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Build system – Installation

The build system works on Linux, BSD or MacOSX operating system. A case-sensitive filesystem is required.

It is recommended that you use a Linux distribution (for example Debian), either a standalone installation or one running in a virtual environment (Virtualbox, VMware or Qemu).

Ubuntu under Windows Subsystem for Linux is not an officially supported environment, but it appears to produce good builds. It has been tested and I can confirm that it worked like a charm the first time, certainly better than full Linux system (Ubuntu 18.04) for me. Cygwin(Windows) is NOT supported because the file system isn't case-sensitive.


To generate a flashable firmware image file with default packages, you should have at least 10-15 GB of free disk space (better if more) and at least 2 GB of RAM for the compilation stage.(4GB of RAM are required for compilation of x86 images). Doing additional optimization (for example enabling LTO compile flag) would also increase RAM consumption during build.

The more additional packages you add in the image, the more space is required, but the space requirements should increase slowly, most of the storage requirements are for the build infrastructure and core components of the firmware image.

Do note that these numbers are rough estimates only, you may very well be able to do it with less on some devices, but it's not guaranteed.

Install procedure on Linux

  1. Install git , to conveniently download the source code, and your distro's default build tools metapackage to do the cross-compilation process
  2. Some feeds might not available over git but only via subversion (short: svn) or mercurial. If you want to obtain their source-code, you need to install svn and mercurial as well
  3. Install other prerequisite packages, as indicated in the table and examples below
  4. Set (or unset) proper environment variables:
    • SED should not be set. If it is, run `unset SED` before compiling. (See Ticket 10612.)
    • GREP_OPTIONS should not have –initial-tab or other options affecting its output

Table of known prerequisites

This table contains the package name for each build prerequisite in different GNU/Linux and Unix like distributions.

  • Python on current Debian/Ubuntu distributions is Python 3 and Python 2 is required for the build system (May 2018). It typically may be installed as the python2.7-dev meta-package (or later version, if available).
  • Bleeding edge distros like Archlinux may fail to build base-files if Cryptographically signed package lists in Global build settings is enabled
Prerequisite Debian SUSE Red Hat OS X (via MacPorts) Fedora Arch Gentoo
asciidoc asciidoc asciidoc asciidoc asciidoc asciidoc asciidoc app-text/asciidoc
GNU Bash bash bash bash bash bash bash app-shells/bash
GNU Binutils binutils binutils binutils binutils binutils binutils sys-devel/binutils
bzip2 bzip2 bzip2 bzip2 bzip2 bzip2 bzip2 app-arch/bzip2
flex flexflex flex flex flex flex sys-devel/flex
git git-core git-core git git-core git git dev-vcs/git
GNU C++ Compiler g++ gcc-c++ gcc-c++ ? gcc-c++ gcc sys-devel/gcc
GNU C Compiler gcc gcc gcc ? gcc gcc sys-devel/gcc
GNU Time ? ? ? ? ? ? sys-process/time
getopt util-linux util-linux util-linux getopt util-linux util-linux sys-apps/util-linux
GNU awk gawk gawk gawk gawk gawk gawk sys-apps/gawk
help2man help2man ? ? ? ? ? ?
intltool-update intltool intltool intltool intltool intltool intltool dev-util/intltool
libelf-dev libelf-dev ? ? ? ? ? ?
libz, libz-dev zlib1g-dev zlib-devel zlib-devel zlib zlib-devel zlib sys-libs/zlib
make make make make gmake make make sys-devel/make
ncurses libncurses5-dev ncurses-devel ncurses-devel ncurses ncurses-devel ncurses sys-libs/ncurses
openssl/ssl.h libssl-dev libopenssl-devel openssl-devel openssl openssl-devel openssl dev-libs/openssl
patch patch patch patch patchutils patch patch sys-devel/patch
perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker perl-modules perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker p5-extutils-makemaker perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker perl-extutils-makemaker virtual/perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker
perl-Thread-Queue ? ? ? ? perl-Thread-Queue ? ?
python2-dev python2-dev python-devel ? python2 python-devel python2 dev-lang/python:2
unzip unzip unzip unzip unzip unzip unzip app-arch/unzip
GNU Wget wget wget wget wget wget wget net-misc/wget
xgettext gettext gettext-tools gettext gettext gettext gettext sys-devel/gettext
xsltproc xsltproc libxslt-tools ? libxslt libxslt libxslt dev-libs/libxslt
zlib, zlib-static zlib1g-dev zlib-devel-static zlib-devel zlib-devel zlib-devel,zlib-static zlib sys-libs/zlib (USE=static-libs)

Unfortunately not all dependencies are checked by make config, especially for packages.
You may encounter compile errors because you need a specific library in your system, and the only way is to search the missing library from the compiler error log and see what package contains it in your own distro.
The following table is a partial list of such dependencies:

Package Prerequisite Debian (8) SUSE Red Hat OS X Fedora Arch Gentoo
boost bjam / boost-jam libboost1.55-dev boost-jam boost dev-util/boost-build
intltool [Perl] XML::Parser libxml-parser-perl perl-XML-Parser perl-XML-Parser intltool dev-perl/XML-Parser
libftdi libusb-config libusb-dev libusb-devel libusb dev-libs/libusb-compat
lilo as86,ld86 bin86 dev86 bin86 sys-devel/bin86
lilo bcc bcc dev86 aur/bcc sys-devel/dev86
lilo uudecode sharutils sharutils sharutils app-arch/sharutils
classpath javac, gcj openjdk-7-jdk java-1.7.0-openjdk-devel jdk7-openjdk dev-java/oracle-jdk-bin, sys-devel/gcc[gcj], and one (or both) of dev-java/icedtea-bin:7 and dev-java/icedtea:7
mac80211 b43-fwcutter b43-fwcutter b43-fwcutter net-wireless/b43-fwcutter
jamvm zip zip app-arch/zip

Examples of Package Installations

  • Arch Linux
    pacman -S --needed asciidoc bash bc binutils bzip2 fastjar flex git gcc util-linux gawk intltool zlib make cdrkit ncurses openssl patch perl-extutils-makemaker rsync unzip wget gettext libxslt boost libusb bin86 sharutils b43-fwcutter findutils time
  • Alpine Linux
    apk add asciidoc bash bc binutils bzip2 cdrkit coreutils diffutils findutils flex g++ gawk gcc gettext git grep intltool libxslt linux-headers make ncurses-dev patch perl python2-dev python3-dev tar unzip  util-linux wget zlib-dev
  • Debian 7 Wheezy
    apt-get install libncurses5-dev zlib1g-dev gawk
  • Debian 8 Jessie
    sudo apt-get install build-essential libncurses5-dev gawk git libssl-dev gettext unzip zlib1g-dev file python
  • Debian 9.4 Stretch
    sudo apt install build-essential libncurses5-dev gawk git libssl-dev gettext zlib1g-dev swig unzip time
  • Fedora 24
    dnf install binutils bzip2 gcc gcc-c++ gawk gettext git-core flex ncurses-devel ncurses-compat-libs zlib-devel zlib-static make patch unzip perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker perl-Thread-Queue \
     glibc glibc-devel glibc-static quilt sed sdcc intltool sharutils bison wget openssl-devel
  • Fedora 29
    dnf install @c-development @development-tools @development-libs zlib-static wget python2
  • openSUSE 13.2
    zypper install asciidoc bash bc binutils bzip2 fastjar flex git-core gcc-c++ gcc util-linux gawk intltool zlib-devel mercurial make genisoimage ncurses-devel libopenssl-devel patch perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker python-devel rsync sdcc unzip wget gettext-tools libxslt-tools zlib-devel
  • openSUSE 42.3
    zypper install make patch gcc-c++ git ncurses-devel git-core
  • openSUSE 15
    zypper install make patch gcc-c++ git ncurses-devel git-core
  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
    sudo apt-get install subversion build-essential libncurses5-dev zlib1g-dev gawk git ccache gettext libssl-dev xsltproc zip
  • Centos x86-64 (some packages require EPEL)
    yum install binutils bzip2 gcc gcc-c++ gawk gettext flex ncurses-devel zlib-devel zlib-static make patch unzip perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker glibc glibc-devel glibc-static ncurses-libs sed sdcc intltool sharutils bison wget git-core openssl-devel xz
  • Gentoo
    $ echo \
        app-arch/{bzip2,fastjar,sharutils,unzip,zip} sys-process/time \
        app-text/asciidoc dev-java/{icedtea:7,jikes,oracle-jdk-bin} \
        dev-libs/{libusb-compat,libxslt,openssl} dev-util/intltool \
        dev-vcs/{git,mercurial} net-misc/{rsync,wget} \
        net-wireless/b43-fwcutter sys-apps/{gawk,util-linux} \
        sys-devel/{bc,bin86,binutils,dev86,flex,gcc[gcj],gettext} \
        sys-libs/{ncurses,zlib} virtual/{cdrtools,perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker} \
        x11-libs/gtk+:2 \
            | sed 's/\s/\n/g' \
                | sort \
                    | sudo tee /etc/portage/sets/openwrt-prerequisites \
                        && sudo emerge -DuvNa '@openwrt-prerequisites'
  • Gentoo x86_64 2019 17.1
    $ echo \
        app-arch/{bzip2,sharutils,unzip,zip} sys-process/time \
        app-text/asciidoc \
        dev-libs/{libusb-compat,libxslt,openssl} dev-util/intltool \
        dev-vcs/{git,mercurial} net-misc/{rsync,wget} \
        sys-apps/util-linux sys-devel/{bc,bin86,dev86} \
        sys-libs/{ncurses,zlib} virtual/perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker \
            | sed 's/\s/\n/g' \
                | sort \
                    | sudo tee /etc/portage/sets/openwrt-prerequisites \
                        && sudo emerge -DuvNa '@openwrt-prerequisites'

Downloading Sources

clone the Git repository using one of the following commands.
:!: Do everything as normal user, don't use root user or sudo!
:!: Do not download sources in a directory that has spaces in its parent folders or full path!

Master or HEAD (main development tree)

The development branch contains the latest additions to LEDE, may have experimental or unstable code.

git clone

Note that the LEDE git reference, which may be found in posts and other references, presently redirects to the above URL.

Additional packages can be found in several feeds (Luci, packages, routing, management etc.). The build system will clone the correct feeds later when you update the package feeds.

Specific branches

Each branch contains the baseline code for the release version (e.g. 17.01, 18.06) and the individual releases (e.g. 17.01.1, 17.01.2, 18.06.1, etc). Each branch is intended to contain stable code with carefully selected fixes and updates backported from the development branch.

To use a branch, you should first clone the Git repository using the git clone command shown above. Then move to the branch by using the git checkout command.

For LEDE 17.01:

cd openwrt
git checkout lede-17.01

For OpenWrt 18.06:

cd openwrt
git checkout openwrt-18.06

:!: When changing branches, it is recommended to perform a thorough scrub of your source tree by using the make distclean command. This ensures that your source tree does not contain any build artifacts or configuration files from previous build runs.

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docs/guide-developer/build-system/install-buildsystem.txt · Last modified: 2019/08/19 06:02 by discrucio