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about:toolchain [2013/07/03 15:46]
about:toolchain [2015/09/17 20:27] (current)
florian Renamed buildroot to build system, since Buildroot developers were getting bogus support request because of the confusion
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 +====== OpenWrt'​s build system – About ======
 +
 +The **OpenWrt build system** is a set of [[wp>​Make_(software)#​Makefiles|Makefiles]] and [[wp>​Patch_(computing)|patches ]]that allows users to easily generate both a [[wp>​Cross_compiler|cross-compilation]] [[wp>​Toolchain|toolchain]] and a [[http://​gnulinux.in/​forum/​what-root-file-system|root filesystem]] for [[wp>​Embedded_system|embedded systems]]. The cross-compilation toolchain uses [[wp>​musl|musl]],​ a tiny [[wp>​C_standard_library|C standard library]].
 +
 +A compilation toolchain is the set of tools used to compile code for your system. ​
 +It consists of:
 +  * a compiler (in our case, ''​[[wp>​GNU Compiler Collection|gcc]]''​ / [[http://​packages.debian.org/​wheezy/​gcc|deb:​ gcc]])
 +  * binary utils like assembler and linker (in our case, ''​[[wp>​GNU Binutils|binutils]]''​ / [[http://​packages.debian.org/​wheezy/​binutils|deb:​ binutils]] ) 
 +  * a [[wp>C standard library]] (for example GNU Libc, musl-libc, uClibc or dietlibc). ​
 +
 +Using a PC, the compilation toolchain runs on an [[wp>​x86]] processor and generates code for a x86 processor. On most Linux systems, the compilation toolchain uses the [[wp>​GNU_C_Library|GNU libc]] as C standard library. It is called the "host compilation toolchain",​ and the machine it is running on is called the "host system"​. The compilation toolchain is provided by the distribution,​ and has nothing to do with the OpenWrt build system.
 +
 +Embedded systems use a different processor and require a cross-compilation toolchain - a compilation toolchain that runs on a host system but that generates code for a target system (and target [[doc:​hardware:​cpu|processor]]'​s instruction set architecture (ISA)). For example, if your host system uses x86 and your target system uses MIPS32, the regular compilation toolchain of your host runs on x86 and generates code for x86, while the cross-compilation toolchain runs on x86 and generates code for MIPS32.
 +
 +While it is possible to manually configure and compile your own software, OpenWrt'​s build system automates this process to work on the instruction set architecture of most embedded systems.
 +
 +While the OpenWrt'​s build system was designed for developers, inexperienced users can also use it to easily build their own custom firmware!
 +
 +The OpenWrt Makefile has its own syntax, different from the conventional Makefile of Linux make tool. The OpenWrt Makefile defines the meta information of the package, where to download the package, how to compile, where to install the compiled binaries, etc. See How to Build OpenWrt Application Package for more detail.
 +
 +===== OpenWrt build system – Features =====
 +  * Makes it easy to port software
 +  * Uses kconfig (Linux Kernel menuconfig) for configuration of features
 +  * Provides integrated cross-compiler toolchain (gcc, ld, ...)
 +  * Provides abstraction for autotools (automake, autoconf), cmake, scons
 +  * Handles standard download, patch, configure, compile and packaging workflow
 +  * Provides a number of common fixups for badly behaving packages
 +
 +===== OpenWrt build system – Make Targets =====
 +  * Offers a number of high level make targets for standard package workflows
 +  * Targets always in the format "​component/​name/​action",​ e.g. "​toolchain/​gdb/​compile"​ or "​package/​mtd/​install"​
 +  * Prepare a package source tree: package/​foo/​prepare
 +  * Compile a package: package/​foo/​compile
 +  * Clean a package: package/​foo/​clean
 +
 +===== OpenWrt build system – Build sequence =====
 +  - ''​tools''​ – automake, autoconf, sed, cmake
 +  - ''​toolchain/​binutils''​ – as, ld, ...
 +  - ''​toolchain/​gcc''​ – gcc, g++, cpp, ...
 +  - ''​target/​linux''​ – kernel modules
 +  - ''​package''​ – core and feed packages
 +  - ''​target/​linux''​ – kernel image
 +  - ''​target/​linux/​image''​ – firmware image file generation
 +
 +===== Patch management =====
 +  * Many packages will not work as-is and need patches to work on the target or to even compile
 +  * OpenWrt build system integrates [[wp>​Quilt (software)|quilt]] for easy patch management
 +  * Turn package patches into quilt series: make package/​foo/​prepare QUILT=1
 +  * Update patches from modified series: make package/​foo/​update
 +  * Automatically rebase patches after an update: make package/​foo/​refresh
 +
 +===== Packaging considerations =====
 +  * Main objective is small memory and size footprint
 +  * Features that make no sense on embedded systems get disabled through configure or are patched out
 +  * Packages must be compilable regardless of the host system, should be self contained
 +  * Shipped "​configure"​ scripts are often faulty or unusable in a cross-compile setting, autoreconf or patching needed
 +  * Build variants and kconfig includes allow for configurable compile-time settings
 +  * There is no standard way for porting software, in many cases it "just works" but often the package build process needs tweaks
 +===== Documentation =====
 +  - [[about:​toolchain|OpenWrt build system – About]]
 +  - [[doc:​howto:​buildroot.exigence|OpenWrt build system – Installation]]
 +  - [[doc:​howto:​build|OpenWrt build system – Usage]]
 +  - [[doc:​devel:​patches|OpenWrt build system – Patches]]
 +
 +
 +===== History =====
 +  * [[https://​dev.openwrt.org/​search?​changeset=on&​q=buildroot-ng|commits concerning OpenWrt build system]]
 +  * [[https://​forum.openwrt.org/​viewtopic.php?​pid=31794#​p31794|OpenWrt Forums: An introduction to OpenWrt Buildroot]]