GNU ARM Eclipse

A family of Eclipse CDT extensions and tools for GNU ARM development

How to build the Windows Build Tools binaries?

The latest version of the build script is a single run, multi-platform build, generating the Windows 32, Windows 64 distribution packages at once.

The script was developed on macOS, but it also runs on any recent GNU/Linux distribution.


The main trick that made the multi-platform build possible is Docker.

The Windows build uses MinGW-w64 in a Debian 8 container.


Install the Command Line Tools

The macOS compiler and other development tools are packed in a separate Xcode add-on. The best place to get it is from the Developer site, although this might require enrolling to the developer program (free of charge).

To test if the compiler is available, use:

$ gcc --version
Configured with: --prefix=/Applications/ --with-gxx-include-dir=/usr/include/c++/4.2.1
Apple LLVM version 6.1.0 (clang-602.0.49) (based on LLVM 3.6.0svn)
Target: x86_64-apple-darwin14.3.0
Thread model: posix

Install a custom instance of Homebrew

The build process is quite complex, and requires tools not available in the standard Apple macOS distribution. These tools can be installed with Homebrew. To keep these tools separate, a custom instance of Homebrew is installed in ${HOME}/opt/homebrew-gae.

In a separate run, the MacTex tools are also installed in ${HOME}/opt/texlive. Alternatively you can install MacTex in /usr/local using the official distribution, but this will add lots of programs to the system path, and this is a bad thing.

The entire process can be automated with two scripts, available from GitHub:

$ mkdir -p ${HOME}/opt
$ git clone \
$ bash ${HOME}/opt/install-scripts.git/
$ bash ${HOME}/opt/install-scripts.git/

The scripts run with user credentials, no sudo access is required.

Install Docker

On macOS, Docker can be installed by following the official Install Docker on macOS instructions.


Install Docker

For any GNU/Linux distribution, follow the specific instructions.

Configure Docker to run as a regular user

To allow docker to run as a regular user, you need to be a member of the docker group.

$ sudo groupadd docker
$ sudo gpasswd -a ${USER} docker
$ sudo service docker restart

To make these changes effective, logout and login.

The above are for Ubuntu and the Debian family. For other distributions, the last line may differ, for example for Arch Linux use:

$ systemctl restart docker

Install required packages

Since most of the build is performed inside the Docker containers, there are not many requirements for the host, and most of the time these programs are in the standard distribution (curl, git, automake, patch, tar, unzip).

The script checks for them; if the script fails, install them and re-run.

Docker images

The Docker images are available from Docker Hub. They were build using the Dockerfiles available from ilg-ul/docker on GitHub.

Download the build scripts repo

The build script is available from GitHub and can be viewed online.

To download it, clone the gnuarmeclipse/build-scripts Git repo.

$ git clone  

Check the script

The script creates a temporary build Work/build-tools folder in the the user home. Although not recommended, if for any reasons you need to change this, you can redefine WORK_FOLDER variable before invoking the script.

Preload the Docker images

Docker does not require to explicitly download new images, but does this automatically at first use.

However, since the images used for this build are relatively large, it is recommended to load them explicitly before starting the build:

$ bash ~/Downloads/build-scripts.git/scripts/ preload-images

The result should look similar to:

$ docker images
REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             VIRTUAL SIZE
ilegeul/debian      8-gnuarm-mingw      b8261b27add4        3 minutes ago       2.692 GB

Build all distribution files

$ bash ~/Downloads/build-scripts.git/scripts/ --all

On macOS, to prevent entering sleep, use:

$ caffeinate bash ~/Downloads/build-scripts.git/scripts/ --all

About half an hour later, the output of the build script is a set of 5 files in the output folder:

$ ls -l output
total 3680
-rw-r--r--   1 ilg  staff   685323 May 14 23:30 gnuarmeclipse-build-tools-win32-2.5-201505142015-setup.exe
-rw-r--r--   1 ilg  staff  1194597 May 14 23:23 gnuarmeclipse-build-tools-win64-2.5-201505142015-setup.exe
drwxr-xr-x  13 ilg  staff      442 May 14 23:24 win32
drwxr-xr-x  13 ilg  staff      442 May 14 23:17 win64

Subsequent runs

Separate platform specific builds

Instead of –all, you can use any combination of:

--win32 --win64


To remove all build files, use:

$ bash ~/Downloads/build-scripts.git/scripts/ clean

Install hierarchy

The procedure to install the GNU ARM Eclipse Build Tools is simple. The setup asks no special questions, and the defaults are generally ok for most installations.

After install, this package should create structure like this (only the first two depth levels are shown):

$ tree -L 2 Build\ Tools/bin/version
├── INFO.txt
├── bin
│   ├── busybox.exe
│   ├── echo.exe
│   ├── libiconv-2.dll
│   ├── libintl-8.dll
│   ├── make.exe
│   ├── rm.exe
│   └── sh.exe
├── gnuarmeclipse
│   ├── BUILD.txt
│   ├── CHANGES.txt
│   ├──
│   ├──
│   └── config.log
└── license
    ├── busybox
    └── make-4.1

5 directories, 14 files

No other files are installed in any system folders or other locations.


To uninstall the Build Tools from a Windows machine, use the build-tools-uninstall.exe program.

More build details

The script is quite complex, and an attempt to explain its functionality would require some effort. For the final authoritative details, please refer to the comments available in the script.