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Note: This document is for an older version of GRASS GIS that will be discontinued soon. You should upgrade, and read the current manual page.


g.extension - Maintains GRASS Addons extensions in local GRASS installation.
Downloads and installs extensions from GRASS Addons repository or other source into the local GRASS installation or removes installed extensions.


general, installation, extensions, addons, download


g.extension --help
g.extension [-lcgasdiftoj] extension=name operation=string [url=url] [prefix=path] [proxy=proxy[,proxy,...]] [branch=branch] [--help] [--verbose] [--quiet] [--ui]


List available extensions in the official GRASS GIS Addons repository
List available extensions in the official GRASS GIS Addons repository including module description
List available extensions in the official GRASS GIS Addons repository (shell script style)
List locally installed extensions
Install system-wide (may need system administrator rights)
Download source code and exit
Do not install new extension, just compile it
Force removal when uninstalling extension (operation=remove)
Operate on toolboxes instead of single modules (experimental)
url refers to a fork of the official extension repository
Generates JSON file containing the download URLs of the official Addons
Print usage summary
Verbose module output
Quiet module output
Force launching GUI dialog


extension=name [required]
Name of extension to install or remove
Name of toolbox (set of extensions) when -t flag is given
operation=string [required]
Operation to be performed
Options: add, remove
Default: add
URL or directory to get the extension from (supported only on Linux and Mac)
The official repository is used by default. User can specify a ZIP file, directory or a repository on common hosting services. If not identified, Subversion repository is assumed. See manual for all options.
Prefix where to install extension (ignored when flag -s is given)
Set the proxy with: "http=<value>,ftp=<value>"
Specific branch to fetch addon from (only used when fetching from git)

Table of contents


g.extension downloads and installs, removes or updates extensions (addons) from the official GRASS GIS Addons repository or from user-specified source code repositories into the local GRASS GIS installation.

Two types of extensions are supported:

Managing installed extensions

Re-running g.extension on an installed GRASS GIS Addon extension re-installs the requested extension which may include updates.

To bulk-update all locally installed GRASS GIS extensions, g.extension.all module is available.

Where the extensions are installed

GRASS GIS extensions are installed by g.extension into a dedicated directory. The default is a directory for application data and settings inside the user's home directory. On GNU/Linux it is $HOME/.grass8/addons, on MS-Windows it is %APPDATA%\Roaming\GRASS8\addons. The name of the directory is stored in the GRASS_ADDON_BASE environmental variable.

The flag -s changes this install target directory to the GRASS GIS installation directory (determined by GISBASE environmental variable, e.g. /usr/) rather than the default directory defined as per GRASS_ADDON_BASE (see also documentation for variables). g.extension checks if the user has permission to write to GISBASE or GRASS_ADDON_BASE.

The place where the extensions are installed can be customized by the option prefix. Ensuring that these extensions will be accessible in GRASS GIS is in this case in the responsibility of the user.

Source code sources and repositories

GRASS GIS Addons repository on GitHub

By default, g.extension installs extensions from the official GRASS GIS Addons GitHub repository. However, different sources can be specified using the url option.

Individual extensions can also be installed by providing a URL to the source code on GitHub or OSGeo Trac. The latter, however, works only for certain directories where the download of ZIP files was enabled by project administrators of the trac server.

Local source code directory

Optionally, new extension can be also installed from a source code placed in a local directory on disk. This is advantageous when developing a new module. To keep the directory clean, the directory content is copied to a temporary directory and the compilation happens there.

Local source code ZIP file

In addition, new extension can be also installed from a ZIP file or an archive file from the TAR family (e.g., .tar.gz or .bz2). The file can be on disk (specified with a path), or on web (specified by an URL).

Online repositories: GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket

For well known general hosting services, namely GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket, g.extension supports the download of a repository as a ZIP file. Here the user only needs to provide a base URL to the repository web page (with or without the https:// part). For GitLab and Bitbucket, the latest source code in the default branch is downloaded, for GitHub, the latest source code in the master branch is downloaded. Of course, a user can still specify the full URL of a ZIP file and install a specific branch or release in this way (ZIP file mechanism will be applied).

For the official repository, g.extension supports listing available extensions (addons) and few other metadata-related operations which depend on a specific infrastructure. For other sources and repositories, this is not supported because it is assumed that other sources contain only one extension, typically a module or group of modules.

Needed directory layout

When none of the above sources is identified, g.extension assumes that the source is in a GitHub repository and uses the svn command line tool to obtain the source code. The expected structure of the repository should be the same as the one of the official repository.

Non-official sources are supported on all operating systems except for MS-Windows.

Compilation and installation

On MS-Windows systems, where compilation tools are typically not readily locally installed, g.extension downloads a precompiled executable from the GRASS GIS project server. On all other operating systems where it is not difficult to install compilation tools, g.extension downloads the source code of the requested extension (addon) and compiles it locally. This applies for both C and Python modules as well as any other extensions. The reason is that more things such as manual page are compiled, not only the source code (which is really necessary to compile just in case of C).


Download and install of an extension

Download and install into current GRASS installation
This installs the extension from the official repository. For convenience, a shorter syntax can be used:

Download and install of an extension when behind a proxy

Example for an open http proxy:
# syntax: http://proxyurl:proxyport
g.extension proxy="http="

Example for a proxy with proxy authentication:

# syntax: http://username:password@proxyurl:proxyport
g.extension proxy="http="

Managing the extensions

List all available extensions in the official GRASS GIS Addons repository:
g.extension -l
List all locally installed extensions:
g.extension -a
Removal of a locally installed extension:
g.extension operation=remove

Installing from various online repositories: GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket

Simple URL to GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket repositories:
g.extension url=""
Simple URL to GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket repositories from a specific (e.g. development) branch:
g.extension url="" branch=master
Simple URL to OSGeo Trac (downloads a ZIP file, requires download to be enabled in Trac):
g.extension r.example
In general, when a ZIP file or other archive is provided, the full URL can be used:
g.extension r.example url=
Note that because of MS-Windows operating system architecture, only official repository is supported on this platform.

Install a specific version from Addons

To install a specific version from GRASS GIS Addons, specify the full URL pointing to Trac code browser and include Subversion revision number. For example, this installs the version number 57854 of r.local.relief module:
g.extension r.local.relief url=""

Installing when writing a module locally

Having source code of a GRASS module in a directory on disk one can install it using:
g.extension r.example url=/local/directory/r.example/


Toolboxes in the official repository cannot be downloaded.

On MS-Windows, only the official repository is working because there is no way of compiling the modules (a Python replacement for Python scripts should be implemented).


Since extensions have to be compiled on Unix based systems (Linux, Mac OSX etc.) unless a Python extension is installed, a full compiler environment must be present on the user's computer.

ERROR: Please install GRASS development package

While GRASS GIS is available on the user's computer, the respective development package is lacking. If GRASS was installed from a (Linux) repository, also the grass-dev* package (commonly named "grass-dev" or "grass-devel", sometimes along with the version number) must be installed.



GRASS GIS 8 Addons Manual pages
GRASS Addons wiki page.


Markus Neteler (original shell script)
Martin Landa, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic (Python rewrite)
Vaclav Petras, NCSU OSGeoREL (support for general sources, partial refactoring)


Available at: g.extension source code (history)

Latest change: Thursday Sep 21 08:10:07 2023 in commit: 410837e710896a32c794c33fae805a3ffdf456d3

Note: This document is for an older version of GRASS GIS that will be discontinued soon. You should upgrade, and read the current manual page.

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