Drobo

Cross-compiling for DroboFS: ncurses 5.7

Hi everyone,

This is the third post on the cross-compile series for DroboFS.

Introduction: Why ncurses?

Ncurses is one of the most used libraries for command-line software. We’ll use it later on for compiling screen, nano, wget, rtorrent, and so on.

Overall compiling complexity: Hard. Really, this one is a pain in the b***. Do not feel bad if you don’t manage at first, because neither did I.

Step 1: Background info

To be able to make use of this post, you need a VM configured as indicated in this post.

Step 2: Enter the cross-compiling environment

See step 2 of this post to see instructions on how to enter the chroot environment.

Step 3: Get the source code

zlib’s website: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/ncurses/
Version: 5.7
Direct link: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/ncurses/ncurses-5.7.tar.gz

Make sure that you are in the folder /root/code, then type:

wget http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/ncurses/ncurses-5.7.tar.gz tar zxf ncurses-5.7.tar.gz cd ncurses-5.7

Step 4: Configuration

Configuration for ncurses is a bit more complex than for zlib, but nothing crazy:

./configure --host=arm-none-linux-gnueabi --prefix=/usr/arm

This should return no errors.

Step 5: Compiling

Within the folder /root/code/ncurses-5.7:

make

Again, there should be no errors. If any errors are reported, make sure you performed steps 3 and 4 correctly. If you still have errors, make sure that the VM is properly configured (e.g. like I did the first time around, when I got the wrong toolchain, or forgot to ‘export’ the proper compiler flags).

Step 6: Installing

Now, here comes the problem. Until this step everything should be working fine. Here is where things will get complicated.

In summary, we will split the install step in two. The reason for this is that ncurses is not very cross-compile friendly, and thus tries to perform installation steps that are not possible in the cross-compile environment. In fact, if you naively try to just call make install, the process will hang and will be stuck at 100% CPU usage. No way out but to CTRL+C it.

This is not a drobo-only issue, and happens for pretty much all platforms (for the hard-core linux people out there: it seems that the install procedure tries to call the local ‘tic’ instead of the cross-platform one).

Someone with more experience than me will probably find a more elegant solution to this problem, but the way I did was as follows:

nano misc/run_tic.sh

…and comment lines 101 to 140. This means that the following lines should be commented out:

[code]#if test “$ext_funcs” = 1 ; then
#cat <<EOF
#Running tic to install $TERMINFO …

You may see messages regarding extended capabilities, e.g., AX.

These are extended terminal capabilities which are compiled

using

tic -x

If you have ncurses 4.2 applications, you should read the INSTALL

document, and install the terminfo without the -x option.

#EOF
#if ( $SHLIB tic$suffix -x -s -o $TERMINFO $source )
#echo $SHLIB tic$suffix -x -s -o $TERMINFO $source
#then

echo '** built new '$TERMINFO

#else

echo '? tic could not build '$TERMINFO

exit 1

#fi
#else
#cat <<EOF
#Running tic to install $TERMINFO …

You may see messages regarding unknown capabilities, e.g., AX.

These are extended terminal capabilities which may be compiled

using

tic -x

If you have ncurses 4.2 applications, you should read the INSTALL

document, and install the terminfo without the -x option.

#EOF
#if ( $SHLIB tic$suffix -s -o $TERMINFO $source )
#then

echo '** built new '$TERMINFO

#else

echo '? tic could not build '$TERMINFO

exit 1

#fi
#fi
[/code]

In other words, we remove all calls to tic.

Now we can do the traditional install step:

make install

…which will place the compiled library and some extra stuff under /usr/arm.

Then we package the whole /usr/arm and copy it over to the DroboFS, as indicated on step 9 here.

We are not done yet, though. The final steps are:
[list=1]
[]Copy the file /root/code/ncurses-5.7/misc/terminfo.tmp (edit: fixed path) to /mnt/DroboFS/Shares/DroboApps/arm, or to /mnt/DroboApps/arm/ if you have the DroboFS share mounted locally (edit: added local mount path).
[
]Within an SSH session on the DroboFS, execute:

cd /mnt/DroboFS/Shares/DroboApps/arm tic -x -s -o /usr/arm/share/terminfo terminfo.tmp
[/list]

This will perform the remaining steps to install ncurses.

Congratulations!

Now you can cross-compile any application that uses ncurses, since the required headers are libraries are present in /usr/arm both in the VM and on the Drobo.

As usual, corrections, feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Changelog:
Oct 3rd: Fixed comment section, terminfo.tmp source path and added path for DroboFS share mount. Thanks to ZenCocoon for the feedback.

Hi Ricardo,

Looks like you get an echo $SHLIB tic$suffix -x -s -o $TERMINFO $source left in misc/run_tic.sh I guess that was for debug

As well, in step 6, after the make install, step 1

the path to terminfo.tmp miss ncurses and the destination can be directly on the mounted point, it could then be done with:

cp /root/code/ncurses-5.7/misc/terminfo.tmp /mnt/DroboApps/arm/

Hope that helps making you tutorials even better.
So far for me it has been a real time saver and got me zlib + ncurses installed

Thanks again,

Sébastien Grosjean - ZenCocoon

Thanks for the feedback. The How-to has been updated accordingly.

Cheers,
Ricardo