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[TUTO] Build Qt to cross compile for arm

  • Hi there, i didn't know where to post that, so i post it here. For a few days now i've been trying to build Qt from source to cross compile my apps for an arm architecture ( pcduino for me ). I've not find a lot of help online, so as i've finally managed to cross compile my qt projects, i've decided to post online what i've done.

    I advice you to create a folder where you'll place everything you'll download below, I created the folder /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/

    First : Download qt-sdk

    I've used the 4.8.5 verson of Qt ( i've never tried with another version it might not function the same way )
    You can download it here : QT 4.8.5
    Or use : wget -c
    Once it's downloaded, extract it.
    You can use this to uncompress your tar.gz : tar xzvf qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5.tar.gz

    Second : Download the ARM compiler

    You can download it here : ARM Compiler
    Or do just like before : wget -c
    As you did with the Qt archive you can uncompress it with : tar xJf gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux.tar.xz

    At this step you're supposed to have two folder in your installQt directory :

    • qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5
    • gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux

    You can check the compiler by doing /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc --version

    It should print you something like that :

    arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc (crosstool-NG linaro-1.13.1-4.8-2013.10 - Linaro GCC 2013.10) 4.8.2 20131014 (prerelease)
    Copyright © 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    Ce logiciel est libre; voir les sources pour les conditions de copie. Il n'y a PAS GARANTIE; ni implicite pour le MARCHANDAGE ou pour un BUT PARTICULIER.

    I guess it adapts itself to your PC's langage, you should get something like that but in your langage.

    Third : Adapt the qmake.conf file of the qt-sqk you've downloaded

    Modify the file /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/mksepcs/qws/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++/qmake.conf
    You can do it with your favorite text editor, for example : vi /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/mksepcs/qws/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++/qmake.conf
    The not modified version should looks like this :

    # qmake configuration for building with arm-none-linux-gnueabi-g++


    # modifications to g++.conf
    QMAKE_CC = arm-none-linux-gnueabihf-gcc
    QMAKE_CXX = arm-none-linux-gnueabihf-g++
    QMAKE_LINK = arm-none-linux-gnueabihf-g++
    QMAKE_LINK_SHLIB = arm-none-inux-gnueabihf-g++

    # modifications to linux.conf
    QMAKE_AR = arm-linux-gnueabihf-ar cqs
    QMAKE_OBJCOPY = arm-linux-gnueabihf-objcopy*
    QMAKE_STRIP = arm-linux-gnueabihf-strip*


    So you have to modify that file so it references to the compiler you've just downloaded.
    After you've modified it, it should looks like that :

    # qmake configuration for building with arm-none-linux-gnueabi-g++


    # modifications to g++.conf
    QMAKE_CC = /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc
    QMAKE_CXX = /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++
    QMAKE_LINK = /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++
    QMAKE_LINK_SHLIB = /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++

    # modifications to linux.conf
    QMAKE_AR = /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-ar cqs
    QMAKE_OBJCOPY = /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-objcopy
    QMAKE_STRIP = /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-strip


    When it's all done your qmake.conf is adapted and you're ready for the next part

    Fourth : Execute the Qt configure

    Go to /home/<yourUserName>/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/

    Execute this command to install Qt in the /usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/ directory : ./configure -opensource -confirm-license -prefix /usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm -embedded arm -little-endian -no-pch -xplatform qws/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++

    This might take a little while don't worry that's normal.

    Fifth : Execute the make

    When the ./configure is done, you just have to execute a make.
    It's an operation that can really take a long time, to reduce it you can use all your CPU's cores for the make. To know how many cores you have execute : grep -c ^processor /proc/cpuinfo
    Once you'll know how many core your CPU has you can use the option -j<numberOfCore + 1> with the make.

    On the machine i've executed the make I had 8 cores, so I used the option -j9 for the make

    To execute the make use : make -j<numberOfCore + 1> ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-

    Note : The first time i launched the make i had an error about QSharedMemory line 65:5, something like that, if that happens, repete the fourth step : Execute the Qt configure. it should fix it, i've no idea how but it does.

    When the make is finished you can run : sudo make install

    Sixth : Configuring Qt

    In Qtcreator, the basical Qt IDE :

    • just select the right qmake, here it's the one in the /usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/bin/ directory
    • And select the right compiler which in our case is this one : /home/<yourUserName>/installQt/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++

    Then in the project tab add :

    • The argument -spec linux-arm-gnueabi-g++ for the qmake
    • And the argument ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=/home/franck/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf- for the make

    At this step, the qmake executes itself correctly, it creates a Makefile, this one is fine and the make executes correctly aswell

    Seventh : Compilation in command line

    For some reason i had to compile my project in command line, so i put it here just in case someone would have to aswell.

    First you have to run the qmake

    The command line that shall execute the qmake is : "<PathToTheQMake" '<>' -r CONFIG+=debug -spec <Compiler>

    So lets imagine i've created a project, let's call it random for exemple the command for my configuration and the project random would be : "/usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/bin/qmake" 'home/<yourUserName>/projetQt/Random/' CONFIG+=debug -spec linux-arm-gnueabihf-g++

    Once the qmake is done, it has create for you a Makefile, so you just have to run : make to obtain your executable.

    You can check your executable by doing : file <NameOfExecutable>
    It should print you some stuff and somewhere in it you should find ARCH=arm or something like that.

    Eighth : Script that does it for you

    For the lazy ones i've created a litlle script, that i know can be improved by many ways but that works and is enough for me for now.
    Here is a functionnal version just adapt the lines 90 to 96, change the username felix by your's.
    GitHub Link

    Here is another on that should adapt itself, but that i've not tested yet. As soon as i can confirm it works i'll comfirm it
    GitHub Link

  • Hi and welcome

    thanks for sharing. I think that would still go into the wiki section.

  • Hello (ou plutôt bonjour ;) )

    After QT is configured, installed, everything is configured in QT creator and i make an application.
    Can i simply copy/paste it in the bin folder of my embedded device or must i copy first some libraries or others stuff on the device ? I tried your tuto and had no problem (aside from a very slow "make"...). I went in QT creator and created a single QT widget application (a window with a button launching a message box), it built in the release folder. But when trying to run it on my board with a ./nameofthefile (and with chmod 755 it) i have an error "applet not found" which make me think either i am missing things on my board or i needed to add somethign to the configuration.

    Still thank you for this help !

  • @wowy

    In my case after compiling the app, i copied it on my pcDuino, I didn't have the same problem than you but another one, i've no interface, my application is started ( a tcpclient that connect to a tcpserver over internet ) i receive it's connection on the PC that run the tcp server. But at the launch of the app it prints me two things, the first one cannot open shared object file no such file or directory and another one releving to DBUS.

    EDIT : Those problems don't come from a bad compilation but from the pcDuino itself, don't worry this tuto is functionnal.

    I'm sorry i can't help you on that point, and i'll only can get back to work on the pcDuino by monday or tuesday next week to solve these 2 problems.

    I only can advice you to google the message the executable prints you.
    I've made a quick research online for you, it seems to be some problem with the PATH or with some links, i'm sorry i can't help on that, i'll edit my main post by next week with my solution for the pcDuino problems.

    Hope you'll find a solution asap.

    Au revoir ;)

  • @koahnig Thank you for the fast answer, it's my pleisure to share that little tuto.
    By the way should I move it to the wiki section ?

  • @Spader42
    On your arm device, do you have a screen/touch screen and needed to use tslib for it ?

  • @Spader42

    Hi, I am sorry to bother you, but could you tell me if I could use that cross-compile toolchain and procedure for a BeagleBone Black running Debian?

  • I am sorry to bother you guys but I'm trying to follow this tutorial and I get stuck in the next part:

    ./configure -opensource...

    I get the following message: "make: g++: Command not found" AND "make: *** [project.o] Error 127
    I am currently working on a ubuntu 64 bits Machine mounted on VirtualBox and my target is a BeagleBone Black running Debian. Take it as if I had no knowledge what so ever because it is practically that way. Any advice that you could give me is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • I have follow all the steps...and i am able to create a makefile for arm architecture...but getting error in make...i am working on qt5.5

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    @citiustech Hi! What is the error you get?

  • do you have any steps for cross compile qt5.5 for arm

  • QOpenglwidget file is included in my is build on qt5.5. but giving file error while make using QT4.8 that QOpenGLWidget no such file.

  • Lifetime Qt Champion


    That's because QOpenGLWidget is a new class of Qt 5. Qt 4 has QGLWidget.

  • Thank for your valueable reply

  • i am trying to build qt5.5 for arm but getting error while build.
    i am using ./configue -xplatform inux-arm-gnueabi-g++ command. it gives openssl error. openssl.h no such file?

    can you please suggest

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    Unless you specified that you want OpenSSL support it should not stop the build. If you want OpenSSL support then you need to provide that dependencies for your target.

  • DO you have any Build steps like QT4.8.5 for QT5.5?

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    That usually depends partly on the device you are targeting.

  • i am cross compiling qt for cubieboard 4.
    can you please suggest me ./configure command ?

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    I don't know this board but a quick search returns this blog entry which step 4 is likely what you are looking for to get started.

  • Hello. The above solution is working fine for no-opengl.
    once opengl es2 enable for cross compile it gives opengl functionality test failed error. i have copied all the GL/GLES2 file from arm board to ubuntu pc and edit qmake.conf file. but it gives the same error.
    how to cross compile qt for arm with opengl. can you please suggest?

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    The headers are not enough, did you also copied the libraries ?

  • Hello,
    I know this is a late reply, but hopefully someone is still reading this thread and active. I followed all the steps, and have everything setup. I compiled the file, but when I try and run the make I get an error saying their is no such file or directory of QGLWidget.
    I am looking for assistance as to how I can rectify this problem, and finally get my applications building and running. I have included the terminal log below:

    /home/sam/Downloads/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/bin/qmake -spec qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/mkspecs/qws/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++ CONFIG+=debug -o Makefile ../Qt5.0.2/5.0.2/gcc/examples/opengl/2dpainting/
    /home/sam/Downloads/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.8-2013.10_linux/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++ -c -pipe -g -Wall -W -D_REENTRANT -DQT_OPENGL_LIB -DQT_GUI_LIB -DQT_NETWORK_LIB -DQT_CORE_LIB -DQT_SHARED -Iqt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/mkspecs/qws/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++ -I../Qt5.0.2/5.0.2/gcc/examples/opengl/2dpainting -I/usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/include/QtCore -I/usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/include/QtNetwork -I/usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/include/QtGui -I/usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/include/QtOpenGL -I/usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/include -I. -I../Qt5.0.2/5.0.2/gcc/examples/opengl/2dpainting -I. -o glwidget.o ../Qt5.0.2/5.0.2/gcc/examples/opengl/2dpainting/glwidget.cpp
    In file included from ../Qt5.0.2/5.0.2/gcc/examples/opengl/2dpainting/glwidget.cpp:41:0:
    ../Qt5.0.2/5.0.2/gcc/examples/opengl/2dpainting/glwidget.h:44:21: fatal error: QGLWidget: No such file or directory
    #include <QGLWidget>


  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    Hi and welcome to devnet,

    Are you trying to build a Qt 5 example with Qt 4 ?

  • Yes I am, wow I am an idiot.
    If I try to use a qt 4 example should it work?

  • So I am using the proper example now, it compiles, but when I run the make It says:

    make: Nothing to be done for 'first'.

    I have attached the entire command and response below:

    sam@sam-VirtualBox:~/Downloads$ "/home/sam/Downloads/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/bin/qmake" '/home/sam/classwizard/' -r CONFIG+=debug -spec /home/sam/Downloads/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.5/mkspecs/qws/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++
    sam@sam-VirtualBox:~/Downloads$ make
    make: Nothing to be done for `first'.

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    Did you cross-compile Qt ? If so did you install it ?

  • I thought I built it for ARM and it would just run on its own.
    Do I need Qt installed on my ARM hardware?
    When I move the folder to my ARM hardware I get this error when I try to run it:
    ./classwizard: undefined symbol: _ZN7QWidget8qwsEventEP8QSEvent

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    Looks like you cross-compiled your application with Qt 4 and try to run it against Qt 5.

  • I have Qt 4 on my arm device, but I am still getting the same error. Not sure what to do here?
    I have Qt 4 on Raspbian on a Raspberry Pi 3 model B.
    Not sure why this error keeps coming up.

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    Because the Qt 4 you have installed with Raspbian is a standard Qt build for ARM not a Qt for embedded device build.

    You have have to cross-compile your Qt 4 again without the embedded option.

  • But the Qt I have on my linux where I built the project is for ARM. Its the one for this project.
    So should I just use the build from this post on my pi?

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    I didn't say the contrary: both builds are valid. The one you have on your desktop machine is a Qt For Embedded Linux build which uses QWS while on your Raspbian you have a standard as in "desktop standard" build of Qt 4.

    It depends on how you want to use your application on your Pi. If its the QWS functionality that you need then you have to install your self-built Qt 4 on the Pi.

  • What if I just created a deb package on my Linux machine, and then used that on the Pi?
    Or is it better to just do the custom build? (really dont want to do that painful process)
    Is this a guide I can use as a base for this build?:

  • So I managed to compile and run a Hello World project. Creating the make and executable on my Linux with this ARM build. Then moving it onto the Pi and running it. But when I try anything more complex I am getting the same error.

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    Again: this is an Qt for Embedded Linux build see the -embedded arm configure option. Thus my question, are you going to use the X Server of your Pi ?

    If yes, you have to rebuild Qt without the embedded options but keep the ARM target.

    If no, then one basic option is to copy the content of the cross-compiled Qt installation folder over to your Pi at the same place and you should be good to go (you can later remove stuff like the host tools headers etc.)

  • How can I do this compilation with opengl?

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    Which version of Qt are you currently using ?

  • Execute this command to install Qt in the /usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/ directory : ./configure -opensource -confirm-license -prefix /usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm -embedded arm -little-endian -no-pch -xplatform qws/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++

    In this step Did you create /usr/local/Qt-4.8.5-arm/ directory ? or Did created by qt creator when installitaion?

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