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How To Cross-Compile Clang/LLVM using Clang/LLVM
This document contains information about building LLVM and
Clang on host machine, targeting another platform.
For more information on how to use Clang as a cross-compiler,
please check
TODO: Add MIPS and other platforms to this document.
Cross-Compiling from x86_64 to ARM
In this use case, we'll be using CMake and Ninja, on a Debian-based Linux
system, cross-compiling from an x86_64 host (most Intel and AMD chips
nowadays) to a hard-float ARM target (most ARM targets nowadays).
The packages you'll need are:
* ``cmake``
* ``ninja-build`` (from backports in Ubuntu)
* ``gcc-4.7-arm-linux-gnueabihf``
* ``gcc-4.7-multilib-arm-linux-gnueabihf``
* ``binutils-arm-linux-gnueabihf``
* ``libgcc1-armhf-cross``
* ``libsfgcc1-armhf-cross``
* ``libstdc++6-armhf-cross``
* ``libstdc++6-4.7-dev-armhf-cross``
Configuring CMake
For more information on how to configure CMake for LLVM/Clang,
see :doc:`CMake`.
The CMake options you need to add are:
* ``-DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<install-dir>``
* ``-DLLVM_TABLEGEN=<path-to-host-bin>/llvm-tblgen``
* ``-DCLANG_TABLEGEN=<path-to-host-bin>/clang-tblgen``
* ``-DLLVM_DEFAULT_TARGET_TRIPLE=arm-linux-gnueabihf``
* ``-DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS='-target armv7a-linux-gnueabihf -mcpu=cortex-a9 -I/usr/arm-linux-gnueabihf/include/c++/4.7.2/arm-linux-gnueabihf/ -I/usr/arm-linux-gnueabihf/include/ -mfloat-abi=hard -ccc-gcc-name arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc'``
The TableGen options are required to compile it with the host compiler,
so you'll need to compile LLVM (or at least ``llvm-tblgen``) to your host
platform before you start. The CXX flags define the target, cpu (which
defaults to ``fpu=VFP3`` with NEON), and forcing the hard-float ABI. If you're
using Clang as a cross-compiler, you will *also* have to set ``-ccc-gcc-name``,
to make sure it picks the correct linker.
Most of the time, what you want is to have a native compiler to the
platform itself, but not others. It might not even be feasible to
produce x86 binaries from ARM targets, so there's no point in compiling
all back-ends. For that reason, you should also set the
``TARGETS_TO_BUILD`` to only build the ARM back-end.
You must set the ``CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX``, otherwise a ``ninja install``
will copy ARM binaries to your root filesystem, which is not what you
There are some bugs in current LLVM, which require some fiddling before
running CMake:
#. If you're using Clang as the cross-compiler, there is a problem in
the LLVM ARM back-end that is producing absolute relocations on
position-independent code (``R_ARM_THM_MOVW_ABS_NC``), so for now, you
should disable PIC:
.. code-block:: bash
This is not a problem, since Clang/LLVM libraries are statically
linked anyway, it shouldn't affect much.
#. The ARM libraries won't be installed in your system, and possibly
not easily installable anyway, so you'll have to build/download
them separately. But the CMake prepare step, which checks for
dependencies, will check the *host* libraries, not the *target*
A quick way of getting the libraries is to download them from
a distribution repository, like Debian (,
and download the missing libraries. Note that the ``libXXX``
will have the shared objects (``.so``) and the ``libXXX-dev`` will
give you the headers and the static (``.a``) library. Just in
case, download both.
The ones you need for ARM are: ``libtinfo``, ``zlib1g``,
``libxml2`` and ``liblzma``. In the Debian repository you'll
find downloads for all architectures.
After you download and unpack all ``.deb`` packages, copy all
``.so`` and ``.a`` to a directory, make the appropriate
symbolic links (if necessary), and add the relevant ``-L``
and ``-I`` paths to ``-DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS`` above.
Running CMake and Building
Finally, if you're using your platform compiler, run:
.. code-block:: bash
$ cmake -G Ninja <source-dir> <options above>
If you're using Clang as the cross-compiler, run:
.. code-block:: bash
$ CC='clang' CXX='clang++' cmake -G Ninja <source-dir> <options above>
If you have ``clang``/``clang++`` on the path, it should just work, and special
Ninja files will be created in the build directory. I strongly suggest
you to run ``cmake`` on a separate build directory, *not* inside the
source tree.
To build, simply type:
.. code-block:: bash
$ ninja
It should automatically find out how many cores you have, what are
the rules that needs building and will build the whole thing.
You can't run ``ninja check-all`` on this tree because the created
binaries are targeted to ARM, not x86_64.
Installing and Using
After the LLVM/Clang has built successfully, you should install it
.. code-block:: bash
$ ninja install
which will create a sysroot on the install-dir. You can then tar
that directory into a binary with the full triple name (for easy
identification), like:
.. code-block:: bash
$ ln -sf <install-dir> arm-linux-gnueabihf-clang
$ tar zchf arm-linux-gnueabihf-clang.tar.gz arm-linux-gnueabihf-clang
If you copy that tarball to your target board, you'll be able to use
it for running the test-suite, for example. Follow the guidelines at, unpack the tarball in the
test directory, and use options:
.. code-block:: bash
$ ./sandbox/bin/python sandbox/bin/lnt runtest nt \
--sandbox sandbox \
--test-suite `pwd`/test-suite \
--cc `pwd`/arm-linux-gnueabihf-clang/bin/clang \
--cxx `pwd`/arm-linux-gnueabihf-clang/bin/clang++
Remember to add the ``-jN`` options to ``lnt`` to the number of CPUs
on your board. Also, the path to your clang has to be absolute, so
you'll need the `pwd` trick above.