Book Image

Embedded Linux Development Using Yocto Project Cookbook - Second Edition

By : Alex Gonzalez
Book Image

Embedded Linux Development Using Yocto Project Cookbook - Second Edition

By: Alex Gonzalez

Overview of this book

The Yocto Project has become the de facto distribution build framework for reliable and robust embedded systems with a reduced time to market.You'll get started by working on a build system where you set up Yocto, create a build directory, and learn how to debug it. Then, you'll explore everything about the BSP layer, from creating a custom layer to debugging device tree issues. In addition to this, you’ll learn how to add a new software layer, packages, data, scripts, and configuration files to your system. You will then cover topics based on application development, such as using the Software Development Kit and how to use the Yocto project in various development environments. Toward the end, you will learn how to debug, trace, and profile a running system. This second edition has been updated to include new content based on the latest Yocto release.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)
Title Page
Packt Upsell

Setting up the host system

This recipe will explain how to set up a host Linux system to use the Yocto Project.

Getting ready

The recommended way to develop an embedded Linux system is using a native Linux workstation. Development work using virtual machines, such as the Build Appliance, is discouraged, although they may be used for demo and test purposes.

Docker containers are increasingly used as they provide a maintainable way to build the same version of Yocto over the course of several years, which is a common need for embedded systems with long product lifetimes. We will cover using Docker as a Yocto build system in the Using Docker as a Yocto build system container recipe in this same chapter.

Yocto builds all the components mentioned before from scratch, including the cross-compilation toolchain and the native tools it needs, so the Yocto build process is demanding in terms of processing power and both hard drive space and I/O.

Although Yocto will work fine on machines with lower specifications, for professional developers' workstations, it is recommended to use symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems with 8 GB or more system memory and a high capacity, fast hard drive, and solid state drives (SSD) if possible. Due to different bottlenecks in the build process, there does not seem to be much improvement above eight CPUs or around 16 GB RAM.

The first build will also download all the sources from the internet, so a fast internet connection is also recommended.

How to do it...

Yocto supports several Linux host distributions, and each Yocto release will document a list of the supported ones. Although the use of a supported Linux distribution is strongly advised, Yocto is able to run on any Linux system if it has the following dependencies:

  • Git or greater
  • Tar 1.27 or greater
  • Python 3.4.0 or greater

Yocto also provides a way to install the correct version of these tools by either downloading a buildtools-tarball or building one on a supported machine. This allows virtually any Linux distribution to be able to run Yocto, and also makes sure that it will be possible to replicate your Yocto build system in the future. The Yocto Project build system also isolates itself from the host distribution's C library, which makes it possible to share build caches between different distributions and also helps in future-proofing the build system. This is important for embedded products with long-term availability requirements.

This book will use the Ubuntu 16.04 Long-Term Stable (LTS) Linux distribution for all examples. Instructions to install on other Linux distributions can be found in the Supported Linux Distributions section of the Yocto Project Reference Manual, but the examples will only be tested with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

To make sure you have the required package dependencies installed for Yocto and to follow the examples in the book, run the following command from your shell:

$ sudo apt-get install gawk wget git-core diffstat unzip texinfo gcc-multilib build-essential chrpath socat libsdl1.2-dev xterm bmap-tools make xsltproc docbook-utils fop dblatex xmlto cpio python python3 python3-pip python3-pexpect xz-utils debianutils iputils-ping python-git bmap-tools python3-git curl parted dosfstools mtools gnupg autoconf automake libtool  libglib2.0-dev python-gtk2  bsdmainutils  screen libstdc++-5-dev libx11-dev


Downloading the example codeYou can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit and register to have the files emailed directly to you. The example code in the book can be accessed through several GitHub repositories at Follow the instructions on GitHub to obtain a copy of the source in your computer.

You will also need to configure the Git revision control software as follows:

$ git config --global "[email protected]"$ git config --global "Your Name"

How it works...

The preceding command uses apt-get, the Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) command-line tool. It is a frontend of the dpkg package manager that is included in the Ubuntu distribution. It will install all the required packages and their dependencies to support all the features of the Yocto Project as well as the examples in this book.

Git is a distributed source control versioning system under the General Public License v2 (GNU) originally developed by Linus Torvalds for the development of the Linux kernel. Since then, it has become the standard for many open source projects. Git will be the tool of choice for source version control used in this book.

There's more...

If build times are an important factor for you, there are certain steps you can take when preparing your disks to optimize them even further:

  • Place the build directories on their own disk partition or a fast external solid state drive.
  • Use the ext4 filesystem but configure it not to use journalism on your Yocto-dedicated partitions. Be aware that power losses may corrupt your build data.
  • Mount the filesystem in such a way that read times are not written/recorded on file reads, disable write barriers, and delay committing filesystem changes with the following mount options:

These changes reduce the data integrity safeguards, but with the separation of the build directories to their own disk, failures would only affect temporary build data, which can be erased and regenerated.

See also