Re-start your anti-virus. Re-connect the network
  • If upgrading from a previous version of OpenCPN, there is no need to un-install the old version. Simply install the new version and it will upgrade OpenCPN, saving all your existing configuration and preferences.
  • If this is a new installation, click on the Toolbox icon Toolbox Settings and configure your GPS source, chart directories, and other settings.
  • If your installation goes well, but OpenCPN don't start as expected, try to download and install these runtime components.
  • Not Supported Windows versions:
    Win  8 RT is not supported.
    Win CE is not supported.
    Win XP SP 2 or 1 are not supported. The last OpenCPN version that included support was 2.6.1624.
    Win 2000 is not supported. The last OpenCPN version that included support was 2.5.0.
    Win 98/ME  are not supported. The last OpenCPN version that included support was 2.1.0.
  • Old versions of OpenCPN are available on SourceForge.



32/64 bit Ubuntu/Debian Distributions

32/64 bit Fedora / Cent OS

If you are installing OpenCPN for the first time on a computer with Ubuntu, or any other Linux flavor, you have to go through a few steps to make sure that all dependencies are met. Ubuntu uses "deb" packages and Fedora uses the "rpm" packages.
  • For Debian based Linuxes: Make sure that you belong to the "dialout" group. To find out, run the "$groups" command. If you're not in "dialout", add yourself with the command "$sudo usermod -a -G dialout $USER". Check this straight away, it will save you from frustration later on. If there is a problem connecting the GPS to a physical port, such as /dev/ttyS0, the reason is probably that you don't belong to "dialout".
  • For other Linux distributions, replace "dialout" above, with the result of this command: $stat -c %G /dev/ttyS0
  • It is recommended that you install the "xcalib" program, that is necessary to dim the screen for night time usage. Use your favourite package manager or just issue $sudo apt-get install xcalib from the command line (for debian based distros).
  • It is recommended that you install the "xdg-utils" program, that helps the grib plugin compose a SailDoc grib-request-mail. Use your favourite package manager or just issue $sudo apt-get install xdg-utils from the command line (for debian based distros).
  • On Ubuntu, start "System->Administration->Synaptic". In Synaptic  go to "Settings->Repositories" and tick the box "Community-maintained Open Source software (universe)". Close Synaptic.
  • Download the correct .deb or .rpm from Download OpenCPN.
  • For Ubuntu, only use the download with an Ubuntu version number if you have exactly that version. Otherwise use the link "Download OpenCPN 3.X.X for all other *Ubuntu's".
  • Use the stable release for navigation en route, or if you just started using OpenCPN.
  • Click on the downloaded package. An installation manager will guide you on most Linux distributions. All dependencies should automatically be installed. For most Linux installations, this is all you have to do. Consult the following 3 paragraphs if you run into trouble.
  • If you have problems with dependencies, run the recommended command line in the next paragraph. First check that you really have downloaded the correct version of OpenCPN. se above.
  • sudo gdebi <downloaded_opencpn_file.deb>. The command "gdebi" will automatically install the dependencies for you.
  • It is also possible to install the package via dpkg or rpm, on the condition that all dependencies are met.To make sure that this is the case on Ubuntu, open a terminal window to get a command line, (Applications->Accessories->Terminal) and copy and paste the following line: "sudo apt-get install libwxgtk2.8-0  libwxbase2.8-0 wx-common  libglu1-mesa libgl1-mesa-glx zlib1g bzip2 gpsd gpsd-clients xcalib xdg-utils libportaudio2 libkml0 libtinyxml2.6.2 liburiparser1 zlib1g libexpat1". Then proceed with the commands below
    • For Ubuntu: $ sudo dpkg -i <downloaded_file.deb> 
      For Fedora: # sudo yum install --nogpgcheck <downloaded_file.rpm>
    • The binary will be installed to /usr/bin/opencpn and the static data used by the program will be in /usr/share/opencpn 
  • If this is a new installation, click on the Options icon Toolbox Settings and configure your GPS source, chart directories, and other settings.
  • If there is a problem with sound, make sure that you, as a user, belongs to the "audio" group. To find out, run the "$groups" command. If you're not in "audio", add yourself with "$sudo usermod -a -G audio $USER"
  • If you are running Debian Squeeze and want to install OpenCPN from the distributions .deb package, you will need to install with something like this in order to satisfy install dependencies related to libtinyxml:
    $sudo dpkg -i --force-depends opencpn_3.1.1327-1_i386.deb

Using Linux repositories, an easier way to install and update.

Installing in a different, easy way.

Installing on Ubuntu

Add the OpenCPN ppa repository as explained in Configuring Ubuntu PPA
- If you are using Synaptic, add the repository, reload the software sources as it suggests, search for and install opencpn
- No need to install anything manually

Installing on Fedora

A full repo is now available and can be used to install and update opencpn.
To install the repo, please run this as root:
yum install
You can install the above rpm, no matter if you're using i386 or x86_64, be it Fedora 16, Fedora 17 or Fedora 18, it'll work on all these (you should be able to install it right from your browser clicking the above link and then install)
By default, only the stable repo is enabled ; you can install opencpn-4.0 from your favorite package manager (yum, Gnome package kit or KDE package kit). I've created two separate packages: "opencpn" with the program and the two default plugins and "opencpn-doc" with the whole html doc to browse it offline.
When a new stable is released, you'll be automatically notified and able to update... so easy!

Security/Trust: all packages are signed with Key ID 7e53dbe19add462d


Other 32, 64bits, the armhf architecture, Linux Distributions and the BSD operating systems

  • Currently other distributions requires compiling the source. This will involve resolving various dependencies and is for folks comfortable with developing on Linux.
  • Download the source from or directly from the Git server. The SourceForge link for this project is More about compiling on Linux here Compiling - Linux.
  • Interested in maintaining a package for your favorite Linux distribution? Follow the SourceForge link above.
  • This also includes the different BSD distributions. Report your experiences back to the forum.


Mac OS X

  • OpenCPN is distributed as a Mac ".dmg" file.
  1. Download the .dmg file.
  2. Open the dmg file by double-clicking on it - this will mount the dmg as a virtual device and create a mount on your desktop.
  3. Drag the application from the dmg image to your Applications folder in a finder window. This may require the administrator password.
  4. Unmount the dmg by right-clicking on the desktop icon and selecting "Eject"
  • You can have a look at this tutorial for general instructions on installing Mac OS X applications.
  • If you have a message that installations are only accepted for programs from qualified developers, go to System Settings / Security, first Tab, and switch to "No Constraints".
    After installation switch back, to prevent installation of malware.
  • To save a previously installed version rename rename the app in the Applications directory before installing the new version.

Different versions of OpenCPN

  • Use a "stable", official release for actual navigation. The latest stable release is always available at the top of the download page or from Source Forge.
  • Beta releases are snapshots of the development process, and may contain errors or temporarily be unstable. Show stoppers are normally fixed very quickly however. This is where the latest features first are seen. Most of the time the beta releases are quite stable and the OpenCPN team appreciate it if more experienced users test the releases and report back.
  • The place to report bugs and suggest features is the Tracker. To reach the Tracker from the OpenCPN Web pages click on the "Tracker" tab at the upper right (above the blue bar).  The sticky thread "Tracker/Flyspray - How and When to use it" (tab Forum) is giving some hints.
  • To see what version you are using either look in  ?->about or at the top of your display. A lot of information is also available in the log file. See below.



Location of Important Files. Log and config files.

  •  It is important to know the location of the log file and the configuration file, opencpn.conf(Linux) or opencpn.ini (Windows), on your computer. If you ask questions on the forum, there is a fair chance that you will be asked about the content in these files. Once you get familiar with OpenCPN, have a look at the files!
  • Through out this documentation there will be many references to the configuration file, as it often is possible to change the default settings. This is an advanced subject once you are familiar with OpenCPN. All editing in the config files must be done with a text-editor, such as "notepad" in Windows.
  • The configuration file is where all data, that needs to be persistent between sessions, are stored. The logfile keeps tab of what's going on in the current session.                       
  • To find the locations of the files go to the ToolBar click on "About OpenCPN", the button looks like a blue book with a "?" on the cover. Look at the bottom  of the "About" Tab, highlighted below. The illustration below is from a Win XP. A quick way to view the logfile is to copy the full file path and then paste this into the address field in a web browser.

  • For quick copying of the opencpn.ini and Log files use the two "Copy" buttons. This is useful for publishing on the forum if asked to do so. Please use the Forum "Code" button  before pasting, as this guarantees an exact copy.
  • On Linux the "opencpn.log" is in your home directory.
    The "opencpn.conf" is in a hidden directory, called "opencpn", also in your home directory.
    For a quick way to view the files you can try these commands.
    $gedit `echo $HOME/opencpn.log`
    $gedit `echo $HOME/.opencpn/opencpn.conf`
    Of course you can swap "gedit" for your favorite editor.
  • On Windows 7, Windows 2000, XP and Vista the two files are more difficult to find, so use the "About" dialog as described above. On many windows installs the folder containing the logfile will also be hidden, so you need to change your systems "Folder Options" to show it.
For example, the C:\ProgramData folder is by default hidden in Windows 7. Here's how to get to it:

To access it you need to un-hide it by doing the following:

1. Go to Control Panel > Folder Options
2. Switch to View tab
3. Select "Show hidden files, folders and drives".
4. Unselect "Hide extensions for know file types" to get this state:

Now you will be able to find your logfile.
  • On Mac OS X, the logfile, "opencpn.log", is in  /Users/"user name"/Library/Logs/ and the "opencpn.ini" is in the /Users/"user name"/Library/Preferences/ directory.

If something goes wrong

  • If you have installed OpenCPN successfully and later run into trouble there is generally no point in reinstalling. It is a very common reaction among users, but achieves very little.
  • If openCPN refuses to start, or hangs after the introduction dialog and you have Intel integrated graphics on your computer, try to start the program from the command-line  with  -> "opencpn -no_opengl"
  • Still no luck? Proceed by checking your logfile and try to find a hint there.
  • Next step is to close down OpenCPN, if it's still running. Then save any possibly valuable data. Read about Navigation Data Backup
  • Proceed by renaming the configuration file - opencpn.ini to , for example, opencpn_OLD.ini.  When you start OpenCPN again it will be like a new install, no chart directories and all settings are default.
  • If you still have problems, and especially if your log file complains about navobj.xml files, close down OpenCPN and move all navobj.xml files to another directory. Rename the opencpn.ini file again, and then restart as before. If successful, close down again, and try to move, first the navobj.xml.1 back to the original directory renaming it navobj.xml. If not successful, try navobj.xml.2 etc This last step is only necessary if you have valuable data that's not saved elsewhere.
  • If this is successful, please post your old config file and your original navobj.xml file, together with full information of what happened, and your system, on the Cruisers Forum. To do this, first rename the file by adding ".doc" to the end of the file name.
  • This will help the OpenCPN developers  to understand what's going on.
  • Still having trouble?  There is a lot of info available on the forum. Use the search function to see if your problem is already solved.
  • No luck? Post a question to the Forum. Please include as much info as possible, as this will speed up the process and help other users to help you. Include the following:
  1. Your Hardware and operating system, including versions.
  2. Which version of OpenCPN, or plugin version.
  3. A full description of your problem.
  4. If possible, also include the opencpn.log and screen dumps showing your problem.
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