ARM Cross-Compilation

Table of Contents

The following guide will demonstrate how to set up an ARM cross-compilation environment in Kali Linux. This guide is the starting point for many of our contributed “Custom ARM Images” articles.

You’ll need to have root privileges to do this procedure, or the ability to escalate your privileges with the command “sudo su”.

Setting Up Your Development Box

Compiling kernels and generating images usually comes at the cost of disk space. Make sure you have at least 50 GB of disk space available on your Kali development machine as well as ample RAM and CPU juice.

Install Dependencies

Start off by installing the required dependencies for ARM cross-compilation:

kali@kali:~$ sudo apt install -y git-core gnupg flex bison gperf libesd0-dev build-essential zip curl libncurses5-dev zlib1g-dev gcc-multilib g++-multilib

If you are running a 64-bit Kali Linux system, add i386 architecture support to your development environment as follows:

kali@kali:~$ dpkg --add-architecture i386
kali@kali:~$ sudo apt update
kali@kali:~$ sudo apt install -y ia32-libs

Download Linaro Toolchain

Download the Linaro cross-compiler from our Git repository:

kali@kali:~$ cd ~/
kali@kali:~$ mkdir -p arm-stuff/kernel/toolchains/
kali@kali:~$ cd arm-stuff/kernel/toolchains/
kali@kali:~$ git clone git://

Set Environment Variables

To use the Linaro cross-compiler, you will need to set the following environment variables in your session:

kali@kali:~$ export ARCH=arm
kali@kali:~$ export CROSS_COMPILE=~/arm-stuff/kernel/toolchains/gcc-arm-eabi-linaro-4.6.2/bin/arm-eabi-

Now your ARM cross-compilation environment is complete and you can proceed with building your own ARM kernels as described in the article on preparing a Kali Linux ARM chroot.

Updated on: 2023-Jun-30
Author: steev