The ARM GCC compiler is necessary for compiling code to run on ARM processors. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install the ARM GCC compiler on Linux, MacOS, and Windows operating systems.
Before installing the ARM GCC compiler, you need:
- An ARM cross-compiler toolchain set up for your operating system
- Basic command line knowledge to navigate your system terminal
- An internet connection to download necessary packages/software
Installing on Linux
For Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, etc. you can install the ARM GCC compiler package directly using the default package manager. Here are the steps:
- Open the terminal application on your Linux OS.
- Update your system’s package index by running:
sudo apt update(for Debian/Ubuntu)
sudo dnf update(for Fedora)
- Install ARM GCC compiler packages with:
sudo apt install gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi g++-arm-linux-gnueabi(for Debian/Ubuntu)
sudo dnf install arm-gcc arm-gcc-c++(for Fedora)
This will install the latest versions of ARM gcc and g++ compilers on your Linux system. The compilers will be ready to use for cross-compiling ARM code.
Installing on MacOS
On MacOS, you can install ARM GCC using Homebrew package manager. Follow these steps:
- Install Homebrew if you don’t already have it.
- Update Homebrew’s package database:
- Install ARM gcc package with:
brew install arm-gcc-bin
This will install arm-gcc and arm-g++ compilers under /usr/local/bin. You may need to add /usr/local/bin to your PATH environment variable if the compilers are not found.
Installing on Windows
For Windows, you need to download and install one of the pre-built ARM compiler toolchains:
Download the Windows installer .exe file from their respective websites. Make sure to choose the correct version (32-bit or 64-bit) suitable for your Windows OS. Once downloaded, run the .exe installer and follow the on-screen prompts to install the ARM GCC compiler.
The compiler will be installed at a default location like C:\Program Files\GNU Tools ARM Embedded\. The installer should automatically setup the PATH environment variable to point to the binaries. You may need to restart any open command prompts for the PATH changes to take effect.
Verifying the Installation
To verify that ARM GCC is installed properly and is accessible from your command line terminal, run the following commands and check the output:
arm-gcc --version(should print arm-gcc version)
arm-g++ --version(should print arm-g++ version)
This confirms the compilers are installed and available in your PATH. Now you are ready to cross-compile code for ARM using the compilers.
Compiling ARM Code
Here is an example workflow to cross-compile a simple “hello world” C program for ARM using the compilers we just installed:
- Create a hello.c file with the code:
- Compile it into ARM code with:
arm-gcc hello.c -o hello
- This will generate the ARM binary hello file.
- You can then transfer this to your ARM device and run it.
Similarly, you can compile C++ code to ARM using arm-g++ compiler. The same cross-compilation process applies.
Passing Compiler Flags
You can pass various compiler flags to arm-gcc/g++ to optimize code generation for your target ARM chip architecture. Some common flags include:
-mcpu– Specify CPU architecture, e.g.
-mfloat-abi– Floating point ABI type, e.g.
-mfpu– Floating point hardware option, e.g.
-mthumb– Generate 16-bit Thumb instruction set
-marm– Generate 32-bit ARM instruction set
-O3– Code optimization levels
Check your target ARM processor architecture specifications to choose optimal flags. The ARM GCC manual covers all available options in detail.
Installing the ARM GCC compilers provides a great cross-platform development environment for building ARM applications. With the simple project workflow outlined above, you can start compiling C/C++ programs for your ARM boards and chips using the comfort of your Linux, Mac or Windows machine.
The GCC compilers combined with automation tools like Makefiles help streamline your embedded ARM development process. So go ahead and start cross-compiling!