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How to use CMake to cross compile software for eCos

Install the eCos host tools

To build eCos software, you need the host tools for eCos, ecosconfig and optionally configtool. Make sure both ecosconfig and configtool can be found via the PATH. There are different way how to get them.

  • For some Linux distributions there exist ready-to-use packages, which you can simply install. E.g. for Ubuntu this

is done using "apt-get install ecosconfig".

and at .

Install a toolchain for building eCos applications

You need to install a suitable cross compiling toolchain to be able to build software for eCos. You can download them either from or build it yourself following the instructions you can find at . Install the toolchain to any location you like, e.g. $HOME/ecostoolchains/ . Make sure the compiler is available via PATH, e.g. EXPORT PATH=$HOME/ecostoolchains/arm-elf/bin:$PATH.

Get the eCos sources and set ECOS_REPOSITORY

eCos release 2.0 is very old, it is recommended to use current anonymous cvs. You can find instructions here:

If you can't access cvs you can also download a weekly snapshot of cvs provided by eCosCentric:

Once you have the eCos sources installed somewhere on your development machine, e.g. in $HOME/ecos, set the ECOS_REPOSITORY environment variable. This is required for running ecosconfig and configtool. It has to point to the directory where the file ecos.db is located, e.g. $HOME/ecos/packages/ .

Build an eCos

eCos is a configurable operating system, so you have to configure the system you want to use. Here's a simple example for the ARM integrator board:

~/ $ cd src/ecos-arm-integrator
~/src/ecos-arm-integrator/ $ ecosconfig new integrator_arm9 default
~/src/ecos-arm-integrator/ $ ecosconfig tree
~/src/ecos-arm-integrator/ $ make
~/src/ecos-arm-integrator/ $ ls install/
include  lib
~/src/ecos-arm-integrator/ $ ls install/lib
extras.o  libextras.a  libtarget.a  target.ld  vectors.o

The first step will create an ecos.ecc file, which contains the configuration of the operating system. The second step uses this information to generate makefiles, which you use to build in the final make step. Once make has finished, you will find an include/ and a lib/ directory created in the install/ subdirectory. This is the target environment which will be used for compiling your software for this eCos.

Write a CMake toolchain file

For CMake to be able to crosscompile software, it requires you to write a toolchain file, which tells CMake some information about the toolchain. With the examples used above it will look like:

# the name of the target operating system

# which compiler to use
SET(CMAKE_C_COMPILER /home/alex/src/ecostoolchains/arm-elf/bin/arm-elf-gcc)
SET(CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER /home/alex/src/ecostoolchains/arm-elf/bin/arm-elf-g++)

# here is the target environment located
SET(CMAKE_FIND_ROOT_PATH  /home/alex/src/ecos-arm-integrator/install /home/alex/ecos-arm-install )

# adjust the default behaviour of the FIND_XXX() commands:
# search headers and libraries in the target environment, search 
# programs in the host environment

Save this file as Toolchain-eCos-arm-elf.cmake to some location where you will put all your toolchain files, e.g. $HOME.

Build the software for eCos

Let's say you have the classical hello world software with a CMake based buildsystem and want to build this for the eCos you built above. main.c:

include <stdio.h>

int main()
   printf("Hello world\n");
   return 0;


ADD_EXECUTABLE(hello main.c)

Then run CMake on it to generate the buildfiles, the important point is that you tell it to use the toochain file you just wrote:

~/src/helloworld/ $ mkdir build
~/src/helloworld/ $ cd build
~/src/helloworld/build/ $ cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=~/Toolchain-eCos-arm-elf.cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/home/alex/ecos-arm-install ..
-- Configuring done
-- Generating done
-- Build files have been written to: /home/alex/src/helloworld/build
~/src/helloworld/build/ $ make
Scanning dependencies of target hello
[100%] Building C object CMakeFiles/hello.dir/main.o
Linking C executable hello.elf
[100%] Built target hello
~/src/helloworld/build/ $ make install
-- Installing /home/alex/ecos-arm-install/bin/hello

So that's all. It actually doesn't matter whether it's just a "hello world" or some complex piece of software, the only difference is the usage of the toolchain file. If the software has all required configure checks, it should just build also for eCos.