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MXE Plugins

Overview

MXE aims to provide a stable toolchain and feature-rich set of libraries to be as broadly applicable as possible. Many use cases fall outside this main objective and plugins are a way to bridge the gap without official framework support.

The most common cases include:

Additional packages
  • building handy tools to run on host
  • cross-compiled interpreters and packages
  • examples of packaging complete builds for projects using MXE

The apps, luarocks, and native directories are generally supported by the project, each plugin package should have an identified $(PKG)_OWNER as a primary contact familiar with the specifics of the plugin.

Customisation
  • alternate compiler versions
  • minimal features/dependencies
  • building a host toolchain

The examples and gcc* directories contain some starting points for experiments or long-lived customisations. Attempts to do such things with git branches can lead to an outdated core MXE and using plugins allows a nice separation while still keeping all local changes under source control.

These are experimental and will be deprecated over time as framework support is added to handle the various forms of customisation.

Internal MXE uses

The native plugin contains sub-directories with symlinks to a subset of packages in the parent directory. These "sub-plugins" are automatically activated on certain systems where the standard package-manager versions are known to cause issues. These are supported but subject to change or removal over time and should not be used directly.

Usage

The current implementation is very lightweight and a plugin is simply a directory containing *.mk files. When a plugin is activated with:

make MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS=/path/to/foo

MXE will:

  • include all core packages
  • include /path/to/foo/*.mk
  • create a target for each *.mk file
  • create an all-foo target

Multiple plugins can be activated on the command line with an escaped space-separated list:

make MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS='/path/to/foo /path/to/foo2'

To ensure plugins are activated across multiple invocations of make, the MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS variable must always be specified either on the command line or by adding an entry in settings.mk

N.B. Setting MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS via the environment is not guaranteed to work in future versions.

For example, if you want to build keepassx from the apps plugin with a minimal qt run:

make keepassx MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS='plugins/examples/custom-qt-min plugins/apps'

To build all packages in luarocks:

$ make all-luarocks MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS=plugins/luarocks

To always use your desired plugin:

echo 'override MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS += /path/to/foo' >> settings.mk

Note that multiple entries in settings.mk should not be escaped:

echo 'override MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS += /path/to/foo /path/to/foo2' >> settings.mk

To review which plugins are activated, use the gmsl-print-* target:

make gmsl-print-MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS MXE_PLUGIN_DIRS='/foo /bar'

Creating plugins

The two main use cases lead to different styles of plugin. The first case of additional packages follows normal MXE guidelines and reviewing the contents of src/*.mk, or the apps and luarocks plugins should help getting started. This type of package will also work with normal MXE features such as updates and patches.

The customisation style (override/overlay) can be trickier since any arbitrary make statements can be used. Most normal variables should be overridden with simply expanded variables i.e. using := instead of =. For example, to change a package version:

PKG             := foo
$(PKG)_VERSION  := 1.2.3
$(PKG)_CHECKSUM := 09c4c85cab...

In this case, the behaviour of make update-package-foo may not be able to determine the correct file to update with the new version and checksum and make may not detect that the target should be rebuilt (depending on how files are named). This is an on-going work that will be addressed.

To change the set of patches applied:

foo_PATCHES := /path/to/first.patch /path/to/second.patch

To apply no patches:

foo_PATCHES :=

To alter dependencies and components:

qt_DEPS := cc dbus jpeg libmng libpng openssl tiff zlib

qt_BUILD := \
    $(subst -accessibility ,-no-accessibility ,\
    $(subst -qt-sql-,-no-sql-,\
    $(qt_BUILD)))

qt_BUILD_SHARED := \
    $(subst -static ,-shared ,\
    $(subst -no-webkit ,-webkit ,\
    $(qt_BUILD)))

Note the order of inclusion is indeterminate so multiple plugins should not be chained or attempt to add/modify the same package.

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