Importing Linux Kernel Code to VS Code

1 minute read


In this post I’ll take you to import kernel code to VS Code for a nice code viewing and developing experience. You can say goodbye to CLion which eats your memory without mercy. This tutorial will be based on the Android-x86 source tree which contains Linux kernel almost identical to the upstream kernel.

  • The first step is installing VS Code of course. I’ll simply skip this step for any experienced developers.
  • Now search and install the C/C++ Extension in VS Code’s extension market.
  • Build the kernel before you do anything else.
  • Use a magical script named in the kernel/script file. If it does not exist, you can find it in the upstream Linux kernel repository (
  • Run the command by python -d ${path-to-kernel-build-directory}. In the case of Android-x86, the corresponding kernel build path is out/target/product/{x86_64}/obj/kernel ({} denotes that this name can vary depending on your chosen build target).
  • After that you can find you compile_commands.json in the kernel build path.
  • Now go back to VS Code and enter Ctrl+Shift+P to initiate command execution.
  • Enter >C/C++: Edit Configurations (UI) (you should get prompted even if you have not finished the command).
  • Now open Advanced Settings and find the Compile commands setting.
  • Enter the path to your compile_commands.json and you are good to go! Enjoy your VS Code journey.