Mer/Build/Cross Build

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The OBS build farm and local osc builds create an armel chroot to build the packages in. arm tools are installed into the chroot and run under emulation.

Using distribution tools rather than a toolchain provides a more consistent build system.

The problem is that this approach is slow.

The OBS engineers identified the applications that represented the greatest load on the build system:

  • bash
  • bzip2
  • dpkg
  • gzip
  • m4
  • make
  • perl

And of course:

  • gcc

So the intention is to accelerate these binaries.

[edit] Overview

Lets establish a naming convention: native is the architecture of the chroot; host is the architecture of the underlying CPU. Typically native is armel, host is x86.

The approach to solving this problem is to minimise changes from a pure arm build environment. This is achieved by installing both arm and x86 packages; to avoid collisions the x86 packages are installed into /lib-x86 in the chroot and selected binaries in /bin and /usr/bin are moved out of the way and replaced with symlinks to the i586 binaries.

Many x86 packages are unmodified; any paths they use will relate to the main / directory and the config/data files installed by the native package will be used.

Some packages are modified to minimise build times - eg to avoid 64 bit builds; others are modified (eg dpkg) to set the native architecture as a default.

[edit] Shared Libraries

Obviously the host binaries need to link to shared libraries which are not in the normal LDPATH. We don't want to have to rely on environment variables etc so 2 steps are used:

  • modify to look in /lib-x86/lib etc
  • modify the rpath value in the ELF header of each replaced binary

This is done by creating a static build of patchelf and modifying the binaries as they are installed.

Typically a modified package has all postinst scripts removed and replaced with something like:

$prefix/usr/bin/patchelf --set-rpath $prefix/lib $prefix/usr/bin/make
mv /usr/bin/make /usr/bin/make-orig-x86lib
ln -s $prefix/usr/bin/make /usr/bin/make

Note that some libraries have an rpath and need to be treated with patchelf.

One problem arises with fakeroot: it modifies the LD_LIBRARY_PATH to look for This is handled by editing the fakeroot script to append the /lib-x86/ paths in the same way the multi-arch paths are added.

[edit] mkbaselibs