Difference between revisions of "Cross-compiling tools package guidelines"

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(Added outdated tag and hint to use crosstool-ng.)
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[[Category: Package development (English)]]
[[Category:Package development]]
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Revision as of 11:36, 23 April 2012

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Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:Cross-compiling tools package guidelines#)


The idea of creating cross compiling tools packages seems to be abandoned. You could however use crosstool-ng and complile you own toolchain easily. crosstool-ng can be find on AUR.


This page describes a proposal, not an accepted approach!

Building a Cross Compiler

The general approach to building a cross compiler is:

  1. binutils: Build a cross-binutils, which links and processes for the target architecture
  2. headers: Install a set of C library and kernel headers for the target architecture
  3. gcc-stage-1: Build a basic (stage 1) gcc cross-compiler. This will be used to compile the C library. It will be unable to build anything almost else (because it can't link against the C library it doesn't have).
  4. libc: Build the cross-compiled C library (using the stage 1 cross compiler).
  5. gcc-stage-2: Build a full (stage 2) C cross-compiler. Can be built

The source of the headers and libc will vary across platforms.

Package Naming

The package name shall be prefixed with the word cross-, followed by architecture name and the package name itself shall come at the end.

Thus, cross GCC for MIPS shall be cross-mips-gcc.

File Placement

To prevent file conflicts, place everything into /usr/lib/cross-<target>. The only exception to this rule are executables, that shall be placed directly into /usr/bin/ (however, to prevent conflicts here, prefix all of them with architecture name).

Typically, ./configure would have at least following parameters:

_target=<your-target> # e.g. i686-pc-mingw32
./configure \
    --prefix=${_sysroot} --sysroot=${_sysroot} \


This is PKGBUILD for binutils for MinGW. Things worth noticing are:

  • specifying root directory of the cross-environment
  • usage of ${_pkgname}, ${_target} and ${_sysroot} variables to make the code more readable
  • removal of the duplicated/conflicting files
# Maintainer: Allan McRae <allan@archlinux.org>

# cross toolchain build order: binutils, headers, gcc (pass 1), w32api, mingwrt, gcc (pass 2)


pkgdesc="MinGW Windows binutils"
arch=('i686' 'x86_64')
depends=('glibc>=2.10.1' 'zlib')
options=('!libtool' '!distcc' '!ccache')

build() {
  cd ${srcdir}/${_pkgname}-${pkgver}
  mkdir build && cd build

  ../configure --prefix=${_sysroot} --bindir=/usr/bin \
    --with-sysroot=${_sysroot} \
    --build=$CHOST --host=$CHOST --target=${_target} \
    --with-gcc --with-gnu-as --with-gnu-ld \
    --enable-shared --without-included-gettext \
    --disable-nls --disable-debug --disable-win32-registry
  make || return 1
  make DESTDIR=${pkgdir}/ install || return 1
  # clean-up cross compiler root
  rm -r ${pkgdir}/${_sysroot}/{info,man}

Hows and whys

Why not installing into /opt? There would be no need for fooling around with non-standard executable naming etc.?

Two reasons:
First, according to File Hierarchy Standard, these files just belong somewhere to /usr. Period.
Second, installing into /opt is a last measure when there is no other option.

What is that out-of-path executables thing?

This weird thing allows easier cross-compiling. Sometimes, project Makefiles do not use CC & co. variables and instead use gcc directly. If you just want to try to cross-compile such project, editing the Makefile could be a very lengthy operation. However, changing the $PATH to use "our" executables first is a very quick solution.
You would then run PATH=/usr/bin/cross/arch/:$PATH make instead of make.