Cross compile Mono from source for the Omega2 and Omega2+
In this thread I will explain how to compile the latest Mono from source for the Onion Omega2 and Omega2+, including some things to customize Mono for your needs.
Mono compilation consists of two things
- Native code (C Code). The main program, virtual execution system, garbage collector etc.
- Managed code (C# Code). The Mono Library.
The first thing you will need to compile is the main program written in C. After you have done this, you can compile the Library (C#). Under normal circumstances you can do both in one make command. That only works when you are compiling on the device itself. In this tutorial I will use a cross toolchain to compile the main program for the Omega2. Mono does not support compiling managed code when cross compiling. For that you will need the Linux host on which you are cross compiling or a different Linux host to compile the managed code. After compilation is done you can just copy the C# library from the Linux host.
I used the following Linux distro for cross compiling
- Linux host: Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS
I used the following cross toolchain for cross compiling
- LEDE SDK (Cross toolchain):
Step 1. Compile Mono on the Linux host
I used the following working directory
The first step is to compile Mono on the Linux host. Go to the working directory
Download and install all the necessary packages
sudo apt-get install subversion g++ zlib1g-dev build-essential git python libncurses5-dev gawk gettext unzip file libssl-dev wget libtool-bin autoconf cmake
Clone the mono source
git clone –recursive https://github.com/mono/mono
Change to mono directory
Configure and make mono
./autogen.sh --prefix=/ && make
Create directory for exporting mono installation
Make install Mono
make install DESTDIR=/home/project/BuildHost
Now you have a full working Mono installation for your Linux host. We only need the library
Clean up source directory
Step 2. Cross Compile mono for Omega2
Then we will build the main program for the Omega2.
Create the cross toolchain environment. For that you will need the cross toolchain binaries from the LEDE SDK directory. In my case
export CROSS=/home/project/lede-sdk-17.01.0-ramips-mt7688_gcc-5.4.0_musl-1.1.16.Linux-x86_64/staging_dir/toolchain-mipsel_24kc_gcc-5.4.0_musl-1.1.16/bin/mipsel-openwrt-linux export CC=$CROSS-gcc export CXX=$CROSS-g++ export CPP=$CROSS-cpp export AR=$CROSS-ar export AS=$CROSS-as
Ok so the cross toolchain environment is set up. At this point you will need to tweak the configure script so that it forces to use __thread as Thread Local Storage for Mono. The configure script automatically selects pthread instead of __thread. The reason for doing this is because the standard garbage collector for mono, sgen does not support pthread. Normally you can select boehm as the alternative garbage collector, but since boehm doesn’t support the musl library used for the Omega2 there is no other choice then to tweak the configure script. Also using the option --with-tls=__thread with the configure script doesn’t work. So tweaking it is. Fortunately __thread works just fine on the Omega2.
Tweak the configure script
sed -i -- 's/with_tls=pthread/with_tls=__thread/g' configure configure.ac
What I could not figure out was this error when I was cross compiling Mono
In file included from mono-context.c:10:0: mono-context.c: In function 'mono_sigctx_to_monoctx': ../../mono/utils/mono-sigcontext.h:480:73: error: request for member 'fp_r' in something not a structure or union # define UCONTEXT_FPREGS(ctx) (((ucontext_t *)(ctx))->uc_mcontext.fpregs.fp_r.fp_dregs) ^ mono-context.c:448:24: note: in expansion of macro 'UCONTEXT_FPREGS' mctx->sc_fpregs[i] = UCONTEXT_FPREGS (sigctx) [i]; ^ mono-context.c: In function 'mono_monoctx_to_sigctx': ../../mono/utils/mono-sigcontext.h:480:73: error: request for member 'fp_r' in something not a structure or union # define UCONTEXT_FPREGS(ctx) (((ucontext_t *)(ctx))->uc_mcontext.fpregs.fp_r.fp_dregs) ^ mono-context.c:460:3: note: in expansion of macro 'UCONTEXT_FPREGS' UCONTEXT_FPREGS (sigctx) [i] = mctx->sc_fpregs[i]; ^
If you have suggestions on how to fix this, comment it please. I have been working on this error for quite some time. It has to do with the musl library used with the Mips architecture. It compiles normally when glibc library is used.
For now just remove the lines which gives the make error.
sed -i '/# define UCONTEXT_FPREGS(ctx)/c\' mono/utils/mono-sigcontext.h sed -i '/UCONTEXT_FPREGS (sigctx)/c\' mono/utils/mono-context.c
Then you can configure Mono. Because boehm doesn’t work we can disable it. At this point you can select which features you want to use with Mono. I highly recommend to create a small footprint since the Omega2 does not have much space. You can of course expand the root partition with a USB flash drive or a MicroSD card and use a completer version of Mono. In this tutorial I will explain how to build a small footprint
Configure mono with small footprint
./autogen.sh --prefix=/ --enable-minimal=aot,profiler,debug,logging --host=mipsel-openwrt-linux --enable-small-config=yes --with-shared_mono=no --with-static_mono=yes --disable-mcs-build --without-mcs-docs --with-moonlight=no --disable-boehm
Then make mono with optimization for size
Create directory for exporting Omega2 Mono installation
Export Omega2 Mono installation
make install DESTDIR=/home/project/BuildOmega
Change to BuildOmega directory
Remove include and share. We don’t need those
rm -r include share
Change to bin directory
Remove all binaries except mono and mono-sgen
mv mono mono-sgen ../ rm * mv ../mono ../mono-sgen .
Then strip the mono binary
Change to lib directory
Strip some libraries
Remove unnecessary files and directories
rm *.la *.a rm -r pkgconfig mono
Now we can copy the .NET library to the Mono Omega build directory
If size doesn’t matter (chuckle), just merge the whole directory
/home/project/BuildOmega/lib/monoso that it has the complete mono library.
Or just choose which .NET features you want to use and copy those to
I will explain how to create a very small library, almost equal to Debian’s mono-runtime
cd /home/project/BuildHost/lib/mono mv 4.5 gac ../ rm -r * mv ../4.5 ../gac . cd 4.5 mv cert-sync.exe gacutil.exe I18N.dll I18N.West.dll Mono.Security.dll mscorlib.dll System.Configuration.dll System.dll System.Security.dll System.Xml.dll ../ rm -r * mv ../cert-sync.exe ../gacutil.exe ../I18N.dll ../I18N.West.dll ../Mono.Security.dll ../mscorlib.dll ../System.Configuration.dll ../System.dll ../System.Security.dll ../System.Xml.dll . cd ../gac mv I18N I18N.West Mono.Security System System.Configuration System.Security System.Xml ../ rm -r * mv ../I18N ../I18N.West ../Mono.Security ../System ../System.Configuration ../System.Security ../System.Xml . rm I18N/184.108.40.206*/*.pdb I18N.West/220.127.116.11*/*.pdb Mono.Security/18.104.22.168*/*.pdb System/22.214.171.124*/*.pdb System.Configuration/126.96.36.199*/*.pdb System.Security/188.8.131.52*/*.pdb System.Xml/184.108.40.206*/*.pdb
Then copy the library to the BuildOmega directory
cp -R /home/project/BuildHost/lib/mono /home/project/BuildOmega/lib/mono
You can then copy the contents of /home/project/BuildOmega to the root of your Omega2(+).
This is how you compile Mono for the Omega2. If there are any questions, please ask them in the comments.
Thanks for sharing this info, very valuable!
Is there a chance to share also some more info regarding your C# projects that you run with this mono (.NET version, environment, compiling, library compatibility issues, etc)?
Would love to hear more on C# on Omega Onion!
I wonder is it achievable to build a .NET app using Visual Studio (.NET Core?) that could handle HTTP requests (Kestrel/WebListener or even HttpServer for non-core), manage Omega GPIO and I2C bus as well as managing other native OpenWRT processes outside the mono (e.g. madplay).
So far I didn't have any problems running a few .NET applications on the Omega. Will look further on this subject. I also looked at .NET core but could not manage to compile it for the Omega. As far as I know and described in the git repository, Core supports only a few CPU architectures but not MIPS unfortunately.