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How to build and install beluga

This package provides no automated way to install; beluga is not a big compiler and manual installation is not quite difficult.

I wrote this guide based on installation onto my Gentoo Linux (x86-64) machine. Installing on non-Linux systems probably requires meaningful changes on the package; for example, headers to replace a part of the standard headers may vary.

In this document, the term beluga, depending on the context, refers to the compiler implementation or the whole package including a preprocessor and a driver.

Installation directory

Before installation, you need to determine directories into which built executables, supporting libraries and headers are placed. In this document, it is assumed that:

  • executables are placed in /usr/local/bin/
  • supporting libraries in /usr/local/lib32/bcc/
  • headers in /usr/local/lib32/bcc/include/ and
  • intermediate files in /tmp/.

As indicated by the paths, this means system-wide or global installation. Local installation is also possible by simply changing those paths to your local ones (always use absolute paths; e.g., /home/username/var/bin/ instead of ~/user/var/bin/ or ./var/bin/).

Some of this configuration has to be put into the following files that are incorporated to build beluga's driver, bcc:

  • bcc/host/beluga.h for the compiler (beluga)
  • bcc/host/as.h for the assembler (as) and
  • bcc/host/ld.h for the linker (ld).

If you find a directory under bcc/ to contain configuration to meet your needs, changing the simbolic link bcc/host to point to that directory will save you labor.

beluga.h for my system looks like:

/* "-D__STRICT_ANSI__", */
"-o", "$3",

The first line invokes beluga installed in /usr/local/bin/ and the rest specifies options to it. beluga.h is processed by #include and thus C comments exclude unnecessary lines. "$1", "$2" and "$3" have special meanings and will be replaced by user-provided options, an input file name and an output file name respectively. For example, when you run bcc with these options:

-I/path/to/headers -o foo.o -c foo.c

options to the preprocessor (-I/path/to/headers in this example) substitute for $1, foo.c does for $2. $3 is replaced by a generated temporary name to pass the result to the assembler.

beluga takes advantage of an assembler and a linker from the target system and you have to ensure the driver be able to access them by giving proper paths in as.h and ld.h.

This shows an example of as.h:

"-o", "$3",

The --32 option is to force the assembler to accept x86 assembly code on a x86-64 system; beluga is a 32-bit compiler while my system is 64-bit.

ld.h looks complicated:

"-m", "elf_i386",
"-dynamic-linker", "/lib/",
"-o", "$3",

In the linking phase, a set of start-up code and supporting libraries are linked to build an executable, which explains why there are many options to ld. The last one, xfloat.o is a support object file for compiler-provided float.h.

Search paths for system headers, necessary start-up files and paths to system libraries can be inspected by running an existing compiler (for example, gcc) with an option to display program invocations as in:

gcc -v hello.c

Configuration macros

When building beluga, it is necessary to define several macros properly to select optional features and to pass environmental information.

The following macros are used by ocelot that beluga depends on:

  • MEM_MAXALIGN: specifies the maximum alignment factor of storage returned by malloc(). 4 or 8 is a good choice on most systems.

The macros used in common include:

  • HAVE_COLOR: makes beluga generate diagnostics in color;
  • HAVE_ICONV: makes beluga take advantage of libiconv to process character encodings other than ASCII from input files, multibyte and wide characters/strings; and
  • SHOW_WARNCODE: makes beluga display options to control warnings when issueing them.

Macros for the preprocessor proper are:

  • HAVE_REALPATH: makes the preprocessor use realpath() for path canonicalization and include optimization;
  • DIR_SEPARATOR: a character to separate directories in paths. The default is / (no double quotes necessary). No need to change on Unix-like machines;
  • PATH_SEPARATOR: a character to separate paths in SYSTEM_HEADER_DIR. The default is : (no double quotes necessary); and
  • SYSTEM_HEADER_DIR: paths to search for system headers. This must be a C string, e.g., "/usr/include:/usr/local/include" (note double quotes).

Besides SYSTEM_HEADER_DIR used in build-time, there are two other ways to set search paths for system headers. One is, as already explained, giving --include-builtin options in beluga.h, and the other is using the environmental variable C_INCLUDE_PATH in run-time. These all specify system header paths.

-I options to the driver and the environmental variable CPATH exist for non-system header paths, and they are searched first before looking in system paths. The exact order in which header files are searched for is as follows:

  • the current working directory (only for #include "..."),
  • paths from bcc's -I options (in run-time),
  • paths from the environmental variable CPATH (in run-time)
  • paths from bcc's -isystem options (in run-time; system header paths start here),
  • paths from the environmental variable C_INCLUDE_PATH (in run-time)
  • paths from --include-builtin options given in beluga.h (in build-time)
  • paths from the macro SYSTEM_HEADER_DIR (in build-time) and
  • paths from -idirafter options (in run-time).

The -nostdinc option makes beluga skip system paths determined in build-time by --include-builtin and SYSTEM_HEADER_DIR; other paths are still inspected.

beluga does its best to ignore redundant paths and to keep non-system paths from overriding system ones; for example, -I /usr/include is silently ignored when bcc is built with --include-builtin=/usr/include.

Lastly, this macro is for the driver(bcc):

  • TMP_DIR: driver's temporary directory. This macro must end with a directory separator. The default is "/tmp/" (note the double quotes).

When passing a C string with the -D option, do not forget to escape double quotes with backslashes; for instance, -DTMP_DIR=\"var/tmp/\".

Building beluga

A usual setting to build beluga on a Unix-like machine is to run make on the project root as follows:


If you are on a x86-64 machine, it is necessary to add -m32 to both CFLAGS and LDFLAGS:


(Make sure that your system is able to build binaries for x86. For example, running yum install glibc-devel.i686 libgcc.i686 on Fedora-based distros and sudo apt-get install gcc-multilib on Ubuntu Linux brings necessary components.)

Successful build of beluga generates two executables, bcc and beluga in the build/ directory.

Copying files

The generated executables have to be copied into the directory you decided to make use of. Assuming you are on the project root,

cp build/{bcc,beluga} /usr/local/bin/

will do that. (Of course, ensure you have proper permission, e.g., by letting sudo run that command.)

Also copy a support object and headers to override existing ones:

mkdir -p /usr/local/lib32/bcc
cp build/xfloat.o /usr/local/lib32/bcc/
cp -Lr build/include /usr/local/lib32/bcc/

beluga utilizes and therefore needs to refer to existing libraries and headers for them. In order to avoid hard-coding a path to existing resources, it is useful to create a symbolic link to them, which /usr/local/lib32/bcc/gcc is for; for instance:

ln -s /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/4.9.3 /usr/local/lib32/bcc/gcc

on my machine. This path to gcc's resources was also obtained from gcc -v.

We have finished to install beluga. By compiling a small program that uses standard headers,

bcc -W -Wall hello.c

you can examine your installation. Or by adding CC=bcc when triggering make to build beluga, you can see beluga compile itself.

Any troubles?

If you encounter any problem while installing beluga, let me know so that I can help. The version of your distro and simple description of the problem would be enough.