Setting Up a Development Environment

Navigate to the root GRR directory (or clone the repository if you have not done it yet):

git clone
cd grr/

Virtual environment

We strongly recommend setting up a Python virtual environment for the development in order to prevent your everyday environment from being corrupted with a work-in-progress code. If you are feeling adventurous you might omit all the steps related to the virtual environment.

Make sure that you have virtualenv installed. It should be available in repositories of all popular Linux distributions. For example, to install it on Ubuntu-based distros simply run:

sudo apt install virtualenv

To create a virtual environment you just execute the virtualenv $DIR command where $DIR is the directory where you want it to be placed. The rest of the manual will assume that the environment is created in ~/.virtualenv/GRR like this:

virtualenv ~/.virtualenv/GRR

After creating the environment you have to activate it:

source ~/.virtualenv/GRR/bin/activate

It is also advised to make sure that we are running a recent version of pip:

pip install --upgrade pip

For more information about creating and managing your virtual environments refer to the virtualenv documentation.

Node.js environment

Because GRR offers a user interface component it also needs some JavaScript code to be built with Node.js. Fortunately, this can be done with pip inside our virtual environment so that your system remains uncluttered.

To install Node.js simply do:

pip install nodeenv
nodeenv -p --prebuilt

Because the nodeenv command modifies our virtual environment, we also need to reinitialize it with:

source ~/.virtalenv/GRR

Installing GRR packages

GRR is split into multiple packages. For the development we recommend installing all components. Assuming that you are in the root GRR directory run the following commands:

pip install -e .
pip install -e ./grr/config/grr-response-server
pip install -e ./grr/config/grr-response-client
pip install -e ./grr/config/grr-response-test

The -e (or --editable) flag passed to pip makes sure that the packages are installed in a “development” mode and any changes you make in your working directory are directly reflected in your virtual environment, no reinstalling is required.

Note: Some prerequisites might be necessary as described in installing from released pip packages.


Now you are ready to start the GRR development. To make sure that everything is set-up correctly follow the testing guide.