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Building GHDL from Sources

Download

GHDL can be downloaded as a zip-file/tar-file (latest 'master' branch) or cloned with git clone from GitHub. GitHub offers HTTPS and SSH as transfer protocols. See the :ref:`RELEASE:Sources` page for further details.

Important

Since GHDL is written in Ada, independently of the code generator you use, the a compiler is required. Most GNU/Linux package managers provide a package named gcc-ada or gcc-gnat. Alternatively, GNU Ada compiler, GNAT GPL, can be downloaded anonymously from libre.adacore.com (2014, or later; for x86, 32 or 64 bits). Then, untar and run the doinstall script.

Available back-ends

GHDL currently supports three different back-ends (code generators):

  • mcode - built-in x86 (or x86_64) code generator
  • GCC - Gnu Compiler Collection (gcc.gnu.org)
  • LLVM - Low-Level Virtual Machine (llvm.org)

Here is a short comparison, so that you can choose the one you want to use:

Back-end Pros Cons
:ref:`mcode <BUILD:mcode>`
  • Very easy to build
  • Very quick analysis
  • Can handle very large designs
  • Simulation is slower
  • x86_64/i386 only
:ref:`LLVM <BUILD:llvm>`
  • Generated code is faster
  • Generated code can be debugged (with -g)
  • Easier to build than GCC
  • Ported to many platforms (x86, x86_64, armv7/aarch64)
  • Build is more complex than mcode
:ref:`GCC <BUILD:gcc>`
  • Generated code is faster (particularly with -O or -O2)
  • Generated code can be debugged (with -g)
  • Ported to many platforms (x86, x86_64, PowerPC, SPARC)
  • Build is even more complex
  • Analysis can take time (particularly for large units)
  • Code coverage collection (gcov) is unique to GCC
.. toctree::
   :hidden:

   Directories
   mcode
   LLVM
   GCC

Hint

The output of both GCC and LLVM is an executable file, but mcode does not generate any. Therefore, if using GCC/LLVM, the call with argument -r can be replaced with direct execution of the binary. See section :ref:`USING:QuickStart`.

After making your choice, you can jump to the corresponding section. However, we suggest you to read :ref:`BUILD:dir_structure` first, so that you know where the content will be placed and which files are expected to be created.

Hint

In these instructions, the configure script is executed in the source directory; but you can execute in a different directory too, like this:

$ mkdir ghdl-objs
$ cd ghdl-objs
$ ../path/to/ghdl/configure ...

Hint

On Windows, building GHDL with mcode backend and GNAT GPL 32 bit seems to be the only way to get a standalone native executable.

  • MINGW/MSYS2 builds depend on the environment/runtime.
  • For 64 bit, no native compiler exists from AdaCore.
  • That Ada to .NET compiler, which might work for 32 or 64 bit. is not up-to-date.
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