Buildroot 2018.11 released, Bootlin contributions inside

Buildroot logoThe 2018.11 release of Buildroot was published a few days ago. As is well-known, Bootlin is a strong contributor to this project, and this blog post proposes a summary of the new features provided by 2018.11, and highlights the contributions made by Bootlin.

What’s new in 2018.11 ?

  • From a CPU architecture support point of view, by far the most important addition is support for the RISC-V 64 architecture. For now, only the 64-bit version of the architecture is supported, but the patches for the 32-bit version have been posted already, and will hopefully be merged for the next release. It is worth mentioning that we have already used the RISC-V 64 support in Buildroot to provide a pre-built toolchain for this architecture on our site.
  • In the toolchain support area, the most important change is that glibc was upgraded to version 2.28. This caused a number of build issues with various packages, which were detected by the project autobuilders and fixed. musl was bumped to version 1.1.20, and the ARM (formerly Linaro) pre-built toolchains for ARM and AArch64 were updated.
  • The support for hardening flags, i.e flags passed to gcc to improve the “security” of programs, has been changed, and is now done directly as part of the compiler wrapper that Buildroot has. Indeed, when using Buildroot, arm-linux-gcc is not directly the usual gcc compiler, but a small wrapper program that Buildroot uses to make sure we always pass the appropriate flags when calling the cross-compiler. Passing those hardening flags through the wrapper allowed to solve a number of build issues. Options such as BR2_RELRO_PARTIAL, BR2_RELRO_FULL, BR2_SSP_REGULAR, BR2_SSP_STRONG and BR2_SSP_ALL should therefore work better now.
  • In terms of filesystem images, while Buildroot already supports the most popular filesystem types, two additional filesystems are now supported: btrfs and f2fs.
  • A number of new default configuration for various boards have been added: Amarula a64-relic, Bananapi m2 ultra, Embest riotboard, Hardkernel Odroid XU-4, QEMU riscv64-virt.
  • A number of packages have been added: bird, bluez5_utils-headers, btrfs-progs, checksec, davici, duktape, ell, haproxy, libclc, libcorrect, libopencl, libopenresolv, nss-myhostname, riscv-pk, sedutil, spandsp, tini, waffle, xapian, not counting the dozens of new Perl and Python modules that have been added.

Bootlin contributions

By far and large, the most significant contribution from Bootlin to Buildroot is the activity of Thomas Petazzoni as a co-maintainer for the project. Out of the 1366 commits made between the 2018.08 and 2018.11 release, Thomas authored 126 commits, but more importantly reviewed and merged 883 patches from other developers, or in other words 64% of the commits that have been made.

As part of the 127 commits Bootlin contributed, we:

  • Fixed a large number of build issues reported by the autobuilder, or by the CI testing the build of our defconfigs.
  • Introduced a make check-package target to more easily use Buildroot check-package tool to verify the coding style of packages.
  • Updated the musl C library to 1.1.20.
  • Updated the Solidrun MacchiatoBin defconfigs (board powered by a Marvell Armada 8K processor) to use the most recent kernel, U-Boot and ATF versions.
  • Started adding a virtual package for opencl.
  • Fixed a number of missing dependencies on host-pkgconf (i.e pkg-config) which were detected by our work on per-package directories, that we will discuss in a future blog post.

Here is the detailed list of our contributions to this release:

Author: Thomas Petazzoni

Thomas Petazzoni is CTO and embedded Linux and kernel engineer at Bootlin. He is a lead developer of Buildroot and also a contributor to the Linux kernel. More details...

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