Installing Software

Now that you are familiar with some of the features of the Linux operating system on PLCnext Control devices, lets see how you can extend the functionality of the controller by installing third-party software.

Those familiar with other Linux distributions will know about package managers like apt. Unfortunately neither apt nor any eqiuvalent package manager is available on PLCnext Control devices by default. PLCnext Control firmware does include dpkg, but it does not include a database of installed software, so dpkg cannot know if any dependencies listed in a .deb package have already been installed with the firmware.

Various users of PLCnext Control devices have documented their own procedure for adding a package mananger to PLCnext Control devices, including apt, ipkg and guix. None of these are entirely problem-free, so if you decide to try this yourself- proceed with caution.

The PLCnext Store

The recommended way to add packages to a PLCnext Control device is through the PLCnext Store. In order to install and use a package from the PLCnext Store:

  • The package you need must be available in the PLCnext Store.

  • The package must be installed and started from a web page, either remotely (at or on the controller's local web-based management page. Package installation from the PLCnext Store cannot currently be automated.

  • In most cases, in order to use a package from the PLCnext Store, the PLCnext Runtime must be running on your PLCnext Control device at all times.

To learn more about the PLCnext Store, visit the PLCnext Store Info Center.

OCI Containers

Containerised design has become popular in IT applications. OCI containers can also be run on PLCnext Control devices, using one of the following popular container engines:

Phoenix Contact has published a Getting Started guide for installing Balena and Docker on PLCnext Control devices.

Build It Yourself

  • Directly install a pre-built binary, if available. This must be built for a compatible architecture (e.g. armv7 32 bit).

  • Cross-compile an open-source project using a PLCnext Control SDK.