Since I decided to cross-compile AROS projects from Linux, I needed a couple of things. I still needed to install hosted AROS in Debian. And since I would be cross-compiling anyway, I figured it made sense to download the AROS source and build it. Even if I don’t use my local build of AROS, it would ensure the toolchain was working and give me yet another playground to hack around in.
Let me tell you, I am so glad that I made that decision. I had several wrong turns and I have no idea how long it would have taken me without the assistance of several developers that hang out on aros-exec and the #aros FreeNode irc channel. I would list names, but I’d probably forget to mention someone. You know who you are. Thank you! 🙂
Most of the difficulties that I faced involved not having all of the necessary packages installed. For a beginner, that means figuring out which package needs to be installed and how to install it. For that, I am again grateful for questions answered on aros-exec and for the apt-get package manager used by Debian. Most Linux developers or admins will probably roll their eyes at me, but I think apt-get is awesome. Being primarily a Windows developer, I’m not used to package/library deployment that is so slick and efficient. You don’t have to worry about how the package is installed or manually install it yourself. The main issue now is figuring out which package to install. And for that, there is apt-file.
I also had a lot of difficulty grasping the file and directory structure, in particularly the three distinct structures and how they relate and work with one another: AROS native, AROS source code tree, and AROS hosted.
That last one slowed me down because I could not figure out how to launch AROS hosted. Even using a nightly build rather than my own, I couldn’t figure it out. I had one misunderstanding about the location of boot\AROSBootstrap, which I did not figure out until a couple of days later, again with the help of an answer posted on aros-exec.
Luckily, once I figured out my mistake, everything else fell into place mentally. Not only did I finally launch AROS hosted in Debian, the build launched was built locally on my machine just a couple of hours earlier. 🙂
So it has been an exciting week! I now have a full Linux development environment. I’m working on configuring similar environments for hosted OS X and MinGW. I’ve gone from only being able to get Icaros Desktop installed and running to getting the source code, building AROS, and running the new build right there in Debian. I’m happy.
Another aspect to my challenge of successfully building AROS is a shell script that I wrote to assist with the repeated build attempts. But that deserves a post of it’s own (coming soon).