Frequently asked questions


  • Q: How to change heap and stack size in baremetal applications?

    A: To change size of heap in baremetal applications the following option should be specified to the linker: --defsym=__DEFAULT_HEAP_SIZE=${SIZE}, where ${SIZE} is desired heap size, in bytes. It also possible to use size suffixes, like k and m to specify size in kilobytes and megabytes respectively. For stack size respective option is --defsym=__DEFAULT_STACK_SIZE=${STACK_SIZE}. Note that those are linker commands - they are valid only when passed to “ld” application, if gcc driver is used for linking, then those options should be prefixed with -Wl. For example:

    $ arc-elf32-gcc -Wl,--defsym=__DEFAULT_HEAP_SIZE=256m \
      -Wl,--defsym=__DEFAULT_STACK_SIZE=1024m --specs=nosys.specs \
      hello.o -o hello.bin

    Those options are valid only when default linker script is used. If custom linker script is used, then effective way to change stack/heap size depends on properties of that linker script - it might be the same, or it might be different.

  • Q: Linker fails with error: ``undefined reference to `_exit’``. Among other possible functions are also _sbrk, _write, _close, _lseek, _read, _fstat, _isatty.

    A: Function _exit is not provided by the libc itself, but must be provided by the libgloss, which is basically a BSP (board support package). Currently two libgloss implementations are provided for ARC: generic libnosys and libnsim which implements nSIM IO hostlink. In general libnosys is more suitable for hardware targets that doesn’t have hostlink support, however libnsim has a distinct advantage that on exit from application and in case of many errors it will halt the core, while libnosys will cause it to infinitely loop on one place. To use libnsim, pass option --specs=nsim.specs to gcc at link stage. If you are a chip or board developer, then it is likely that you would want to implement libgloss specific to your hardware.

  • Q: I’ve opened hs38.tcf and gcc options include ``-mcpu=hs34``. Why hs34 instead of hs38?

    A: Possible values of -mcpu= options are orthogonal to names of IPlib templates and respective TCF. GCC option -mcpu= supports both hs34 and hs38 values, but they are different - hs38 enables more features, like -mll64 which are not present in hs34. ARC HS IPlib template hs38 doesn’t contain double-word load/store, therefore -mcpu=hs38 is not compatible with this template. -mcpu=hs34, however, is compatible and that is why TCF generator uses this value. See Understanding GCC -mcpu option for a full list of possible -mcpu values and what IPlibrary templates they correspond to.


  • Q: There are ``can’t resolve symbol`` error messages when using gdbserver on Linux for ARC target

    A: This error message might appear when gdbserver is a statically linked application. Even though it is linked statically, gdbserver still opens library using dlopen() function. There is a circular dependency here, as expects several dynamic symbols to be already defined in the loading application (gdbserver in this case). However statically linked gdbserver doesn’t export those dynamic symbols, therefore dlopen() invocation causes those error messages. In practice there haven’t been noticed any downside of this, even when debugging applications with threads, however that was tried only with simple test cases. To fix this issue, either rebuild gdbserver as a dynamically linked application, or pass option --with-libthread-db=-lthread_db to configure script of script. In this case gdbserver will link with libthread_db statically, instead of opening it with dlopen() and dependency on symbols will be resolved at link time.

  • Q: GDB prints an error message that ``XML support has been disabled at compile time``.

    A: GDB uses Expat library to parse XML files. Support of XML files is optional for GDB, therefore it can be built without Expat available, however for ARC it usually required to have support of XML to read target description files. Mentioned error message might happen if GDB has been built without available development files for the Expat. On Linux systems those should be available as package in package manager. If Expat development files are not available for some reason, then pass option --no-system-expat to - with this option script will download and build Expat on it’s own. That is especially useful when cross compiling for Windows hosts using Mingw, if development files of Expat are not available in the used Mingw installation.

ARC Development Systems

  • Q: How to reset ARC SDP board programmatically (without pressing “Reset” button)?

    A: It is possible to reset ARC SDP board without touching the physical button on the board. This can be done using the special OpenOCD openocd:

    $ openocd -f test/arc/reset_sdp.tcl

    Note that OpenOCD will crash with a segmentation fault after executing this script - this is expected and happens only after board has been reset, but that means that other OpenOCD scripts cannot be used in chain with reset_sdp.tcl, first OpenOCD should be invoked to reset the board, second it should be invoked to run as an actual debugger.

  • Q: Can I program FPGA’s in ARC EM Starter Kit or in ARC SDP?

    OpenOCD has some support for programming of FPGA’s over JTAG, however it is not officially supported for ARC development systems.

  • Q: When debugging ARC EM core in AXS101 with Ashling Opella-XD and GDBserver I get an error messages and GDB shows that all memory and registers are zeroes

    A: Decrease a JTAG frequency to no more than 5MHz using an Ashling GDBserver option --jtag-frequency. This particular problem can be noted if GDBserver prints:

    Error: Core is running (unexpected), attempting to halt...
    Error: Core is running (unexpected), attempting to halt...
    Error: Unable to halt core

    While GDB shows that whole memory is just zeroes and all register values are also zeroes.