GNU Toolchain for Embedded Development: Build or Buy?

Version 4

    Increasingly, embedded software developers are choosing the GNU toolchain for open source development.The GNU toolchain contains an optimizing compiler targeting most embedded processors. The toolchain also supports programming in C, C++, assembly language, and compiler and linker extensions which are specifically designed to assist embedded programmers. Further, support for multiple target platforms makes porting code between processors simpler since developers can use the same tools on multiple platforms. Mentor® Embedded Sourcery™ CodeBench, a complete, reliable, and convenient GNU toolchain offers today’s software developers all of these advantages. Of course, the core components of the toolchain (an IDE, C compiler, C++ compiler, assembler, linker, debugger, and other tools) are available as open source software, so developers have the option of building the toolchain themselves. But deciding to use the GNU toolchain, one has to make a “build vs. buy” decision: should you build all the components yourself, or should you buy a pre-built toolchain like Sourcery CodeBench? This whitepaper presents some of the technical issues involved in building and validating the toolchain. By considering these issues, developers will be better able to decide whether they can commit the resources required to “do it yourself.”