Cross compiling to Raspberry Pi

Please don’t ask for the reasons, but the goal of today’s action was to get a cross compile environment running on Windows OS in order to compile to my RPi3 running Raspbian “jessie” (Raspbian GNU/Linux 8).

I write this blog post as a shortcut for people that like to do the same: Use the resources and comfortable IDE on a PC and do the code writing here, compile, link and finally transfer the executable binary to the Raspberry Pi and execute it there.


Downloaded Eclipse CDT as IDE for C/C++ programming.

Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers
Version: Neon.2 Release (4.6.2)

Precompiled GNU Toolchain for Windows32

Linaro provides several precompiled toolchains. It is up to you to select the right one.

It needs to fit the system architecture on the Raspberry Pi and the remote operating system you are running on (Raspian “jessie”).

There is a list of Linaro releases here:

For Windows32 as host/development system, I chose

Download it and extract it on your windows filesystem.


You additionally need build tools like “make”.

This can be downloaded from here:

Put the buildtool’s bin directory into your Windows PATH environment variable to make sure they are found by Eclipse. You possibly may need to restart Eclipse. If “make” ist not found when compiling some source files, then the reason is probably that the path to the buildtools is not configured properly.

Configuring Eclipse CDT

Create a new C project named “hello_world”, choose project type “Empty Project”. Toolchain “Cgross GCC” should be selected.

If you are ask for “Cross compiler prefix”, you enter


Note: Don’t forget the hyphen (“-“) at the end.

For “Cross compiler path”, navigate to the “bin” directory of your toolchain installation. In my case, it is


Note: There are two bin directories in the toolchain installation. Make sure to select the one that contains binary executables starting with the filename “prefix arm-linux-gnueabihf-“, e.g. “arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc.exe”.

Hello World Application

Create a small hello_world.c file.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

int main() {
    printf("Hello World.\n");

Compile it in Eclipse using Project -> Build All, and that’s it (almost).

00:40:57 **** Build of configuration Debug for project hello_world ****
make all 
Building file: ../hello_world.c
Invoking: Cross GCC Compiler
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc -O0 -g3 -Wall -c -fmessage-length=0 -MMD -MP -MF"hello_world.d" -MT"hello_world.o" -o "hello_world.o" "../hello_world.c"
Finished building: ../hello_world.c
Building target: hello_world
Invoking: Cross GCC Linker
arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc  -o "hello_world"  ./hello_world.o   
Finished building target: hello_world

00:40:59 Build Finished (took 1s.449ms)

Looks good. You can see that arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc was both used for compiling and linking.

Transfer binary executable to Raspberry Pi

The binary is located in the project subfolder debug. Transfer it to the remote Raspberry Pi. Eclipse provides a way to build connections to remote systems using New -> Other -> Remote System Explorer. You can use this to transfer files without having to leave the IDE.

On Rasperry Pi, make the file “executable” and execute it:

pi@rpi3:~ $ chmod u+x hello_world
pi@rpi3:~ $ ./hello_world
Hello World.

Works. Fine. Go to bed now.