Monday, January 4, 2010

Building packages: harder than they look

For a course I'm TAing, we (the other TAs and I) decided to revamp the tools so that students could more easily install them on their own computers. This was really my first look into actually producing packages for other people. Here is the long tale:

Step 1: Build simpl

Okay, the basic, core tools here compile and work easily. The more complicated tale is the GUI, built on qt. qt 3, to be precise. Except the autodiscovery thinks we want to try building qt 4. A single post-configure change gets this working. Only took a few hours here (trying to go the qt4 route didn't work so well, and we had interesting endeavors trying to figure out how to get KDE headers to work).

Step 2: Build binutils

This wasn't all that hard at first. Configure ran nicely and without problems, and building... oops, there's a warning and someone turned on -Werror. Another reconfigure gets this building quickly.

Step 3: Build (cross-compiling) gcc

Configure... build... fail... reconfigure... rebuild... fail... Repeat for several hours. Make that days. Do I want these options? Or those options? Still failing. Try editing files mid-build, so if that gets it to work. And, no. Okay, let's try binutils again. Solution: make install binutils first, then build gcc. That works without problems.

Step 3.5: Test the build

I have a Makefile that just requires me to change a few lines to swap gcc versions and directories of everything. Do that, try it, and... it doesn't work. Something about libc not working correctly.

Step 4: Build newlib

By this point, I know the drill: copy the configure from elsewhere, configure, and build. Apparently there's a typo in one of the ARM assembly files. I teach myself a tiny bit more of ARM (this is turning out to be very educational!) and fix the file. Reconfigure, rebuild, install, and test again. This time, it's complaining about missing a few functions. I found some more documentation online, and wrote my own sbrk function (where "wrote" means copied from some file online and tweaked to make it build). Testing fails again, so I make myself a few more functions and everybody's happy.

Step 5: Build vba

As you might imagine, this one didn't work either. So many build errors. I look at what Debian did, so I ponder some more, talk it over with the other TAs, and give up. Skritch, skritch.

Step 5: Build vbam

This fork builds... oh, wait, I need cmake. Okay, this fork builds without problem. They don't have version package downloads for my build script to pull, so I just have it yank a specific svn revision. Nice, simple package to work with after the mess that is cross-compiling.

Step 6: Build gdb

No problems here. Worked fine the first time, no patching, no need to rebuild. Even the testing had no problems. Stunned me.

Step 7: Package and test on school computer

  1. Can't find
  2. cc1: /lib/ version `GLIBC_2.7' not found
  3. as: /lib/ version `GLIBC_2.7' not found
  4. (vbam) Segmentation fault
  1. Statically compile Not too hard...
  2. Statically link gcc. Not very trivial. Eventually, LDFLAGS=-static in the configure arguments works.
  3. Statically link as (and other binutils). This requires manually copying the final line and adding in the -static argument. Every time I rebuild binutils.
  4. Debug, find backtrace. It's in pthreads, called from SDL. Try statically linking SDL (no luck). Try using different SDL versions. Rebuild vbam with debug. Notice that the primary reason for fault is... no sound device. Patch vbam. Test again, it works!

For the sake of clarity, every time I had to test in the final step, I had to reupload the tarball, which started out at 49 MB and grew to 55 MB (thanks to static compilation). Sometimes I had to reupload it again, if the connection died in the middle (my internet connection started getting flaky... possibly related to the 100s of MB I was uploading a day. Or maybe the 100s of MB I was downloading (every time I restarted the script, it downloaded 100 MB of source archives....).

So, in short, I had to override build scripts for 2 different packages, patch another 2, and build 3 out of 5 packages statically. One package doesn't have a point release; the other three are spread out among three separate servers to download. Running the build script from scratch requires nearly 2GB of disk space and takes several hours. At least now I repackaged it in Makefile form so you don't have to restart all over from square one if you forgot to install cmake first. Building the final tarball requires a good minute on my system.

But, I've finally finished the experience. Plus, I won't have to do it again... after I build the 64-bit version.

1 comment:

William Yang said...

Story of my life, nearly.