Compiling KOS on Linux

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Revision as of 15:22, 30 August 2016 by Bogglez (talk | contribs) (Install script)
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This tutorial is a step-by-step guide on how to setup a toolchain and KOS environment on your GNU/Linux system.

The toolchain consists of a C/C++ compiler (GCC), assembler and linker (binutils), and C library (newlib). As the Dreamcast has two processors - the SH4 CPU and the AICA (ARM) sound processor - the toolchain includes compilers for both.

KOS consists of the operating system core (kos) and a set of nicely integrated libraries (kos-ports).

Install script

Please consider trying this install script first: File:Kos setup It will perform the steps below automatically.


You need the following software installed:

  • git
  • make (build-essential package)
  • tar/gzip/bzip2
  • gcc/g++ (Debian packages gcc-4.9 + g++-4.9 or 4.7 are recommended, 4.8 and 5+ are buggy)
  • development packages of libjpeg and libpng
  • patch
  • wget

Downloading KOS

KOS is available through a Git repository at SourceForge. The standard install directory assumed in the configuration files is /opt/toolchains/dc/{kos, kos-ports}.

$ git clone git:// /opt/toolchains/dc/kos

Toolchain (cross-compiler and libraries)

After cloning the KOS repository, run the toolchain download+unpack+compile scripts:

$ cd /opt/toolchains/dc/kos/utils/dc-chain
$ sh
$ sh

For compilation of the cross-compiler and system libraries, GCC version 4.8 and 5+ are known to cause issues, so please specify version 4.9 or 4.7 after installing the package gcc-4.9 and g++-4.9 (or 4.7). The erase=1 will delete temporary files after a successful build.

$ CC=gcc-4.9 CXX=g++-4.9 make erase=1

After this command completes successfully you have a working cross-compiler for Dreamcast and can compile KOS next.

Setting up KOS

You should read the documentation in the kos/doc directory for details, but here are the basic steps required to set up the KOS environment:

Go into the kos directory and copy the template configuration:

$ cp /opt/toolchains/dc/kos/doc/ /opt/toolchains/dc/kos/ 

Now edit to match your installation. If you use the default installation directory you don't need to change anything.

Execute the following command to set the KOS environment variables:

$ source /opt/toolchains/dc/kos/

Remember to do this every time you want to use the KOS environment in a newly opened shell. Dont't forget to run the above command again when editing

Now we are finally ready to compile KOS itself. In the kos directory, run:

$ cd /opt/toolchains/dc/kos 
$ make


KOS-Ports is a repository with commonly used libraries for development on the DC, like PNG or MP3 loading.

Clone the repository:

$ git clone --recursive git:// /opt/toolchains/dc/kos-ports

Compile all KOS-ports using the build-all script

$ sh /opt/toolchains/dc/kos-ports/utils/

Now you should have a working Dreamcast development environment :-)

Check out the examples in the KallistiOS directory to find out how to use KOS in your own projects!