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A toolchain is a complete collection of compiler and binutils programs and can be run either as a cross-compiler, or native on the target (if performance allows).

Pre-built/Build Kits


MIPS Technologies UK maintains their own source tree for the toolchain components. SDE combines all necessary GNU tools, is infrequently resynchronized with mainstream GNU releases (which inevitably have bugs for less widely used architectures such as MIPS) and focuses on supporting the full range of ISAs, ASEs and cores, as well as providing the most reliable, best-performing compiler for the largest range of MIPS CPUs. See MIPS SDE Installation.

Maciej W. Rozycki

A stable set of toolchain components provided by Maciej can be downloaded from or the mirror at This is based on gcc 2.95.3 (patched) and up-to-date binutils.

Dan Kegel

Dan Kegel has a page at with a nice script to automatize the build procedure. Crosstool can only generate toolchains that use the GNU C Library, support for the smaller C Library uClibc might be added in the future.


H.J.Lu distributes a toolchain as part of his Red Hat 7.1 port. It can be found at . This toolchain-20020423-1.rpm is based on the RedHat's GCC 2.96, binutils 2.13 and glibc 2.2.5 .

uClibc Toolchain and Buildroot

uClibc developers provide tools to generate toolchains and root filesystems with the uClibc standard C library.

The Toolchain tool allows to generate a toolchain for a variety of architectures, including MIPS and MIPSel.

The Buildroot tool allows to generate both a toolchain and a root filesystem for a variety of architectures, including MIPS and MIPSel. Using a configuration tool (similar to the one used for the Linux Kernel), you can select compiler version, binutils version, and all softwares that should be included in the root filesystem. Then the Makefiles will automatically download, configure, compile, install and generate the toolchain and the root filesystem image.

Steven J. Hill

Steven J. Hill has a set of glibc/uClibc cross-toolchains over at: [1]


The OpenEmbedded meta distribution also includes an automatic build of a full cross-toolchain for it's target architecture.


DENX Software Engineering provides the ELDK (Embedded Linux Development Kit), which includes both cross development and native tools for big and little endian MIPS processors (also for ARM and PowerPC). As it is Free Software it can be downloaded for FREE. See

Gentoo crossdev

Gentoo provides a tool for creating full cross-compiling toolchains for a number of targets. On any Gentoo system, set up PORTAGE_OVERLAY in make.conf, then emerge crossdev to install it. Using a small startup shell script, these toolchains can be used with distcc as well, to allow distribution of a compile job over a cluster.

Commercial Toolchains

All commercial Linux/MIPS distributions come with appropriate toolchain deliverables.


You're adverse to using someone else's toolchains, and cannot remember how to build one yourself, no matter how hard you try. Fear not. Outlined here is the proceedure to build a bootstrap toolchain; one which is minus the C library and is just enough to build the kernel.


What you'll need:

Now, export a few environment variables for your convenience. If you're building for big-endian MIPS, your TARGET should be mips-unknown-linux-gnu instead. If you wish to install to a different location other than /opt/cross/, substitute in your PREFIX accordingly. A common alternative is /usr/local/.

% export WDIR=/tmp
% export TARGET=mipsel-unknown-linux-gnu
% export PREFIX=/opt/cross

You'll need to re-export your PATH with the new install location so when building a bootstrap gcc, it may locate the shiny new cross-binutils:

% export PATH="${PATH}":${PREFIX}/bin

Now change to the staging directory:

% cd $WDIR
% mkdir ${TARGET}-toolchain  && cd ${TARGET}-toolchain


Extract, configure, build and install:

% tar xjf binutils-2.16.1.tar.bz2
% mkdir build-binutils && cd build-binutils
% ../binutils-2.16.1/configure --target=$TARGET --prefix=$PREFIX
% make
% make install
% cd ..

You should now have the cross-binutils installed under ${PREFIX}/bin/ with names prefixed by mipsel-unknown-linux-gnu-* (or mips-unknown-linux-gnu-* if you're building for big-endian MIPS).


Extract, configure, build and install a bootstrap GCC.

Enable any other language front-ends as you see fit. For building the kernel however, you can get away with just the C language front-end. Also, tell the configure script not to look for target libc headers -- we don't have them, and don't need them at this point.

% tar xjf gcc-3.4.4.tar.bz2
% mkdir build-gcc-bootstrap && cd build-gcc-bootstrap
% ../gcc-3.4.4/configure --target=$TARGET --prefix=$PREFIX \
  --enable-languages=c --without-headers \
  --disable-shared --disable-threads 
% make -j2
% make install
% cd ..


You'll need this for debugging either the kernel (with KGDB) or userspace (natively or with gdbserver). If this doesn't apply in your case, you may safely skip this section.

Extract, configure, build and install:

% tar xjf gdb-6.3.tar.bz2
% mkdir build-gdb && cd build-gdb
% ../gdb-6.3/configure --target=$TARGET --prefix=$PREFIX
% make
% make install
% cd ..


Your shiny new toolchain should be in your PATH, given you re-exported it earlier. Otherwise, you'll need to prefix your PATH with:

% ${PREFIX}/bin/mipsel-unknown-linux-gnu-

or for a big-endian target:

% ${PREFIX}/bin/mips-unknown-linux-gnu-


See also