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While Player is most often used on laptop- or workstation-class machines, it is also intended to run on less powerful embedded systems. Over the years, Player has been used on a variety of such systems, including the iPaq, Intel Stayton, nanoEngine, and Gumstix. These systems are not powerful enough to run a compiler, and they generally have a different architecture from your desktop machine (e.g., ARM instead of x86), which means that you need to cross-compile programs to run on them.

This document gives some guidance to help in cross-compiling Player. Beware that cross-compiling is fairly complicated, and that the information given here is by no means a complete treatment of the subject.

UPDATE: If you are trying to cross-compile player with bitBake and openembedded please follow this guide

Using the new CMake build system

Player recently moved away from the autotools to use CMake for building. Also, the gumstix buildroot has matured somewhat. So much of the information below this section is out of date, but is left here to support working with older code.

The new way to cross-compile Player:

  • Create a file that tells CMake where your toolchain is installed. It might look like this:
# Cross-compilation setup
# This file is passed to cmake on the command line via
# -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE.  It gets read first, prior to any of cmake's
# system tests.
# This is the place to configure your cross-compiling environment.
# An example for using the gumstix arm-linux toolchain is given below.
# Uncomment to try it out.
set(CMAKE_C_COMPILER /opt/arm-linux/bin/arm-linux-gcc)
set(CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER /opt/arm-linux/bin/arm-linux-g++)
set(CMAKE_FIND_ROOT_PATH /opt/arm-linux)
  • Assuming your toolchain file is called toolchain.cmake and is in the top of the Player source tree, create a build directory and run CMake:
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../toolchain.cmake ..
  • Build Player:

Old (pre-CMake, using Autotools) instructions

An example to work with

When cross-compiling, the build system is the one where the compiling is happening, and the host system is the one where the compiled program will eventually run. Throughout this document, we'll assume that you your build system is x86-linux (e.g., a Linux workstation or laptop) and that your host system is arm-linux (e.g., a Gumstix). This is probably the most common setup. If your situation is different, then just mentally translate the system-specific names used below.


First, you need an x86-linux to arm-linux toolchain. There are a variety of ways to get a toolchain, including building it yourself from scratch. Unless you're looking to grow hair on your chest, I suggest getting a pre-built toolchain.

The toolchain must include C++ support, since much of Player is written in C++.


Old version of buildroot without graphical menu:

In gumstix-buildroot/Makefile, set INSTALL_LIBSTDCPP:=true.

New version of buildroot with graphical menu:

If you are using a recent version of buildroot, you can activate c++ support in the configuration menu under "toolchain options -> "build/install c++ compiler and libstdc++". You can call the menu using "make menuconfig".

Player uses XDR for data marshaling, so the toolchain also must have a full RPC implementation that includes all the xdr_*() functions, in particular xdr_float() and xdr_double().


Set UCLIBC_HAS_FULL_RPC=y in the uClibc .config file.


Old version of buildroot without graphical menu:

To effect the above change, set UCLIBC_HAS_FULL_RPC=y in gumstix-buildroot/uClibc.config.

New version of buildroot with graphical menu:

1) Go into the gumstix-buildroot folder

2) Add the following two lines


to the configuration file "toolchain_build_arm_nofpu/uClibc-0.9.28/.config"


    cp toolchain_build_arm_nofpu/uClibc-0.9.28/.config target/device/Gumstix/basix-connex/uClibc.config


    rm toolchain_build_arm_nofpu/uClibc-0.9.28/.configured

Removing the .configured file (which is different from the .config file) will cause make to recopy the uClibc.config file and reconfigure/rebuild the runtime library.



That's for all gumstix builroots again:

When you're finished, you can double check to ensure that the xdr routines are present by doing:

    cd build_arm_nofpu/staging_dir/lib
    ../bin/arm-linux-nm libc.a | grep xdr_bytes

and you should see:

    U xdr_bytes
    00000594 T xdr_bytes

Your toolchain will have a bin directory where the cross-compiling executable tools, such as arm-linux-gcc and arm-linux-ld reside. Add this directory to your PATH.

Note: (Gumstix) : These tools are in gumstix-buildroot/build_arm_nofpu/staging_dir/bin.


We'll use the builtin autotools support for cross-compilation. Basic configuration of Player goes like this:

$ ./configure --build=x86-linux --host=arm-linux

The configure script will automatically look for the arm-linux- tools, which should already be in your PATH.

The above configuration will build the default configuration of Player, which means that all drivers that can be built will be included. If you're looking to minimize the footprint of Player for your embedded system, you can enable just the drivers you'll need. For example, when I build Player to control a Roomba that is equipped with a Hokuyo URG laser, I configure it like so:

$ ./configure --build=x86-linux --host=arm-linux --disable-alldrivers --enable-roomba --enable-urglaser

Then only the roomba and urglaser drivers will be included. If you're only using your own plugin drivers, then you wouldn't need to --enable any drivers at all.

The default configuration also uses shared libraries if possible. This can complicate transferring Player to the embedded system because you have to copy a bunch of supporting files. I usually disable shared library support:

$ ./configure --build=x86-linux --host=arm-linux --disable-shared --disable-alldrivers --enable-roomba --enable-urglaser

Then I get a player binary that is statically linked and self-contained.


Assuming configuration went well, all you need to do is:

$ make

One final step to save space is to strip the symbol/debug information out of the binary:

$ arm-linux-strip server/player

Then you're done: scp the binary to the embedded system and start playing with it.

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