The VOLTTRON project includes a bootstrap script which automatically downloads dependencies and builds VOLTTRON. The script also creates a Python virtual environment for use by the project which can be activated after bootstrapping with “. env/bin/activate”. This activated Python virtual environment should be used for subsequent bootstraps whenever there are significant changes. The system’s Python need only be used on the initial bootstrap.

Install Required Software

Before bootstrapping, ensure the required packages are installed. If you intend to develop in Eclipse, we recommend creating the work directory: ~/git or ~/workspace. Then run the following commands in the work directory to work with the master branch of the repository:


git clone <>
cd volttron

# --help will show you all of the "package options" such as
#installing required packages for volttron central or the platform agent.

For other options see: Getting VOLTTRON

Note: Some packages (especially numpy) can be very verbose when they install. Please wait for the wall of text to finish.

Testing the Installation

To test that installation worked, start up the platform in verbose mode and set a log file:

# Activate the terminal
source env/bin/activate

# Start the platform in the background
volttron -vv -l volttron.log&

# If no errors are present then your setup is correct.  You can
# also tail the log file to see if the platform started correctly
tail -f volttron.log


If you plan on running VOLTTRON in the background and detaching it from the terminal with the disown command be sure to redirect stderr and stdout to /dev/null. Some libraries which VOLTTRON relies on output directly to stdout and stderr. This will cause problems if those file descriptors are not redirected to /dev/null.

#To start the platform in the background and redirect stderr and stdout
#to /dev/null
volttron -vv -l volttron.log > /dev/null 2>&1&

If you are developing in Eclipse, you should update the Python path at this point. See: Eclipse-Dev-Environment

Note: The default working directory is ~/.volttron. The default directory for creation of agent packages is ~/.volttron/packaged

To test agent deployment and messaging, build and deploy ListenerAgent. From the volttron directory:

# Activate the terminal
source env/bin/activate

# Package the agent
volttron-pkg package examples/ListenerAgent

# Set the agent's configuration file
volttron-pkg configure ~/.volttron/packaged/listeneragent-3.2-py2-none-any.whl examples/ListenerAgent/config

# Install the agent (volttron must be running):
volttron-ctl install ~/.volttron/packaged/listeneragent-3.2-py2-none-any.whl

# Start the agent:
volttron-ctl start --name listeneragent-3.2

# Verify the agent has started
volttron-ctl status

# Note the uuid
# Check that Listener is publishing heartbeat message:
cat volttron.log

# Stop the agent
volttron-ctl stop --name listeneragent-3.2

# -- or --
volttron-ctl stop <uuid>

Next Steps

Now that the project is configured correctly, see the following links for agent development:

Agent Development

VOLTTRON Development in Eclipse