Using a prebuilt toolchain to create your packages

It might be necessary to integrate a prebuilt toolchain and other libraries but still be use OpenEmbedded to build packages. One of many approaches is shown and discussed here.

The toolchain

We assume the toolchain provides a C and C++ compiler, an assembler and other tools to build packages. The list below shows a gcc 3.4.4 toolchain for ARM architectures using glibc. We assume that the toolchain is in your PATH.

ls pre-built/cross/bin


The prebuilt libraries

We need the header files and the libraries itself. The following directory layout is assume. PRE_BUILT has two subdirectories one is called include and holds the header files and the other directory is called lib and holds the shared and static libraries. Additionally a Qt2 directory is present having a include and lib sub-directory.


Setting up OpenEmbedded

OpenEmbedded will be setup here. We assume that your machine and distribution is not part of OpenEmbedded and they will be created ad-hoc in the local.conf file. You will need to have BitBake and a current OpenEmbedded version available.

Sourcable script

To ease the usage of OpenEmbedded we start by creating a source-able script. This is actually a small variation from the already seen script. We will name it build_source and you will need to source it.

export PRE_BUILT=/where/is/pre-built

export OEDIR=$PWD
export LOCALDIR=$PWD/secret-isv

Use source build_source to source the script, use env to check that the variable where exported.

Creating the local.conf

We will configure OpenEmbedded now, it is very similar to what we have done above.

DL_DIR = "${OEDIR}/sources"
BBFILES := "${OEDIR}/openembedded/packages/*/*.bb ${LOCALDIR}/packages/*/*.bb"
BBFILE_COLLECTIONS = "upstream local"
BBFILE_PATTERN_upstream = "^${OEDIR}/openembedded/packages/"
BBFILE_PATTERN_local = "^${LOCALDIR}/packages/"
BBFILE_PRIORITY_upstream = "5"
BBFILE_PRIORITY_local = "10"

${OEDIR}/openembedded will be a upstream release of OpenEmbedded. Above we have assumed it is in the current working directory. Additionally we have a ${LOCALDIR}, we combine these two directories as a special BitBake Collection.

# machine stuff
MACHINE = "secret-killer"
PACKAGE_EXTRA_ARCHS = "armv4 armv4t armv5te iwmmxt xscale""
TARGET_CC_ARCH = "-mcpu=xscale -mtune=iwmmxt"

We tell OpenEmbedded that we build for the ARM platform and optimize for xscale and iwmmxt.

INHERIT += " package_ipk debian"
TARGET_OS  = "linux"
TARGET_FPU = "soft"
DISTRO = "secret-disro"
DISTRO_NAME = "secret-distro"
DISTRO_TYPE = "release"

Create a distribution ad-hoc as well. We tell OpenEmbedded that we build for linux and glibc using soft float as fpu. If your toolchain is a uclibc toolchain you will need to set TARGET_OS to linux-uclibc.

export CC="${CCACHE}arm-linux-gcc-3.4.4 ${HOST_CC_ARCH}"
export CXX="${CCACHE}arm-linux-g++ ${HOST_CC_ARCH}"
export CPP="arm-linux-gcc-3.4.4 -E"
export LD="arm-linux-ld"
export AR="arm-linux-ar"
export AS="arm-linux-as"
export RANLIB="arm-linux-ranlib"
export STRIP="arm-linux-strip"

The above variables replace the ones from bitbake.conf. This will make OpenEmbedded use the prebuilt toolchain.

# point OE to the lib and include directory
TARGET_CPPFLAGS_append = " -I${PRE_BUILT}/include "
TARGET_LDFLAGS_prepend = " -L${PRE_BUILT}/qt2/lib -L${PRE_BUILT}/lib \
-Wl,-rpath-link,${PRE_BUILT}/lib -Wl,-rpath-link,${PRE_BUILT}/qt2/lib "

# special to Qt/Qtopia
QTDIR  = "${PRE_BUILT}/qt2"
palmtopdir = "/opt/Qtopia"
palmqtdir  = "/opt/Qtopia"

We will add the PRE_BUILT libraries to the include and library paths. And the same is done for the special version of Qt we have in your PRE_BUILT directory.

ASSUME_PROVIDED += " virtual/libc "
ASSUME_PROVIDED += " virtual/qte "
ASSUME_PROVIDED += " virtual/libqpe "
ASSUME_PROVIDED += " libqpe-opie "

Now we have told BitBake that the C library, compiler and Qtopia is already provided. These lines will avoid building binutils, gcc initial, glibc, gcc.

source build_source
bitbake your-killer-app

You should be able to create the packages you want to using the prebuilt toolchain now.

Useful hints

If you have more prebuilt libraries you need to add additional ASSUME_PROVIDED lines to your local.conf. Using bitbake -vvv PACKAGE you can easily see the package names you could ASSUME_PROVIDED if you have some prebuilt.

Issues with this approach

NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for
NOTE: Couldn't find shared library provider for

OpenEmbedded tries to automatically add run-time dependencies (RDEPENDS) to the package. It uses the shlibs system to do add them, in this case it was not able to find packages providing these libraries as they are prebuilt. This means they will not be added to the RDEPENDS of the just created package. The result can be fatal. If you use OpenEmbedded to create images you will end up with a image without a libc being installed. This will lead to a fatal failure. To workaround this issue you could create a package for the metadata to install every needed library and use ${BOOTSTRAP_EXTRA_RDEPENDS} to make sure this package is installed when creating images.

However, the correct way to resolve this is to provide explicit mapping using ASSUME_SHLIBS variable. For example, for the libraries above (partial):


The format is shlib_file_name:package[_version]. If a version is specified it will be used as the minimal (>=) version for the dependency.