NI-VISA for Linux/x86 64-bit Architecture, Version 21.0 Readme

October 2021

This file contains late breaking news about NI-VISA 21.0 for Linux and supersedes any information found in other documentation included in the distribution.

Refer to for the most recent information about Linux support at National Instruments.

Refer to the NI-VISA release notes for known issues, bugs fixed since the last release, and other release details.

System Requirements

NI-VISA 21.0 for Linux has been tested on the following distributions:

  • openSUSE Leap 15.2
  • openSUSE Leap 15.1
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7
  • CentOS 8
  • CentOS 7
  • Ubuntu 20.04
  • Ubuntu 18.04

NI-VISA 21.0 for Linux requires a 64-bit distribution and does not support 32-bit applications.

Supported Hardware

NI-VISA for Linux supports the following resource types and utilities:

  • GPIB
  • Serial
  • Remote Client
  • Remote Server
  • ENET Serial
  • USB
  • VISA Interactive Control
  • NI I/O Trace

NI-VISA 21.0 supports the 64-bit LabVIEW application development environment:

  • LabVIEW 2018
  • LabVIEW 2019
  • LabVIEW 2020
  • LabVIEW 2021


NI provides a repository add-on for all supported drivers that you can install using your Linux distribution's native package manager.

  1. Visit and enter the Info Code LinuxRepository.
  2. Download the installer for the repository add-on for your Linux distribution.
  3. Install the repository add-on using the rpm command.
  4. Select and install the following NI-VISA driver packages through your Linux distribution's package manager:
    • ni-visa
  5. For LabVIEW support, select and install the driver package that corresponds to your version of LabVIEW:
    • ni-switch-labview-2018-support
    • ni-switch-labview-2019-support
    • ni-switch-labview-2020-support
    • ni-switch-labview-2021-support

After the driver package(s) are installed, you must rebuild the new packages for the system kernel. NI recommends that you run the command 'dkms autoinstall' after installation, and before rebooting the system, to install the latest revision of all modules that have been installed for other kernel revisions. After doing so, the installed device drivers will function immediately on the next system start.


This release includes examples showing the use of NI-VISA in C and LabVIEW.

C examples are located in /usr/share/niswitch-devel/examples. Make files are provided that link to the necessary libraries.

The LabVIEW examples are located in the LabVIEW examples directory.

Linux Limitations

NI-VISA 21.0 for Linux does not support 32-bit versions of LabVIEW.

The VISA user must have write access to the file that represents the USB device, which is typically somewhere in a subdirectory within /dev/bus/usb. If this is not the case, the USB device is not accessible by VISA (it will not be found using viFindRsrc and viOpen will fail). The default configuration on most systems is that the 'root' user has write access; however, no other user has this access.

There are a number of options that you can take to provide a non-root user access to a USB device.

  1. Use udev rules. By default, NI-VISA installs scripts to give all users write access to all USB TMC devices and a framework for USB RAW devices. To add write permissions for a specific USB RAW device, run the included script:
    For more information about udev, please visit:
  2. The root user may add write permissions to the file that represents the USB device which is typically somewhere in a subdirectory within /dev/bus/usb. Unfortunately, these permissions will be lost if the device is unplugged and then plugged back in. Because of this, this approach is not recommended.

Legal Information


(c) 2020–2021 National Instruments Corporation. All rights reserved.

This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, storing in an information retrieval system, or translating, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of National Instruments Corporation.

NI respects the intellectual property of others, and we ask our users to do the same. NI software is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Where NI software may be used to reproduce software or other materials belonging to others, you may use NI software only to reproduce materials that you may reproduce in accordance with the terms of any applicable license or other legal restriction.

End-User License Agreements and Third-Party Legal Notices

Notices are located in the /usr/local/vxipnp/share/nivisa directory. EULAs are located in the /usr/share/ni/licenses directory

U.S. Government Restricted Rights

If you are an agency, department, or other entity of the United States Government ("Government"), the use, duplication, reproduction, release, modification, disclosure or transfer of the technical data included in this manual is governed by the Restricted Rights provisions under Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.227-14 for civilian agencies and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement Section 252.227-7014 and 252.227-7015 for military agencies.

IVI Foundation Copyright Notice

Content from the IVI specifications reproduced with permission from the IVI Foundation.

The IVI Foundation and its member companies make no warranty of any kind with regard to this material, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The IVI Foundation and its member companies shall not be liable for errors contained herein or for incidental or consequential damages in connection with the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.


Refer to the NI Trademarks and Logo Guidelines at for information on NI trademarks. Other product and company names mentioned herein are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.


For patents covering the NI products/technology, refer to the NI Patent Notice at