Setting up an ARM EABI toolchain on Mac OS X

October 07, 2012

29C3 is coming up, and after completeing and submitting my talk proposals, I've recently started hacking on my r0ket badge, which I managed to get my hands on a year ago at 28C3.

After setting it up and doing some SMD soldering with the RGB flame module, the next step is hacking on the r0ket's firmware, writing l0dable applications.

The r0ket has an ARM processor and its firmware and applications are cross-compiled using the ARM EABI toolchain. The r0ket wiki has instructions on how to set up an environment on Mac OS X, and I'll try to give some comlementary tips on how to accomplish that.

My preferred option would be to use standard homebrew formulae as much as possible. Unfortunately, homebrew chose not to include the ARM EABI toolchain in it's offerings. A homebrew fork has support for the arm-none-eabi-gcc formula, but I found it not up to date.

If you use MacPorts, it might be possible to sudo port install arm-none-eabi-gcc, but unfortunately MacPorts and homebrew are mutually exclusive, and I'm definitely sticking with homebrew.

By far, the easiest solution I found was a simple-to-use makefile wrapped up with some patches specifically built for the task of building an ARM EABI toolchain, they can be found on github.

Make sure you have the proper dependencies first:

brew install mpfr gmp libmpc libelf texinfo

Then simply clone the repository, and run the makefile:

git clone https://github.com/jsnyder/arm-eabi-toolchain
cd arm-eabi-toolchain
make install-cross

Remember you're building the entire toolchain, so expect this step to take at least an hour, and your Mac to heat up running 100% CPU. When all the tools are built you can find them located at ~/arm-cs-tools. Remember to somehow add ~/arm-cs-tools/bin to your $PATH.

The bonus for all this is that I just recently received my Texas Instruments Stellaris Launchpad evaluation kits, and I'll definitely be making heavy use of this toolchain. Not to mention that an ARM-based Arduino board is in the making...