The design architecture of the software GPS (global positioning system) receiver in accordance with the current development level of the involved hardware technology was proposed, in order to develop the software radio technology application to designing and performing the GPS receiver. The requirements of the signal acquisition algorithm for the software GPS receiver were analyzed. The circular correlation algorithm was presented and employed as the signal acquisition algorithm, which was more suitable for the software GPS receiver compared to the conventional approaches for the traditional GPS receivers. The corresponding signal acquisition program was implemented in the Matlab simulation environment. The GPS satellite C/A-code signal collected data was used to test the implemented acquisition algorithm. The primary test results show that this acquisition algorithm can provide the software GPS receiver with fast signal acquisition performance without sacrificing signal detection sensitivity; i.e. it is a suitable and efficient acquisition algorithm for the software GPS receiver.