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Compiling AROS


This document will explain how to compile AROS. Development of AROS is possible in two ways. One way is to use a Linux, FreeBSD or Mac OS X system to cross-compile AROS. The other is to perform the compilation directly under AROS. Both methods are explained below.


The following software is required for compiling AROS:

  • GCC 3.2.2+
  • GNU Binutils
  • GNU Make
  • GNU AWK (GAWK) - other awks may also be suitable
  • Python 2.2.1+
  • Bison
  • Flex 2.
  • pngtopnm and ppmtoilbm (part of the netpbm package)
  • Autoconf 2.61+
  • Automake
  • CMake
  • gperf
  • Patch
  • C library development files (libc)
  • Common utilities, like cp, mv, sort, uniq, head, ...

To compile the hosted i386-linux or i386-freebsd ports, the following are also required:

  • X11 development headers and libraries
  • OpenGL development headers and libraries

To build the ISO image of the i386-pc or x86-64-pc ports with the GRUB 2 bootloader (the default), the following is also required:

  • ncurses

Mac OS X

OS-X-hosted and PC-native versions of AROS can be cross compiled under OS X. There are several additional requirements for compiling AROS on this platform. Firstly, these software packages must be installed:

  • XCode
  • MacPorts
  • objconv (not needed for hosted AROS)

The following MacPort packages then need to be installed to complete the set of required software listed earlier:

  • i386-elf-gcc
  • netpbm
  • cdrtools (not needed for hosted AROS)
  • gawk
  • py-pil
  • wget
  • autoconf (if using XCode 2.4 or earlier)

These can be installed with, for example:

> sudo port install i386-elf-gcc

You also need to create a dummy crt0.o file that the configure scripts can use. Create the following file in a text editor and save it as crt0.c:

int _start()

Then compile and install it with:

> i386-elf-gcc -c crt0.c
> sudo cp crt0.o /opt/local/i386-elf/lib/

If building native AROS, objconv must be manually downloaded, compiled and installed:

> mkdir objconv
> cd objconv
> wget
> unzip
> unzip
> g++ -o objconv -O2 *.cpp
> sudo cp objconv /usr/local/bin

Finally, there is a missing symbolic link that needs to be created:

> cd /opt/local/bin
> sudo ln -s i386-elf-gcc-4.3.2 i386-elf-gcc


You can download the AROS sources either from the download page or by using SVN (which requires that you apply for access though; see subversion documentation as well).

Extract or download source package sources into a directory of your choice. If you want to build contributed software as well, extract or download contrib package sources into a ./contrib subdirectory of your source package directory tree.



There are two ways to build AROS. The preferred method is described in the Appendix: Building AROS in different directories. Here, however, we will build AROS within the source directory. To do this we will first need to configure the AROS build using the following steps:

> cd AROS
> ./configure

You can specify several options to configure. The following option is available for all targets:

--enable-debug=LIST [default: none]

Enable different types of debug. Commas or white space can be used to separate the items in the list. If no list is provided then all is assumed. If --enable-debug is not specified at all, none is the default. Available types:

Disables all debug types, and debugging in general.
Enables all debug types below.
Enables stack debug.
Enables mungwall debug.
Enables modules debug.

Running ./configure --help will give details of additional options.

Hosted AROS/i386-linux and AROS/i386-freebsd

You do not have to specify the --target option to build these targets. The following options are available for hosted builds:

--with-resolution=WIDTHxHEIGHTxDEPTH [default: 800x600x8]
Set the default resolution and depth AROS will use.
--enable-x11-shm [default: auto]
Enable usage of the X11 MIT-SHM extension. Enabling it gives a significant performance gain, but it might not work very well if you are using a remote display.

You cannot cross compile these ports.

Native AROS/i386-pc

To build the i386-pc port, you have to start configure with this target option:


Additionally, the following i386-pc-specific options are available:

``--with-serial-debug=N [default: disabled]``
    Enable serial debug, sending the output to port ``N``.

``--with-bootloader=NAME [default: grub2]``
    Use a specific bootloader.


To start the compilation, simply run:

> make

If this doesn't work after a SVN update, you can try:

> make clean
> rm -rf bin/
> ./configure {options}
> make

If you use FreeBSD or some other system that does not use GNU Make as the system make, then you should substitute the GNU Make command for the above. For example, under FreeBSD you'll have to install the GNU Make port, then run:

> gmake

Hosted AROS/i386-linux or AROS/i386-freebsd

If you are building a hosted i386-linux or i386-freebsd build, you should additionally also run the following to properly set-up the keyboard support:

> make default-x11keymaptable

Native AROS/i386-pc

If you are building the native i386-pc port, you will find a bootable floppy image at bin/pc-i386/gen/rom/boot/aros.bin after the compilation has finished. Additionally, you can create a bootable ISO image by running:

> make bootiso-pc-i386

The ISO image can be found at distfiles/aros-pc-i386.iso.

Building AROS on AROS

Since 2008-11-17, it's possible to build i386-pc and x86_64-pc AROS on AROS. Only building on SFS partitions is currently possible. To do this, you need to install a few additional packages from The AROS Archives (file names for i386 architecture):

  • autoconf-2.62.i386.tar.gz
  • automake-1.9.6.all.tar.gz
  • perl-5.7.2.i386-aros.tar.gz
  • python-2.5.2.i386-aros.tar.gz

Install these packages by unpacking them in the parent directory of Development:

> Cd Development:/
> tar -xzf RAM:autoconf-2.62.i386.tar.gz
> tar -xzf RAM:automake-1.9.6.all.tar.gz
> tar -xzf RAM:perl-5.7.2.i386-aros.tar.gz
> tar -xzf RAM:python-2.5.2.i386-aros.tar.gz

Now download and unpack the AROS source code and contributed software source code. To unpack, you need to have bzip2 installed. In nightly builds it should be present in Extras:Misc/aminet/C/bzip2. Instead of using bzip2 to manually unpack sources you can copy bzip2 to bin: and let tar take care of this:

> Copy Extras:Misc/aminet/C/bzip2 bin:
> tar --exclude=contrib -xjf AROS-20081117-source.tar.bz2

Note the --exclude=contrib option. It's necessary because there's a symbolic link named contrib in the source code snapshots pointing to a non-existent Contrib directory. Once it's extracted to SFS file system, there's no way to delete it without removing the whole directory, so it's best to skip it.

Contributed software is not guaranteed to build on AROS, except the special set of packages contained in the Necessary directory. It's recommended to extract only this directory when building AROS on AROS and copy it somewhere inside the unpacked AROS source tree. The suggested location is the Contrib directory:

> tar -xjf AROS-20081117-contrib-source.tar.bz2 AROS-20081117-contrib-source/necessary
> MakeDir AROS-20081117-source/contrib
> Rename AROS-20081117-contrib-source/necessary AROS-20081117-source/contrib/necessary

Now run the configure script, with the appropriate target, CFLAGS, LDFLAGS and host-side strip command:

> Cd AROS-20081117-source
> bin:sh
> ./configure --target=pc-i386 LDFLAGS="-nix" CFLAGS="-nix -I/Development/netinclude"
  aros_host_strip="strip --strip-unneeded"

When configure finishes, run make:

> make

Some requesters asking to insert volumes HOME: or DEV: to any drive may appear during the build process, they can safely be cancelled.

Building AROS on AROS takes more time than on Linux (from 1.5 to several hours depending on your CPU and hard disk performance). To shorten the build time, try increasing the number of buffers and cache size for your SFS partitions.

Since grub2 still hasn't been ported to AROS, creating an ISO image containing the resulting binaries by making the boot ISO target is not yet possible.


Building several targets from the same source

If you intend to compile several different targets from one source tree, then you first have to go through the configuration step for each of your targets. You can add targets at any time you want. The last target specified to configure is the default target.

To select a specific target when building, simply run make, like this:


Where $ARCH is the architecture of the wanted build, and $CPU is the CPU. E.g., to build AROS/i386-pc you would run:


If you are building several ports that use the same CPU, you only have to specify AROS_TARGET_ARCH as the CPU will stay the same.

After you've made "make" once, and some changes were made to the files, you can use quick compilation of changes using make <target-name>-quick command.

Building AROS in different directories

It is possible to configure and build AROS in a directory other than the working copy. For example:

> svn co aros-src
> cd aros-src
> mkdir ../build
> cd ../build
> ../aros-src/configure [...with options as appropriate...]
> make

puts the AROS working copy in the directory "aros-src" and builds it in a separate, parallel directory "build".

Why would you want to do this? Well there are a number of reasons:

  • You may want to separate the source and object code and only backup the source / avoid "polluting" the working copy with files generated during the build.
  • You may want to put the build directory and the working copy on different physical disks to improve performance.
  • You may want to remote mount the working copy on multiple machines, and build for different machines from the same working copy.
  • You may want to build multiple configurations from the same working copy.

The last reason above is possibly the most useful. For instance you can have builds for separate architectures and/or debug builds each using the same working copy. Using multiple build directories you can rebuild any or all configurations after an edit without the need to either clean and reconfigure, or identify and copy changes into another working copy.


If you have previously built AROS inside the working copy you will need to delete all obsolete generated files from the source tree before attempting to configure/build in another directory. The reason for this is that some parts of the build will detect an existing file in the source tree before the correct version and attempt to use that. It is best to delete the bin/ directory, as well as any files that shouldn't exist when the following command is used:

svn status --no-ignore

Delete any files which are ignored/not supposed to be there (unless they are your own projects files).


If you are compiling multiple AROS builds from the same working directory, the following configure option will make them use a common location to download external sources to

--with-portssources=<path to common location>

It is best to use a separate directory outside of both the working dir and build dir(s) to store these files - so that if you delete a build or the working dir you will still have the files and not need to download them every time.

Compiling HowTos

This step-by-step guide will describe how to prepare the development environment and compile AROS on Ubuntu Linux 6.10 "Edgy Eft". Let's assume you have a CD image (iso) from an Ubuntu site and have installed the system from it. Also, you should set it so it'll access the Internet.

Getting the needed packages

Because the Live CD misses needed packages we have to get them from the Internet:

> sudo apt-get install subversion gcc-3.4 gawk bison flex netpbm autoconf automake1.4
libx11-dev libc6-dev

You will need to enter your user password at the prompt.

Setting the locale to ISO 8859

This step is not strictly necessary. However, filenames with accented characters will not be reproduced properly without doing this. Just find the en_US iso 8859-1 string in the list provided by the following applications and choose it:

> sudo apt-get install localeconf
> sudo dpkg-reconfigure localeconf

Then set the console's locale:

> sudo locale-gen "en_US"
> sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
> export LANG="en_US.ISO-8859-1"

Get the sources

To find out more instruction on how to use our SVN Repository, please refer to Working with Subversion

In brief, the commands you must use are the following:

> svn checkout
> cd AROS
> svn checkout

Configure and compile AROS sources

First we will set parameters and configure:

> export CC="gcc-3.4"
> ./configure

Then, type:

> make

This may take a while (up to some hours on slow machines) :) But once it finishes, you will have a compiled AROS-hosted. Please note that you might need Internet access during the build, as it tries to download the latest EUAE and GNU sources.

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