The programs are run through compilers, which change them from text to executable format. The same computer code cannot be transported across numerous systems once a program has been compiled because it becomes platform-dependent. A compiler that must be manually installed on each system takes up a lot of room. If the use of a single system is not possible, it is also difficult to transfer the same computer code to different platforms. A distinct compiler must be installed for each language. For this reason, we need a cross-compiler.
A cross-compiler is a compiler that can generate executable code for platforms other than the one on which it is running. To compile code for multiple platforms from a single development host, a cross-compiler is useful. On the target platform, direct compilation might not be feasible, for instance, on embedded systems with constrained computing power. Source-to-source and cross-compilers are different from one another. While a source-to-source compiler converts text code from one coding language to another, a cross-compiler creates machine code for cross-platform software. To convert a source code file into some binary code that could be run on the same computer that you were generating it on, you would typically use a compiler. Contrarily, a cross-compiler generates code for different processor architecture than the one you are now using.
How does cross-compilation work?
The process of compiling code for one computer system (commonly referred to as the target) on another system (referred to as the host) is known as cross-compilation. When the destination system is too small to accommodate the compiler and all necessary files, for example, it is a very helpful strategy. Numerous embedded systems, as well as traditional game consoles, serve as common examples.
Uses of Cross Compiler
- Enthusiasts who use cross compilers that run on a modern platform (such as Aztec C's MS-DOS 6502 cross compilers running on Windows XP) to create native code for emulators for older, now-obsolete platforms such as the Commodore 64 or Apple II.
- Assembling code for many machines is an use of it. For instance, a business might want to support various operating system versions or a variety of operating systems. A single-build environment can be set up to compile for each of these targets by employing a cross-compiler. The process of compiling code for one computer system (commonly referred to as the target) on another system (referred to as the host) is known as cross-compilation. When the destination system is too small to accommodate the compiler and all necessary files, for example, it is a very helpful strategy. Numerous embedded systems, as well as traditional game consoles, serve as common examples.
- Computers that are embedded and have very few resources. A microwave oven, for example, has a tiny computer that reads the keypad and door sensor, outputs to a digital display and speaker, and controls the microwave to cook food. In general, this computer is incapable of running a file system, a compiler, or a development environment.
- Transitioning from an old platform is also a use of it. When developing software for a new platform or an emulator of a future platform, a cross-compiler is used to create necessary tools such as the operating system and a native compiler.
- Using a server farm to compile is a use of it. A complex build involving numerous compile operations can be carried out on any free machine, regardless of the underlying hardware or the operating system version that it is running, in a manner similar to compiling for multiple machines.
What is the Cross Compilation for ARM?
In order to build binaries for architectures other than its own, a cross-compiler must be used, such as when building ARM binaries for Intel's x86 processor. A "cross compiler" produces code for one environment while running in another. Code is produced by a "native compiler" for its own execution environment.
Why is Cross-Compiling Hard?
"Designing a compiler that targets the platform it runs on is substantially easier than building a cross-compiler." The way libraries are created and accessed is the cause of the issue. Normally, all of the libraries are kept in one place and are accessed by all of the apps on the system.
Difference between Compiler and Cross Compiler
Native compilers are those that produce code specifically for the platform on which they are running. It transforms complex language into the computer's native tongue. For instance, GCC compiler, or Turbo C. A cross-compiler creates executable code for platforms other than the one it is now running on. For instance, a compiler running on a Linux/x86 machine creates a program that will execute on an independent Arduino/ARM.