Setting up a Cross Development Environment on Debian GNU/Linux

Debian

W. Borgert

Debian

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts.

2002-11-10

Revision History
Revision 0.72004-08-29
Link to scratchbox, updated to current state of affairs.
Revision 0.62004-02-14
Mention bugs 222168 and 222562.
Revision 0.52004-01-11
Fixed linux-kernel-headers handling.
Revision 0.42003-12-15
Removed last patch, added script to build dummy patches.
Revision 0.3.12003-12-10
Added copyright, removed unnecessary patch.
Revision 0.32003-03-11
Update to current versions of toolchain-source and dpkg-cross, patch removed.
Revision 0.22002-11-10
Added example for use with glib-2.0 and some explanations.
Revision 0.12002-11-09
Initial version.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Preparations
Setting up binutils, libc and the compiler
binutils
libc
Creating dummy packages
gcc
A little test
Setting up additional cross development libraries
Install libraries
Try it out
Thanks

Introduction

Important

New developments: The way of setting up a cross development environment presented in this documented might be outdated soon. Look for scratchbox and their approach.

You have a new shiny GNU/Linux-based PDA? Or a new embedded controller board running a PowerPC processor? Now you want compile your favourite software for the gadget on your PC? Depending on the target and complexity of your software, this might be a difficult task to accomplish, but it can be relatively easy, if the target happens to be compatible with Debian GNU/Linux. You just need Debian and some of its tools, most importantly toolchain-source and dpkg-cross.

In this article, I will explain how to set up a cross development environment for the ARM platform including the use of libglib2.0. The ARM processor can be found in a number of embedded devices and PDAs, e.g. the Zaurus and the iPAQ.

Note

All packages and versions are related to Debian SID (a.k.a. stays in development, a.k.a. unstable). Things may change. I am working on the i386 platform, but I have the hope, that things are not entirely different on other platforms.

Note

I use the traditional # for the root prompt and $ for the non-root prompt.

Preparations

First, install toolchain-source and dpkg-cross. Because toolchain-source depends on dpkg-cross, the following command will do:

# apt-get install toolchain-source

The toolchain-source package contains the source code of the current gcc and binutils. Additionally, it provides commands assisting in building cross compilers and binutils.

Optionally, install the package toolchain-source-gdb, if you believe in debugging.

The dpkg-cross package is a tool for installing libraries and headers for cross compiling in special directories.

I had a problem with building gcc with autoconf version 2.54 ("configure.in:2118: /usr/bin/m4: ERROR: Recursion limit of 1024 exceeded, use -L<N> to change it"), so I recommend to:

# apt-get install autoconf2.13

For building the actual cross development packages, you will need fakeroot or a similar program. Because fakeroot will be used by default, just do this:

# apt-get install fakeroot

The only configuration, that is necessary now, is to change the crossbase in the file /etc/dpkg/cross-compile. The default value /usr/local should be changed:

crossbase = /usr

Setting up binutils, libc and the compiler

As root, add the user to the group src:

# adduser theuser src

binutils

Now unpack and build binutils and compilers.

$ cd /usr/src/; tpkg-make arm-linux

New directories binutils-arm-linux-2.15/ and gcc-arm-linux-3.4.1/ appear.

Adjust the user name in {binutils-arm-linux-2.15,gcc-arm-linux-3.4.1}/debian/{changelog,control}, if necessary. You might get an error when signing the package, if the user name is not correct. If you have to pass parameters to the configure or make process of binutils or make, change the files {binutils-arm-linux-2.15,gcc-arm-linux-3.4.1}/debian/rules. E.g. the default configuration builds only the C compiler, which is just what I want. The generation of the C++ compiler failed for me, because of compilation errors in the libstdc++-v3, but if want to try it, you have to add C++ support to the configuration options in gcc-arm-linux-3.4.1/debian/rules:

--enable-languages="c,c++"

Now do:

$ cd binutils-arm-linux-2.15/; debuild -uc -us

This will configure, compile and build the cross binutils. To build the compiler, you have to install the resulting package first:

# debi

libc

The compiler needs also the target system C library to build. This library can easily be installed using tpkg-install-libc.

# tpkg-install-libc arm-linux

This command will download the libraries for the arm-linux platform from the british Debian server ftp.debian.org, but the server can be changed via the environment variable TPKG_SERVER. The downloaded packages will automatically converted and installed by dpkg-cross. Fortunately, two little issues, bug #222168 (The linux-kernel-headers package requires a patch to dpkg-cross) and bug #222562 (tpkg-install-libc now requires linux-kernel-headers) have been fixed.

Creating dummy packages

The dependencies of libc6 and libc6-dev are already fulfilled by libc6-arm-cross and libc6-dev-arm-cross, the dependency libglib2.0-0 will be fulfilled anyway. That leaves pkg-config. A cross version of pkg-config does not make sense, because the only important thing is the output of the command itself. This depends on the contents of the .pc files. Therefore it is sufficient to create a dummy package that depends on pkg-config. Install the equivs package:

# apt-get install equivs

With this little script (just call it with your address and the target platform), you can build the dummy package:

#!/bin/sh

EMAIL='You <you@your.isp>'
TARGET=arm-cross

# long options not yet implemented
args=`getopt 'e:t:' $*`
for o
    do case "$o" in
        -e | --emai*) EMAIL="$2"; shift; shift;;
        -t | --targ*) TARGET="$2"; shift; shift;;
        --) shift; break;;
    esac
done

if [ -z "$1" ]; then echo "no package"; exit -1; fi

PACKAGE=$1
VERSION=`dpkg-query -W --showformat='${Version}' $PACKAGE | sed 's/-.*/-1/'`

echo "Section: devel
Priority: optional
Standards-Version: 3.6.1.0

Package: $PACKAGE-$TARGET
Version: $VERSION
Maintainer: $EMAIL
Depends: $PACKAGE
Architecture: all
Description: Dummy $PACKAGE for $TARGET" > $PACKAGE-$TARGET.$$

equivs-build $PACKAGE-$TARGET.$$ && rm -rf ./equivs/ $PACKAGE-$TARGET.$$
$ make-cross-dummy -e me@here.org -t arm-linux pkg-config

Alternatively, create the control file pkg-config-arm-linux manually:

Section: devel
Priority: optional
Standards-Version: 3.0.1

Package: pkg-config-arm-cross
Version: 0.15.0-2
Maintainer: You <you@there.org>
Depends: pkg-config
Architecture: all
Description: Dummy pkg-config for arm-linux
$ equivs-build pkg-config-arm-linux

Either way, you have to install the dummy package:

# dpkg -i pkg-config-arm-cross_0.15.0-2_all.deb

Similar actions are necessary for tools, that are not platform-dependent, such as bison, flex, indent.

gcc

Your have to

# apt-get install autoconf2.13 automake1.4 dejagnu libgmp3-dev

Now do:

$ cd ../gcc-arm-linux-3.4.1/
$ debuild -uc -us

Again, the package installs via:

# debi

Now you should have a perfect cross development environment:

$ dpkg -l "*arm-cross*" "*arm-linux*"
Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold
| Status=Not/Installed/Config-files/Unpacked/Failed-config/Half-installed
|/ Err?=(none)/Hold/Reinst-required/X=both-problems (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name           Version        Description
+++-==============-==============-============================================
ii  binutils-arm-l 2.13.90.0.4-1  Binary utilities for cross-developing for ar
ii  gcc-arm-linux  3.2-1          The GNU C compiler as cross compiler for arm
ii  libc6-arm-cros 2.2.5-14.3     GNU C Library: Shared libraries and Timezone
ii  libc6-dev-arm- 2.2.5-14.3     GNU C Library: Development Libraries and Hea
ii  libdb1-compat- 2.1.3-7        The Berkeley database routines [glibc 2.0/2.

A little test

You may test the newly installed environment by unpacking a simple, but famous program:

$ cd /usr/src/
$ apt-get source hello
$ cd hello-2.1.1
$ CC=/usr/bin/arm-linux-gcc ./configure --host=arm-linux
$ make -k

Don't get fooled by the fact that the last step of the build process will produce one error. The build process of hello is not completely cross compile enabled. The manual page can only build after a native compile. Just don't care:

$ file ./src/hello
./src/hello: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, ARM, version 1 (ARM), for GNU/Linux
2.2.0, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), not stripped

Copy the binary to your target system and enjoy the friendly greeting.

Setting up additional cross development libraries

There are not many programs a user really wants without the need for more library dependencies than just the standard C library. A typical additional library is glib2 which is used by GTK+ and GNOME.

Before you can start with the library, you have to analyse its dependencies:

$ apt-cache show libglib2.0-0|grep ^Depends:
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.3.1-1)
$apt-cache show libglib2.0-dev|grep ^Depends:
Depends: libglib2.0-0 (= 2.0.7-1), libc6-dev | libc-dev, pkg-config

The dependency on pkg-config-arm-cross can be fulfilled by a dummy package (see above). The output of pkg-config depends only on the contents of the .pc files.

Install libraries

Try to install libglib2.0-0 and libglib2-dev:

# tpkg-install-libc arm-linux 'libglib2.0-0$ libglib2-dev$'

The dollar signs are necessary for the tool as are the single quotes.

The cross compilation environment should now be complete:

$ dpkg -l "*arm-cross*" "*arm-linux*"
Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold
| Status=Not/Installed/Config-files/Unpacked/Failed-config/Half-installed
|/ Err?=(none)/Hold/Reinst-required/X=both-problems (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name           Version        Description
+++-==============-==============-============================================
ii  binutils-arm-l 2.13.90.0.4-1  Binary utilities for cross-developing for ar
ii  gcc-arm-linux  3.2-1          The GNU C compiler as cross compiler for arm
ii  libc6-arm-cros 2.2.5-14.3     GNU C Library: Shared libraries and Timezone
ii  libc6-dev-arm- 2.2.5-14.3     GNU C Library: Development Libraries and Hea
ii  libdb1-compat- 2.1.3-7        The Berkeley database routines [glibc 2.0/2.
ii  libglib2.0-0-a 2.0.6-1        The GLib library of C routines (for cross co
ii  libglib2.0-dev 2.0.6-1        Development files for the GLib library (for 
ii  pkg-config-arm 0.14.0-1       Dummy pkg-config for arm-linux

Try it out

You can see the CFLAGS for cross compilation easily:

$ PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/arm-linux/lib/pkgconfig pkg-config --cflags glib-2.0
-I/usr/arm-linux/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/arm-linux/lib/glib-2.0/include

For packages, that come with a simple Makefile, use CC and CFLAGS=`pkg-config --cflags glib-2.0` etc., compilation is straight forward:

$ CC=/usr/bin/arm-linux-gcc \
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/arm-linux/lib/pkgconfig make

For packages based on autoconf, it should be easy as well:

$ CC=/usr/bin/arm-linux-gcc \
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/arm-linux/lib/pkgconfig ./configure; make

Unfortunately, not all packages are build in a way, that supports cross compilation. For these packages, you should fix the build process and send patches to the packages authors.

Thanks

To Roman Hodek for dpkg-cross, to Jeremy Nimmer and John Zaitseff for patches to dpkg-cross, and to Hakan Ardo for toolchain-source and his help.