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Trolltech to release distributed compilation software for FreeBSD

By Jeremy C. Reed

In June, Trolltech announced that its three-machine distributed compilation software for Linux was available at no charge. Teambuilder uses spare CPU cycles on existing machines to significantly speed software compilations. According to Trolltech, Personal Teambuilder can reduce compile times by approximately 66-percent and even small compile jobs are faster since they are compiled on the fastest machines in the farm.

It is a networked-based utility that doesn't need any kernel or system changes, no NFS, and normally changes to the build system are not needed. Jobs are scheduled intelligently, based on load, job size, and machine speed.

The next version (1.2.0) will be released for FreeBSD also, said Martin Jones, the Teambuilder product manager. It is expected to be released before the end of September.

Brad Hughes, the original developer of the BSD-licensed Blackbox window manager and a developer at Trolltech in Oslo, Norway, uses Teambuilder under FreeBSD. He said he has "built blackbox with Teambuilder many, many times."

He also said that QT has been built with Teambuilder on FreeBSD. And, basically all the applications on Trolltech's FreeBSD developer machines have been built with Teambuilder.

Hughes, who is the FreeBSD Teambuilder maintainer, hasn't used Teambuilder to "build world".

"Theoretically, Teambuilder could be used to build the bootstrap tools," he said. "But the rest of world would still need to be built by the bootstrapped compiler."

The main requirement is to have the GCC C/C++ compiler.

"Since Teambuilder intercepts compiler commands, you can use any tool that invokes the compiler," said Hughes. "On FreeBSD, I have used Teambuilder with GNU make, BSD make and Perforce's jam. Teambuilder even works when invoked from autoconf configure scripts."

Teambuilder also supports cross-compiling. With the current release (1.1.0), all the machines in the farm must be the same operating system. The cross-compilers are named differently from native compilers, like arm-linux-gcc, Jones said.

"This was good for our Zaurus development since we didn't want Zauruses in the Teambuilder farm," Jones said. "We just wanted to target them."

The next release will allow different operating systems in a single farm. This means you can have several compilers named "gcc" on many machines with different operating systems. And the correct compiler -- native or cross-compiler -- will be chosen, Jones said.

So FreeBSD users can compile on a Linux farm.

Currently, Trolltech has two full-time developers and one sysadmin at the Norway office that develop on and use FreeBSD. They haven't tested Teambuilder on NetBSD or OpenBSD. Trolltech said it should run on NetBSD or OpenBSD without any problems.

"We deal with other platforms on a case-by-case basis," said Jones. "For example, we recently did an Irix port for a customer with a large Irix installation."

The free Linux download for Teambuilder is only for three machines in the compiler farm. The commercial editions -- which start at $750 -- are available for larger farms. More information is available at and

(What do you use for distributed, cross-compilation? Share your feedback below.)


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September 16, 2013 11:24:29

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