Toolchain Container Images

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DH electronics provides Docker images with preinstalled toolchains.

Introduction

For cross developing of applications we provide Docker container images with preinstalled toolchains. These are made for use by the VM for Application Development. You need to have Docker installed (How to install Docker), in our VM starting with Stretch Vxx Docker is preinstalled and preconfigured. The container images are available Docker Hub.

Note: For userspace application development, we recommend using the ELBE/Yocto-SDK which came with your root filesystem. This is because the SDKs comes with all needed development headers and libraries for its respective root filesystem.

Available Toolchains

Images with native Debian GCC toolchain

At the Docker repository dhelectronics/debian-build-essential images with the standard native GCC toolchain of Debian are located.

The images are based on the Debian (slim-varaiant) image with cmake, ccache, curl, bc, lzop, xz-utils and jq additionally installed. The Debian GCC toolchain is installed via the package debian-build-essential.

Tags consists of a combination of the used version of Debian and the architecture of the image (e.g. buster-amd64). Currently there is any combination of the Debian versions jessie, stretch and buster with the architectures amd64, arm32v5 and arm32v7 is possible. Note that Docker uses another names for distinguishing the different architectures of ARM processors: arm32v5 corresponds to Debian's armel while arm32v7 corresponds to Debian's armhf architecture.

You can use QEMU's user mode emulation for running the ARM-containers on an amd64-machine, the resulting software of a build still runs on the respective ARM architecture. To use this you have to install the packages binfmt-support and qemu-user-static on the host. To activate this for the container:

  • If your host is on Debian stretch or earlier, you have to include the usermode emulator into the container at the start of your container. This can be done with a bind mount. Add the option --mount type=bind,src=/usr/bin/qemu-arm-static,dst=/usr/bin/qemu-arm-static to the run command of the container.
  • If your host is on Debian buster or later, this works automaticly. You don't have to alter the run command of the container.

Note that running a conatiner on emulated hardware affects the performance of the compiler. Tests have indicated that building the Linux kernel with one thread on the native armhf compiler running on an amd64 machine with emulation is about 9 times slower than building the same kernel with one thread on the same machine via a crossbuild compiler.

For easing the use with the symlink-wrapper script, aliases for make and cmake are created: make-container and cmake-container. These can be used at the symlink-script as additional symlinks which won't collide with the host system's make and cmake so that the complete build can run inside one container.

Images with Debian crossbuild GCC toolchain

At the Docker repository dhelectronics/debian-cross-build-essential images with the Debian GCC toolchain for crosscompiling are located.

All images are based on the debian images (slim varaiant) and run on an amd64 host. The standard Debian crossbuild toolchain is used. This toolchain is installed via the package crossbuild-essentail-armhf. The packages bc, bison, build-essential, ca-certificates, ccache, cmake, curl, flex, git, jq, ketchup, libssl-dev, lzop and xz-utils additionally installed, so that the images are suited to build the Linux kernel.

The tags have the schema DIST-ARCH:

  • DIST: Determines which debian version the container image is based on.
  • ARCH: Determines which the architecture for which the cross toolchain builds. Note that the architecture names of Docker are used as an example Debian's armhf corresponds to arm32v7.

For easing the use with the symlink-wrapper script, aliases for make and cmake are created: make-cross and cmake-cross. These can be used at the symlink-script as additional symlinks which won't collide with the host system's make and cmake so that the complete build can run inside one container.

Images with Linaro/ARM toolchain

At the Docker repository dhelectronics/linaro-cross-build images with the Linaro/ARM GCC toolchain for crosscompiling are located.

These images use the toolchain of Linaro (up to GCC 7) or ARM (beginning with GCC 8) and uses the debian-slim image as a basis for this image. The toolchain is installed inside /opt and the PATH-variable is extened to include the directory with the binaries of the toolchain. The packages bc, bison, build-essential, ca-certificates, ccache, cmake, curl, flex, git, jq, ketchup, libssl-dev, lzop and xz-utils additionally installed, so that the images are suited to build the Linux kernel.

The tags have the schema DIST-ARCH-VERSION:

  • DIST: Determines which debian version the container image is based on.
  • ARCH: Determines which the architecture for which the cross toolchain builds. Note that the architecture names of Docker are used as an example Debian's `armhf` corresponds to arm32v7.
  • VERSION: Determines which version of the toolchain is used. There are two kinds of versions: X.Y\[.Z\]-yyyy.mm does explictly point to a specific version of the toolchain. X points to the latest version of the major version of the toolchain, of which a image is existing. It is possible that some versions of the toolchain are skipped.

For easing the use with the symlink-wrapper script, aliases for make and cmake are created: make-cross and cmake-cross. These can be used at the symlink-script as additional symlinks which won't collide with the host system's make and cmake so that the complete build can run inside one container.

Using the containers

Open console inside the container

You can start the container with the current work directory mounted into the container:

$ docker run -it --rm --mount type=bind,src=$(pwd)/,dst=$(pwd) --workdir $(pwd) --user $(id -u):$(id -g) dhelectronics/linaro-cross-build:buster-arm32v7-8.3-2019.03

After the container has started a console is open, now you can run any command to build the application (e.g. make all). When the build is finished, you can quit the console with CTRL+D.

Call the buildsystem at container start

Alternativly you can call the build command directly at the run command of the container:

$ docker run -it --rm --mount type=bind,src=$(pwd)/,dst=$(pwd) --workdir $(pwd) --user $(id -u):$(id -g) dhelectronics/linaro-cross-build:stretch-arm32v7-6.3.1-2017.05 make all

Use the symlink wrapper

We created a python script called docker-symlink-wrapper.py (Not yet downloadable). This script can create symlinks which point to a container. Technicly, these symlinks point to the script. If the script called over a symlink, it looks up which container should be called. This container is then started with the name of the symlink as command to execute. All arguments are passed to the container, If something is piped into STDIN, it is passed into the container, too. It is possible to set the tag of the container image which should be started.

This example uses the linaro-cross-build-toolchain, what the commands are doing exactly, look at the documentation of the symlink wrapper.

To create the symlinks, you need a JSON file which defines the needed things about the container images:

{
    "symlinks":[
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-as",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-ld",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-ar",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-nm",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-strip",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-objcopy",
        "arm-linux-gnueabihf-objdump",
        "make-cross",
        "cmake-cross"
    ],
    "registry":"",
    "image":"dhelectronics/linaro-cross-build",
    "tag":"buster-arm32v7-8",
    "installpath":"/usr/local/bin"
}

Then you can call the symlink script with superuser privileges to create the symlinks:

sudo docker-symlink-wrapper.py install cross-build install.json

Now the symlinks are installed and every call to arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc and the other symlinks will go into the container. Note that when calling a symlink only the current working directory is mounted into the container! If you want to compile a file, you have to be inside the directory of the file or one of its parent directories.

To get the list of available versions of the toolchain you can use the following command:

docker-symlink-wrapper.py list-versions cross-build

To set the tag (= version of the toolchain) of the container, there is a command. As an example if you want to use version 6.3.1-2017.05 of the Linaro toolchain (based on Debian stretch):

sudo docker-symlink-wrapper.py set-version cross-build stretch-arm32v7-6.3.1-2017.05

Remove images which aren't needed anymore

If you want to delete a container image which you do not need anymore you can enter:

docker image rm <imagename+tag>

If you download a newer version of an image, the old version won't be automaticly removed, the old image won't be accessible by its name and tag. This kind of image is called "dangling image". To remove all dangling images (so they won't take any space on disk) you can enter

docker image prune

Extend the container with libraries

Note: If you only need libraries which came on your root filesystem, we recommend using the ELBE/Yocto-SDK which came with this root filesystem. In the SDK the corresponding headers and libraries are already preinstalled.

Create a modified container image

You can a new container image which includes the needed library. For this you need to create a new Dockerfile inside an empty container. Here is an example Dockerfile to include the C/C++ libraries of mosquitto (MQTT-broker/client) into the debian-build-essential image:

FROM dhelectronics/debian-build-essential:buster-arm32v7
RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y --no-install-recommends libmosquitto-dev libmosquittopp-dev 

Now you can create the new container image with:

docker build -t your-custom-image:latest .

After that the container can be started like any other container. If you want to use the symlink script, you have to create your own JSON file to create the symlinks. The symlinks of the normal debian-build-essential container images have to be removed because they would collide with each other (unless you install the symlinks into another directory but then the symlink which comes first inside the PATH enviornmental variable will be prefered over the other which can cause unwanted behavior).

Install libraries at runtime

When you run a console inside the container, you can run apt to install addional libraries. Note that when the container is removed, any changes to the container are lost.

Include libraries and headers into your project folder

You can include needed libraries and headers into a sub directory of your project directory which is mounted into the container. So you do not need to modify the image or the container at runtime.