GObject Introspection for Yocto & OpenEmbedded
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
#1 Compare This branch is 5 commits ahead, 1 commit behind locust2001:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


META-GIR -- GObject Introspection for Yocto & OpenEmbedded


G-I is not an easy technology to support in a cross-compiling environment, as is attested by the fact that even though g-i has been around for years, Yocto / OE support is still missing. There are reasons for this: the technology per se is cross-compilation unfriendly (i.e., g-i typelib is a raw dump of a C struct), the tools are even more so, particularly the scanner (written in Python, but using a custom python module, executing C compiler, ldd, and the compiled product), and, to add an extra bit of spice, a single repository and build system combining the tools, the consumer library and collection of typelibs.

The approach taken here is to use Qemu to allow running the tools in their target environment, which, in spite of the obvious limitation (Qemu does not support architecture XYZ I hear you say!), is the only viable approach at the moment (other options, such as using IDL, have been discussed over the years, but came to nought). Both gir and typelib generation is done under Qemu; in principle the former could be done natively, but that would require building far too many packages in their full native form, which is undesirable.

In order to work around the 'lump it all together' setup of the upstream gobject-introspection project, four separate recipes are used to build g-i with four different sets of patches and configuration:

  • libgirepository: The primary package providing the consumer library for the target (with the tools included in the dev sub package).

  • g-ir-core: A collection of typelibs and gir files that are included in the upstream gobject-introspection project for good measure; for the target.

  • g-ir-tools-native: Provides the python-based tools, g-ir-scanner and g-ir-annotation-tool, built for execution on the host. The 'native' designation is a half truth, the scanner runs the C cross-compiler, uses ldd on the compilation product, which it then executes. These steps are again facilitated via Qemu and a set of wrapper scripts (which are, however, provided by the next package).

  • g-ir-tools-host: Provides the two C-based tools, g-ir-compiler and g-ir-generate, built for the target, but, together with a bunch of Qemu wrapper scripts staged into the native multi-machine bin directory, since these are intended solely for build-time execution on the host, even though built for target.

Layer Organisation

The meta-gir repository consists of three separate layers, to make it easier to pick and choose as required:

  • meta-gir: classes and packages that provide the tools and infrastructure for g-i support.

  • meta-gir-core: bbappends that enable g-i for packages that are part of openembedded-core.

Enabling g-i in packages

Package enabling is facilitated by the g-ir.bbclass. For simple and sensibly set up upstream projects all that is required is to inherit g-ir (e.g., the libsoup-2.4 bbappend). For more complex projects, that build multiple libraries in different sub directories of their tree, it is also necessary to set up the library loading paths (e.g., the gtk+3 bbappend). Some packages ship their own version of the introspection autoconf macros; the g-ir class takes care of the common case where the project contains m4/introspection.m4, but packages that use other arrangements will require either a small configure fragment to remove the offending file, or a patch (e.g., the pango and gst-plugins bbappends).

For ease of tweaking the g-i parameters, the following configuration variables (with self-documenting names ;-) ) can be set in the recipes:


Of these, the first one is most often needed (and holds the usual, colon separated, extra path to be used by the tools when resolving shared libs).

If you wish to add gir packages to an image via EXTRA_IMAGE_FEATURES, you need to define the complementary glob somewhere suitable:

COMPLEMENTARY_GLOB[gir-pkgs] = '*-gir'

You can then use 'gir-pkgs' as a standard image feature, and you will almost certainly want to add 'gir-pkgs' to SDKIMAGE_FEATURES as well.


Need to update gir to latest stable version.

Known Issues

  • The scripts expect bash; if anybody feels strong enough about rewriting them, there is a free line awaiting in the AUTHORS file ...