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.. SPDX-License-Identifier: CC-BY-SA-2.0-UK
eSDK Introduction
Welcome to the Yocto Project Application Development and the Extensible
Software Development Kit (eSDK) manual. This manual
explains how to use both the Yocto Project extensible and standard
SDKs to develop applications and images.
All SDKs consist of the following:
- *Cross-Development Toolchain*: This toolchain contains a compiler,
debugger, and various associated tools.
- *Libraries, Headers, and Symbols*: The libraries, headers, and
symbols are specific to the image (i.e. they match the image
against which the SDK was built).
- *Environment Setup Script*: This ``*.sh`` file, once sourced, sets up the
cross-development environment by defining variables and preparing for
SDK use.
Additionally, an extensible SDK has tools that allow you to easily add
new applications and libraries to an image, modify the source of an
existing component, test changes on the target hardware, and easily
integrate an application into the :term:`OpenEmbedded Build System`.
You can use an SDK to independently develop and test code that is
destined to run on some target machine. SDKs are completely
self-contained. The binaries are linked against their own copy of
``libc``, which results in no dependencies on the target system. To
achieve this, the pointer to the dynamic loader is configured at install
time since that path cannot be dynamically altered. This is the reason
for a wrapper around the ``populate_sdk`` and ``populate_sdk_ext``
Another feature of the SDKs is that only one set of cross-compiler
toolchain binaries are produced for any given architecture. This feature
takes advantage of the fact that the target hardware can be passed to
``gcc`` as a set of compiler options. Those options are set up by the
environment script and contained in variables such as
:term:`CC` and
:term:`LD`. This reduces the space needed
for the tools. Understand, however, that every target still needs its own
sysroot because those binaries are target-specific.
The SDK development environment consists of the following:
- The self-contained SDK, which is an architecture-specific
cross-toolchain and matching sysroots (target and native) all built
by the OpenEmbedded build system (e.g. the SDK). The toolchain and
sysroots are based on a :term:`Metadata`
configuration and extensions, which allows you to cross-develop on
the host machine for the target hardware. Additionally, the
extensible SDK contains the ``devtool`` functionality.
- The Quick EMUlator (QEMU), which lets you simulate target hardware.
QEMU is not literally part of the SDK. You must build and include
this emulator separately. However, QEMU plays an important role in
the development process that revolves around use of the SDK.
In summary, the extensible and standard SDK share many features.
However, the extensible SDK has powerful development tools to help you
more quickly develop applications. Following is a table that summarizes
the primary differences between the standard and extensible SDK types
when considering which to build:
| *Feature* | *Standard SDK* | *Extensible SDK* |
| Toolchain | Yes | Yes [1]_ |
| Debugger | Yes | Yes [1]_ |
| Size | 100+ MBytes | 1+ GBytes (or 300+ |
| | | MBytes for minimal |
| | | w/toolchain) |
| ``devtool`` | No | Yes |
| Build Images | No | Yes |
| Updateable | No | Yes |
| Managed Sysroot [2]_ | No | Yes |
| Installed Packages | No [3]_ | Yes [4]_ |
| Construction | Packages | Shared State |
.. [1] Extensible SDK contains the toolchain and debugger if :term:`SDK_EXT_TYPE`
is "full" or :term:`SDK_INCLUDE_TOOLCHAIN` is "1", which is the default.
.. [2] Sysroot is managed through the use of ``devtool``. Thus, it is less
likely that you will corrupt your SDK sysroot when you try to add
additional libraries.
.. [3] You can add runtime package management to the standard SDK but it is not
supported by default.
.. [4] You must build and make the shared state available to extensible SDK
users for "packages" you want to enable users to install.
The Cross-Development Toolchain
The :term:`Cross-Development Toolchain` consists
of a cross-compiler, cross-linker, and cross-debugger that are used to
develop user-space applications for targeted hardware; in addition,
the extensible SDK comes with built-in ``devtool``
functionality. This toolchain is created by running a SDK installer
script or through a :term:`Build Directory` that is based on
your metadata configuration or extension for your targeted device. The
cross-toolchain works with a matching target sysroot.
The native and target sysroots contain needed headers and libraries for
generating binaries that run on the target architecture. The target
sysroot is based on the target root filesystem image that is built by
the OpenEmbedded build system and uses the same metadata configuration
used to build the cross-toolchain.
The QEMU Emulator
The QEMU emulator allows you to simulate your hardware while running
your application or image. QEMU is not part of the SDK but is
automatically installed and available if you have done any one of
the following:
- cloned the ``poky`` Git repository to create a
:term:`Source Directory` and sourced the environment setup script.
- downloaded a Yocto Project release and unpacked it to
create a Source Directory and sourced the environment setup
- installed the cross-toolchain tarball and
sourced the toolchain's setup environment script.
SDK Development Model
Fundamentally, the SDK fits into the development process as follows:
.. image:: figures/sdk-environment.png
:align: center
The SDK is installed on any machine and can be used to develop applications,
images, and kernels. An SDK can even be used by a QA Engineer or Release
Engineer. The fundamental concept is that the machine that has the SDK
installed does not have to be associated with the machine that has the
Yocto Project installed. A developer can independently compile and test
an object on their machine and then, when the object is ready for
integration into an image, they can simply make it available to the
machine that has the Yocto Project. Once the object is available, the
image can be rebuilt using the Yocto Project to produce the modified
You just need to follow these general steps:
1. *Install the SDK for your target hardware:* For information on how to
install the SDK, see the ":ref:`sdk-manual/using:installing the sdk`"
2. *Download or Build the Target Image:* The Yocto Project supports
several target architectures and has many pre-built kernel images and
root filesystem images.
If you are going to develop your application on hardware, go to the
:yocto_dl:`machines </releases/yocto/yocto-&DISTRO;/machines/>` download area and choose a
target machine area from which to download the kernel image and root
filesystem. This download area could have several files in it that
support development using actual hardware. For example, the area
might contain ``.hddimg`` files that combine the kernel image with
the filesystem, boot loaders, and so forth. Be sure to get the files
you need for your particular development process.
If you are going to develop your application and then run and test it
using the QEMU emulator, go to the
:yocto_dl:`machines/qemu </releases/yocto/yocto-&DISTRO;/machines/qemu>` download area. From this
area, go down into the directory for your target architecture (e.g.
``qemux86_64`` for an Intel-based 64-bit architecture). Download the
kernel, root filesystem, and any other files you need for your
.. note::
To use the root filesystem in QEMU, you need to extract it. See the
":ref:`sdk-manual/appendix-obtain:extracting the root filesystem`"
section for information on how to do this extraction.
3. *Develop and Test your Application:* At this point, you have the
tools to develop your application. If you need to separately install
and use the QEMU emulator, you can go to `QEMU Home
Page <>`__ to download and learn about
the emulator. See the ":doc:`/dev-manual/qemu`" chapter in the
Yocto Project Development Tasks Manual for information on using QEMU
within the Yocto Project.
The remainder of this manual describes how to use the extensible and
standard SDKs. There is also information in appendix form describing
how you can build, install, and modify an SDK.