From the beginning of current year I am learning Docker. First result of this interest on my Github was publishing ccfactory tool, which was supposed to provide easy way to produce compiler toolchains. Almost like they were mass-produced in a factory, thus the name. However, since then I learned a lot and gained some experience. At the moment it is obvious to me, what I did then is not the best design. And because the project is still very fresh, I decided to start once again, from scratch, to create way better design that will be easy to develop and maintain.
Today is time to publish first step to this new design – binutils. I would not do that, but Docker Hub allows to have only one private repo, so the way that I do it disallows me to have it private anyway. So better idea is to describe it somehow to avoid confusion. As I wrote, this first step is binutils and this is simple container that contains binutils and nothing else. My goal is to finally make toolchain base on gcc version 3.3, which might sound weird, but this is what I needed in the past and is best way to prove what this new approach can achieve. With previous one, that I will call legacy from now on, I failed in that and before failing I did even more complicated Dockerfile, than originally planned. So, when finished this one will be proof of good design, I hope. Continue reading “New ccfactory on its way, binutils are already here” →
Having a tailored cross compiler is a problem I encountered couple of times in the past. Of course there are solutions to that problem like great crosstool-ng or more complex buildroot. In most cases crosstool-ng (ct-ng) can solve them. But whatever the tool we use, it has always its own drawbacks. For ct-ng these are small number of supported versions of toolchain components and huge dependence of environment, where it is started. The latter is even more problematic, because of the way continuing interrupted build work in ct-ng. Obviously if you want to build in example one compiler for ARM and one for MIPS, both consisting of latest tools, then it is not a problem.
But I have another use case for compiling toolchains. I do some reverse engineering from time to time. Nowadays many products have Linux under the hood and often there is no chance to get any SDK for them. But having ability to build something for the device can help a lot, either to run it there, or link with found tools and run in emulator. But I could also imagine that outside the reverse engineering field there might be a need to get toolchain in exact configuration, which is sadly not available via ct-ng or buildroot. Anyway, in any case where ct-ng or buildroot are not applicable, there is third way – docker. And this is the way I chose. This is how CC Factory appeared. It is docker container that builds gcc cross compiler on first startup and lands you in an container that have working compiler for the platform of your choice. And it does not require big effort to port it for the next architecture, or different tool version, unless the changes between the versions were really significant. Continue reading “Meet CC Factory – a factory for cross compilers” →