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This is the second generation of musl-cross-make, a fast, simple, but advanced makefile-based approach for producing musl-targeting cross compilers. Features include:

  • Single-stage GCC build, used to build both musl libc and its own shared target libs depending on libc.

  • No hard-coded absolute paths; resulting cross compilers can be copied/moved anywhere.

  • Ability to build multiple cross compilers for different targets using a single set of patched source trees.

  • Nothing is installed until running make install, and the installation location can be chosen at install time.

  • Automatic download of source packages, including GCC prerequisites (GMP, MPC, MPFR), using https and checking hashes.

  • Automatic patching with canonical musl support patches and patches which provide bug fixes and features musl depends on for some arch targets.


The build system can be configured by providing a config.mak file in the top-level directory. The only mandatory variable is TARGET, which should contain a gcc target tuple (such as i486-linux-musl), but many more options are available. See the provided config.mak.dist and presets/* for examples.

To compile, run make. To install to $(OUTPUT), run make install.

The default value for $(OUTPUT) is output; after installing here you can move the cross compiler toolchain to another location as desired.

Supported TARGETs

The following is a non-exhaustive list of $(TARGET) tuples that are believed to work:

  • aarch64[_be]-linux-musl
  • arm[eb]-linux-musleabi[hf]
  • i*86-linux-musl
  • microblaze[el]-linux-musl
  • mips-linux-musl
  • mips[el]-linux-musl[sf]
  • mips64[el]-linux-musl[n32][sf]
  • powerpc-linux-musl[sf]
  • powerpc64[le]-linux-musl
  • riscv64-linux-musl
  • s390x-linux-musl
  • sh*[eb]-linux-musl[fdpic][sf]
  • x86_64-linux-musl[x32]

How it works

The current musl-cross-make is factored into two layers:

  1. The top-level Makefile which is responsible for downloading, verifying, extracting, and patching sources, and for setting up a build directory, and

  2. Litecross, the cross compiler build system, which is itself a Makefile symlinked into the build directory.

Most of the real magic takes place in litecross. It begins by setting up symlinks to all the source trees provided to it by the caller, then builds a combined src_toolchain directory of symlinks that combines the contents of the top-level gcc and binutils source trees and symlinks to gmp, mpc, and mpfr. One configured invocation them configures all the GNU toolchain components together in a manner that does not require any of them to be installed in order for the others to use them.

Rather than building the whole toolchain tree at once, though, litecross starts by building just the gcc directory and its prerequisites, to get an xgcc that can be used to configure musl. It then configures musl, installs musl's headers to a staging "build sysroot", and builds libgcc.a using those headers. At this point it has all the prerequisites to build musl libc.a and, which the rest of the gcc target-libs depend on; once they are built, the full toolchain make all can proceed.

Litecross does not actually depend on the musl-cross-make top-level build system; it can be used with any pre-extracted, properly patched set of source trees.

Project scope and goals

The primary goals of this project are to:

  • Provide canonical musl support patches for GCC and binutils.

  • Serve as a canonical example of how GCC should be built to target musl.

  • Streamline the production of musl-targeting cross compilers so that musl users can easily produce musl-linked applications or bootstrap new systems using musl.

  • Assist musl and toolchain developers in development and testing.

While the patches applied to GCC and binutils are all intended not to break non-musl configurations, musl-cross-make itself is specific to musl. Changes to add support for exotic target variants outside of what upstream musl supports are probably out-of-scope unless they are non-invasive. Changes to fix issues building musl-cross-make to run on non-Linux systems are well within scope as long as they are clean.

Most importantly, this is a side project to benefit musl and its users. It's not intended to be something high-maintenance or to divert development effort away from musl itself.

Patches included

In addition to canonical musl support patches for GCC, musl-cross-make's patch set provides:

  • Static-linked PIE support
  • Addition of --enable-default-pie
  • Fixes for SH-specific bugs and bitrot in GCC
  • Support for J2 Core CPU target in GCC & binutils
  • SH/FDPIC ABI support

Most of these patches are integrated in gcc trunk/binutils master. They should also be usable with Gregor's original musl-cross or other build systems, if desired.

Some functionality (SH/FDPIC, and support for J2 specific features) is presently only available with gcc 5.2.0 and later, and binutils 2.25.1 and later.


The musl-cross-make build tools and documentation are licensed under the MIT/Expat license as found in the LICENSE file.

Note that this license does not cover the patches (patches/) or resulting binary artifacts.

Each patch (patches/) is distributed under the terms of the license of the upstream project to which it is applied.

Similarly, any resulting binary artifacts produced using this build tooling retain the original licensing from the upstream projects. The authors of musl-cross-make do not make any additional copyright claims to these artifacts.


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution submitted for inclusion in musl-cross-make by you shall be licensed as above without any additional terms or conditions.