tschesnok
Posts: 99
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Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:55 pm

I'm about to give up after 3 days of compiler hell..

Does anyone have a link to a working cross compiler setup/tutorial for the pi4? I mean one that will work with a full set of common libraries including Vulkan or OpenGL and OpenCV,.. on the latest OS. Tons of links online that are not really helpful... at least in my searches.

My experience so far - there are mismatches between the latest cross tool chain and Pi OS. If I use tool chain libc, etc.. something blows up in my sysroot.. if I use the sysroot libc then the compiler is unhappy with something else.. days and days of trying to get it to build.. then link.. then run.

The most complete thing I found was for Qt.. and it worked.. within QT Creator. I decided I want to use Eclipse instead and dump QT.. especially with vulkan. The instructions were about 100+ lines long.. https://github.com/PhysicsX/QTonRaspber ... aspberrypi
so this is clearly not trivial.. so please no "just do x and y" since it is just not that simple.. with fixed paths, scripts etc.

I did all of this years go with a pi3 and had no problems.. these days nothing seems to work. The Pi is feeling more and more like an average ARM embedded platform.. don't touch unless you can build linux kernels from scratch in your sleep.

I'll probably setup a remote editor and build on the pi.. and suffer with the slow builds. :(

Heater
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:46 pm

There is no way selection of and IDE, qtcreator or Eclipse for example, should have any effect your ability to cross-compile.

After all, Qt programs can be built from the command line with "qmake" and "make". Other programs can be built with just "make", or "cmake". Or perhaps they need the auto tools to configure everything first. There are so many build systems...

Problem is you have to have all the target header files, libraries, whatever for your target system available on your host system. And set it all up so that the build system knows where to find them. And sometimes trick the build system into thinking it is running on the target rather than the host. And ....

So yeah, in general getting setup for cross-compiling is notoriously difficult. I have only persisted in doing it when someone is willing to pay. It's no fun.

A bigger problem if one wants to write a cross-compile tutorial is the fact that there are so many host systems: Windows, Mac, many Linux distros. Perhaps, maybe, sometime, such a tutorial will work, for one case, one time. Very likely to be useless elsewhere or become useless over time as things change.

In short, build on the Pi itself.

That is not so bad. If you are developing on a PC or Mac or whatever you can build it there as normal as you work on it and test it. You only need to move code to an actual Pi when it is in good shape and build it there for final testing and tweaking.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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jahboater
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:57 am

tschesnok wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:55 pm
I'm about to give up after 3 days of compiler hell..

I'll probably setup a remote editor and build on the pi.. and suffer with the slow builds. :(
I agree with Heater's comments above.

Build it on the Pi or write portable code.

A 2.1GHz Pi4 with plenty of memory, a decent A1 class SD card, and /tmp in-core compiles stuff quickly enough.
Learn to use make effectively.

How much faster would building on the PC have to be to recover the "3 days of compiler hell" spent setting up a cross compiler ???

swampdog
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:19 pm

Concur with Heater & Jahboater.

If you really must repeatedly recompile huge numbers of source files then it is possible to fudge 'distcc' (on the rpi) such that it calls an arm-cross (that looks arm-native) which is actually a virtual machine (VM). This avoids one of the massive problems with cross-compilation: maintenance. All you need get working is the VM cross compiler. The penalty is the rpi gets to do all the linking but it's nowhere near as bad as one might first think. As all it will ever do is return object files, the only maintenance it will ever need is if the host rpi compiler (ABI) changes(*).

Start with two rpi to get distcc working. Leave it in "basic" mode with zeroconf. Next, replace "gcc" with a dummy compiler stub (eg: gcc920,g++920) then get it working with that. That done, build your arm-cross within your VM and hack on those stubs within it and fiddle with the VM distcc because by default it may not find it (my gcc920 etc is not in distcc "PATH"). Correctly configured the rpi will automatically find the VM if it's running. Multiple VM's can be implemented simply by cloning the VM and changing its hostname.

(*) I prefer to use a compiler I've compiled myself for this so I can keep them identical. You could use an existing distro arm-cross with same ABI but (for me) if there were ever a weird bug I'd be forever wondering if it was a compiler issue and get distracted.

tschesnok
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm

Thanks all.

So 3 people believe it is best to build on the pi and work on the PC? This sounds like a temporary solution for a large project. It is the path I'm choosing for now. I still think cross is the only real way to do it. Portable is not ideal.. since I'm using pi specific functions.

I have eclipse now running on Ubuntu PC - with all project header files to make it play nice in the editor with the syntax checking. Seems to work. I mounted the PI project directory on the PC.. which are then opened by Eclipse... so all files i'm editing are on the pi.

I hit save. Go to my SSH window and hit make. I can execute it from my PC terminal as well and it pops up on the Pi screen.

Now I need to setup "in IDE" debugging.. but I think that is simple.. I may be limited to "attach" to a running process. Ideas to make this a one step process?

I have 4GB on the PI. Not overclocked. 32GB eMMC.. which I think should be faster than an SD card. seems OK.. I just remember in the past that my PC was perhaps 10x faster than the Pi3... so it will suck a bit. (CM4 with wifi)

It is what it is for now.. but I don't know what sort of projects you work on.. but I consider this a temporary solution at best.

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jahboater
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:38 pm

tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm
So 3 people believe it is best to build on the pi and work on the PC?
I build on the Pi and work on the Pi. In fact when my current PC dies of old age, I may well not replace it and just use a Pi4 (or Pi5 if its out by then!). The Pi4 is more powerful than most of the computers (inc mainframes) I have used over the years in my career as a software engineer.
tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm
Portable is not ideal.. since I'm using pi specific functions.
You could write stubs for any Pi specific stuff (which should only a small part of a large project).
tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm
so all files i'm editing are on the pi.
They are being transferred back and forth between the Pi and the PC - for every edit.
Not something I would do as it seems inherently slow, but it probably works fine in practice.
Note the Pi4 has full GiGe ethernet and much more CPU power for the encryption overhead.
For me, the editors on the Pi like vim or emacs are very capable. You can use vscode on the Pi if you like it.
tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm
Now I need to setup "in IDE" debugging.. but I think that is simple.. I may be limited to "attach" to a running process. Ideas to make this a one step process?
Sorry, I just use GDB on the Pi. GDB has more debugging "power" than I can use!
tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm
past that my PC was perhaps 10x faster than the Pi3... so it will suck a bit. (CM4 with wifi)
I did a quick measure of compilation speed (GCC 10.3 -Os):-
Intel PC 16GB 3.5GHz - 6688 source lines per second.
Pi4 8GB 2.1GHz - 2488 source lines per second.
Pi1 256MB 700MHz - 198 source lines per second!!!!

With -O3 and countless warning options active, the Pi4 is a little slower.
I compiled 82,000 lines of C in 48 seconds (1708 lines per second).

In practice "make" ensures that only the changed source files or their dependencies get compiled, so builds during development are fast on the Pi4. Also If you have to do a large rebuild of a lot of files, then "make -j" uses all the CPU cores to do multiple compilations simultaneously - the Pi4 has four cores and plenty of memory so that works well.
tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm
but I don't know what sort of projects you work on..
The biggest build I ever do, is building the GCC compiler itself. GCC 10.3 was released recently, so I installed it on all my computers except the 256MB Pi1.
This used to be a struggle on early Pi's, but it is trivial on the Pi4.
Last time I looked (ages ago) it was around 50 million source lines in 143,000 files (it gets built 3 times).
It takes over 3 hours on the Pi4, but I think that's acceptable (even impressive for a credit card sized SBC costing $35).

Stuff I normally do on the Pi is trivial compared to that!

Heater
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:12 pm

tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:58 pm
It is what it is for now.. but I don't know what sort of projects you work on.. but I consider this a temporary solution at best.
Perhaps I should outline that.

This last decade and more I have been involved with systems that involve data collection in remote locations, using Raspberry Pi, Nvidia Jetson, embedded PC modules and others. I have been creating services to run in the cloud to collect, analyse and distribute this data. And finally Javascript in the browser for data visualisation, dashboards etc. I think the kids to day call that "full stack".

The various parts and reincarnation of parts of all this have been written in C++, Javascript, Python and Rust. Things have evolved from C++ and Qt applications to Rust and Javascript in the browser.

All this code gets developed on Windpws PC's, Linux PC, Macs depending on what a developer prefers. Sometimes it is worked on directly on Pi or Jetson or whatever. After all, they are full up Linux systems. Windows 10 now has the Linux Subsystem for Windows which makes it very usable for all this.

Many parts of this system tend to move around. For example analysis code can be moved down to the remote system so as to make them independent of cloud servers.

The majority of the code is can be tested where it is built, PC, Mac or Pi.

Now of course there are hardware specific parts of the code that can only be tested on the Pi target or whatever. Well, that gets developed and tested on the Pi itself, it can then be used from the rest of the application which has likely been developed and tested elsewhere with mock hardware interfaces.

To oil the wheels all code is kept in a git repository and can be fetched anywhere it is needed very easily. VS Code can edit code remotely using sshfs. SSH and vim are still great tools for remote development.

Perhaps one call all of that a temporary solution. But it gets the job done. It has not required countless hours setting up multiple cross-compilation environments or maintaining them as we go along. I feel no pressure to change it.

Historically I did cross compile for embedded systems using ARM and PowerPC. But that was essential at the time as there were no off the shelf Linux for them, we had to build our own Linux OS from scratch. Cross compiling everything from the kernel to the applications. That was such an expensive a tedious time sink I really don't want to do it again.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

swampdog
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:40 pm

Actually with my "distcc" method you do all(*) the work on the rpi. My rpi4 has an ssd and some standard swap (4Gb) and is otherwise standard buster - except for it is running LVM2 but that's a side issue here. Just put the host rpi last on the DISTCC_HOSTS line, that way all the compilation gets offloaded to the VM.

About 2Gb per core for an x86 VM (in my case centos 7) and 1Gb per core for any rpi - is a reasonable rule of thumb.

(*) You're only editing a single file during a debug so no massive hit. If you're not doing anything rpi specific then use a PC(**).

I can't help with eclipse. I came up with the above method when I figured I might learn QT programming. I wanted the latest qtcreator so built the lot from source on my PC. Took forever, constantly adding in extra libs to enable more features - discovering some libs were too old to build QT then having to compile new versions(***) from scratch. Heck even cmake was too old. clang, llvm, even mariadb all went in and I may was well have the latest compiler (gcc 9.2.0 at the time). All the time you're doing this you have to ensure the build doesn't accidentally pick up a system lib(***) rather than its replacement.

(**) It turned out this distcc method works for the PC as well. When I wife isn't gaming her box is also in linux and have it run a native distcc VM and add that to my PC build.

Fwiw the current DISTC_HOSTS list is this..

Code: Select all

root@nghhpc        #VM 4 x86 cores         (native gcc on hhpc)
root@ngsdn          #^^^                                (^^^               on sdn )
root@ngsdn1        #^^^                                (^^^              on sdn1)
root@ngsdn2        #^^^                                (^^^              on sdn2)
root@xghhpc        #VM 4 arm cores         (xgcc on hhpc)
root@xgsdu          #^^^
root@xgsdn          #^^^
root@xgsdn1        #^^^
root@xgsdn2        #^^^
foo@pi18/3          #native (nproc-1) cores (ssd+4Gb swap)
foo@pi19/3          #^^^
..all of hhpc,sdu,sdn,sdn1,sdn2 are running KVM hypervisors. sdu isn't listed natively above because it's my PC.

(***) It's this problem which is avoided. All I have to do is install the correct system libs on the rpi4 (pi18) and the same QT build will work there as it did on the PC. Not all the VM's are running at once. If I'm doing a PC build I turn off the "xg" VM's and vice-versa. I can throw >20 cores at an arm build, twice as many as a native PC build (I need some free cores on sdu so it remains responsive). The practical limit is ram, not cores: if something starts paging you've pushed that VM/box too far. The reason for "-j3" on the native rpi is you need a free core for the system,linking etc. It'll perform a lot worse on -j4.

The above takes a real effort to set up but still less than a PC cross. Nothing to do after. Only have to modify pi18/sdu for an updated lib.

[edit] trying to get the comments right above, tabs! (given up) :-|

tschesnok
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:53 pm

I think I need an Ubuntu PC so will try to see how it works out. I run about 20-30 tabs in my browser, and have 10 other things open.. including an FPGA development platform. I'm running on a CM4 on a custom board... so it really is not cross platform. I'm building a hardware device. I will not always have keyboard / screen access to the device either.

There is no "constant" transfer during editing. Only when I hit "save" is there network transfer. (there is no constant disk access when you type either when the file is local).

GDB IS the debugger used during "in IDE" debugging. If you are suggesting you are debugging without source code stepping in an IDE editor without hot mouse-overs on variables then I don't know what to tell you.

Again, I know a proper cross dev IS the correct way to run this.. So if anyone else has a good link or tutorial that is current then I'm still interested.

Heater
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:12 pm

tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:53 pm
I'm building a hardware device. I will not always have keyboard / screen access to the device either.
None of my Pi have keyboard/screen attached. That does not often slow me down.
tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:53 pm
GDB IS the debugger used during "in IDE" debugging. If you are suggesting you are debugging without source code stepping in an IDE editor without hot mouse-overs on variables then I don't know what to tell you.
Interesting.

I have almost never needed to use a debugger like GDB since decades ago. Typically one writes some code and a test for it. Mostly if the test fails it does not take long to see where the problem is from the source one has written. This has the great advantage that if one ever changes that code a bit then one has a bunch of tests to quickly show if one broke it or not.

On the rare occasions that I have resorted to pulling out a debugger when the entire program is built from it's parts and then fails at random I have found the debugger worse than useless. It's not going to tell you which part of your code corrupted memory which causes something else, which you are now trying to debug, to fail ten minutes later. It's not going to help with race conditions in threads that only happen when timing is "just so".

Often single stepping code or halting on breakpoints etc, upsets the timing of everything that it masks the problem one is looking for.
tschesnok wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:53 pm
Again, I know a proper cross dev IS the correct way to run this.. So if anyone else has a good link or tutorial that is current then I'm still interested.
Is there a holy book where that is written?

I'm sure cross compiling is essential some times. Like when programming a micro-controller.

Perhaps it's ultimately worth the effort in your case.

Anyway, seems many people have been cross-compiling for the Pi. For example:
https://blog.kitware.com/cross-compilin ... pberry-pi/
https://medium.com/@au42/the-useful-ras ... 56054de187
https://desertbot.io/blog/how-to-cross- ... spberry-pi
https://www.get-edi.io/Cross-Compiling- ... an-Buster/
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

tschesnok
Posts: 99
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:35 pm

Heater wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:12 pm

I have almost never needed to use a debugger like GDB since decades ago. Typically one writes some code and a test for it. Mostly if the test fails it does not take long to see where the problem is from the source one has written. This has the great advantage that if one ever changes that code a bit then one has a bunch of tests to quickly show if one broke it or not.

That would be a quick pass from me at a job interview..

Thank you for the links.. I have seen them. Unfortunately getting "hello world" running is the easy part..
Let's end this thread please.

tttapa
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:00 am

I agree that cross-compilation can be a huge time saver if you spend a lot of time developing and recompiling for the Pi. For long-running serious projects, it's absolutely worth the initial time investment.

For what it's worth, here are my notes, shell scripts and Docker files I use for cross compilation: https://tttapa.github.io/Pages/Raspberr ... index.html

For basic libraries, you can relatively easily cross compile all your dependencies yourself.
For graphical applications that depend on Qt, GTK, X11 etc. which then further depend on Mesa or systemd, you'd basically be compiling your entire OS from scratch, and you'll spend more time on that than working on your actual project. The sad truth is that many of these packages use nonstandard build systems that make cross compilation very hard, and you often have to patch them manually, or update paths after compilation etc.

In that case, it's much easier to just install the OS you're using on the Pi in a Docker container on your workstation (you can just run ARM containers on x86 if you install QEMU, see the answer I gave here: https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/q ... pi-stretch). Then just install everything you need using the system's package manager, and use the file system of that container as your sysroot when cross-compiling. This also makes it much easier to keep everything up to date, just do an apt upgrade in the container.

An alternative could be to use buildroot or yocto to cross-compile all dependencies for you, but I prefer the emulated Docker container.

When I don't feel like setting up a cross compilation environment for a project, I often just use distcc. You don't even need a VM, just start a distcc Docker container on your workstation and connect to it from the Pi.
You could even compile the dependencies “natively” in your ARM Docker container (with or without distcc), depending on how fast your workstation is, it's probably faster than compiling everything on a Pi, although the emulation adds a lot of overhead, the number of cores or amount of RAM in your workstation might make up for that, and you can always accelerate it with distcc.

Using gdbserver on the Pi and debugging remotely works relatively well, but startup times are noticeably longer than debugging locally on your PC. I use VSCode as a frontend to the gdb client, I can't comment on Eclipse.
It's often a good idea to isolate the core logic of your application from the Pi-specific parts. This allows you to run most unit tests on your workstation and debug these parts natively. You can then run the integration test or parts that require the Pi's hardware or access to the FPGA etc. on the Pi later .

Pieter

tschesnok
Posts: 99
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:37 pm

Hi Pieter,

Thank you so much for your detailed description. I will dig into it this weekend.

Perhaps a silly question - but why do I need to build everything via the cross? To make sure the same version of the compiler built everything? I was hoping just to copy all libraries and headers from the pi.. but perhaps that is were I'm having issues. Yes, I'm full graphics stack with Vulkan and then some. PCIe with custom drivers (CM4), etc etc..

I used to use Eclipse with the Pi and it seemed ok. I'm also forced into Eclipse via the Xilinx build environment on an FPGA that is paired with my CM4.. so it seemed nice to keep the same editor.. (all be it different versions). But perhaps I'm wrong..

Thanks again!
A

tttapa
Posts: 37
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:10 pm

tschesnok wrote: Perhaps a silly question - but why do I need to build everything via the cross?
Not silly at all. In short, you don't have to.
In some scenarios, it's quite easy to just “configure; make; make install” your handful of dependencies, this allows full control over your versions, and if you were going to compile them from source anyway, it's faster to cross compile them on a powerful workstation.

For larger projects with hundreds of dependencies, this isn't practical, and you're better off getting the files elsewhere (e.g. downloading the pre-built libraries from the Debian repositories, copying them from a running Pi, a Docker container with RPi OS, etc.)

When copying these files to your sysroot, you have to be careful not to replace the toolchain's C library (libc.so) and other toolchain-specific files in the sysroot.
Gathering all files you need for cross compilation isn't always trivial. Sometimes you just need a few headers and the library file, but often you need pkg-config files, CMake files, bash scripts, etc. and of course all transitive dependencies.
You could of course just copy the entire /usr folder or even the entire file system, but that results in a huge sysroot.

As long as you don't mess with the parts of the toolchain that were already in your sysroot folder, and if you have a compatible toolchain (i.e. one that was built for your architecture, with Linux and GLIBC versions that are at least as old as the versions on the system you want your cross compiled programs to run on), it should work fine.
To clarify: you need to build your toolchain with a version of Linux and the C library that is older (or the same) as the operating system you have running on the Pi. The kernel and libc are backwards compatible, but you cannot run a binary that was compiled for a newer version on an operating system with an older kernel or C library. It'll either just crash or complain about missing symbols in GLIBC (or worse, appear to work fine for a few days before you start getting random crashes).
I assume you'll be using a 64-bit OS and a 64-bit compiler, but if you're using 32-bit ARM, your ABI has to match as well, you cannot combine EABI and EABIhf. If you want to run 32-bit applications on a 64-bit OS, you need 32-bit versions of all your libraries (including libc and the loader). Just using 64-bit for everything is much easier.

When installing the cross compiled libraries and binaries to Pi, only install your staging area, not the sysroot. (That's why you have both a sysroot and a staging area, see the link I posted earlier.)
You should probably install them in /usr/local, not /usr, so they don't interfere with the system's package manager.
For deploying the cross compiled programs, I find it easiest to build a Docker container on my workstation that I install my programs into, and then run it on the Pi. If you mess up your installation in the container, you can just delete the container, if you mess up the installation of the Pi itself, you have to reinstall everything on the SD card which is more work.
tschesnok wrote: I'm also forced into Eclipse via the Xilinx build environment
My condolences :(
I didn't have a good experience with their Vivado SDK. Getting random “index out of bounds” errors, Eclipse messing up the compiler flags when just adding in extra libraries to link, Eclipse not being able to parse C++14 code correctly, etc. Eventually I just used it once to generate the BSPs and makefiles, and then used VSCode for actual development.

Heater
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:00 pm

tschesnok wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:35 pm
That would be a quick pass from me at a job interview..
Good. Because I don't ever want to waste my life on dealing with that mess again.
tschesnok wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:35 pm
Thank you for the links.. I have seen them. Unfortunately getting "hello world" running is the easy part..
Yes. That is what I have been saying all along. Unless you really, really, have to don't go down that rabbit hole.

tttapa expresses it much better than me in the post above.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

tschesnok
Posts: 99
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Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:31 pm

tttapa, I think that is my major issue.. libc and related files have duplicates in my sysroot copy. The tool-chain is mixing and matching (at least with header files).. I'll get a handle on it. Thanks again.
Heater wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:00 pm
tttapa expresses it much better than me in the post above.
I guess I read it differently. In my case I'm going to have to do it. I did not see tttapa disagree.

Sorry if I seemed unfriendly. Dev work can put me in a mood. My type of work requires a debugger. No way to know what is going on in a complex system if you can't dig in and look. My stuff is not even deterministic (computer vision, physics, etc)

Heater
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Current Cross Compile Tutorial for RPI4???

Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:36 am

tschesnok wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:31 pm
Sorry if I seemed unfriendly. Dev work can put me in a mood.
No worries. Certainly tracking down problems can more than infuriating.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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