This chapter covers the details of how to set up a gem5 developmment environment and build gem5.
Requirements for gem5
See gem5 requirements for more details.
On Ubuntu, you can install all of the required dependencies with the following command. The requirements are detailed below.
sudo apt install build-essential git m4 scons zlib1g zlib1g-dev libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler libprotoc-dev libgoogle-perftools-dev python-dev python
- gcc 4.8+
- You may need to use environment variables to point to a
non-default version of gcc.
On Ubuntu, you can install a development environment with
sudo apt install build-essential
- gem5 uses SCons as its build environment. SCons is like make on
steroids and uses Python scripts for all aspects of the build
process. This allows for a very flexible (if slow) build system.
To get SCons on Ubuntu use
sudo apt install scons
- Python 2.7+
- gem5 relies on the Python development libraries. To install
these on Ubuntu use
sudo apt install python-dev
- protobuf 2.1+
- “Protocol buffers are a language-neutral, platform-neutral
extensible mechanism for serializing structured data.” In gem5,
library is used for trace generation and playback.
not a required package, unless you plan on using it for trace
generation and playback.
sudo apt install libprotobuf-dev python-protobuf protobuf-compiler libgoogle-perftools-dev
Boost (Optional) : The Boost library is a set of general purpose C++ libraries. It is a necessary dependency if you wish to use the SystemC implementation.
``` sudo apt install libboost-all-dev ```
Getting the code
Change directories to where you want to download the gem5 source. Then,
to clone the repository, use the
git clone command.
git clone https://gem5.googlesource.com/public/gem5
You can now change directories to
gem5 which contains all of the gem5
Your first gem5 build
Let’s start by building a basic x86 system. Currently, you must compile gem5 separately for every ISA that you want to simulate. Additionally, if using ruby-intro-chapter, you have to have separate compilations for every cache coherence protocol.
To build gem5, we will use SCons. SCons uses the SConstruct file
gem5/SConstruct) to set up a number of variables and then uses the
SConscript file in every subdirectory to find and compile all of the
SCons automatically creates a
gem5/build directory when first
executed. In this directory you’ll find the files generated by SCons,
the compiler, etc. There will be a separate directory for each set of
options (ISA and cache coherence protocol) that you use to compile gem5.
There are a number of default compilations options in the
directory. These files specify the parameters passed to SCons when
initially building gem5. We’ll use the X86 defaults and specify that we
want to compile all of the CPU models. You can look at the file
build_opts/X86 to see the default values for the Scons options. You
can also specify these options on the command line to override any
scons build/X86/gem5.opt -j9
gem5 binary types
The SCons scripts in gem5 currently have 5 different binaries you can build for gem5: debug, opt, fast, prof, and perf. These names are mostly self-explanatory, but detailed below.
- Built with no optimizations and debug symbols. This binary is useful when using a debugger to debug if the variables you need to view are optimized out in the opt version of gem5. Running with debug is slow compared to the other binaries.
- This binary is build with most optimizations on (e.g., -O3), but with debug symbols included. This binary is much faster than debug, but still contains enough debug information to be able to debug most problems.
- Built with all optimizations on (including link-time optimizations on supported platforms) and with no debug symbols. Additionally, any asserts are removed, but panics and fatals are still included. fast is the highest performing binary, and is much smaller than opt. However, fast is only appropriate when you feel that it is unlikely your code has major bugs.
- prof and perf
- These two binaries are build for profiling gem5. prof includes profiling information for the GNU profiler (gprof), and perf includes profiling information for the Google performance tools (gperftools).
The main argument passed to SCons is what you want to build,
build/X86/gem5.opt. In this case, we are building gem5.opt (an optimized binary with debug symbols). We want to build gem5 in the directory build/X86. Since this directory currently doesn’t exist, SCons will look in
build_optsto find the default parameters for X86. (Note: I’m using -j9 here to execute the build on 9 of my 8 cores on my machine. You should choose an appropriate number for your machine, usually cores+1.)
The output should look something like below:
Checking for C header file Python.h... yes Checking for C library pthread... yes Checking for C library dl... yes Checking for C library util... yes Checking for C library m... yes Checking for C library python2.7... yes Checking for accept(0,0,0) in C++ library None... yes Checking for zlibVersion() in C++ library z... yes Checking for GOOGLE_PROTOBUF_VERIFY_VERSION in C++ library protobuf... yes Checking for clock_nanosleep(0,0,NULL,NULL) in C library None... yes Checking for timer_create(CLOCK_MONOTONIC, NULL, NULL) in C library None... no Checking for timer_create(CLOCK_MONOTONIC, NULL, NULL) in C library rt... yes Checking for C library tcmalloc... yes Checking for backtrace_symbols_fd((void*)0, 0, 0) in C library None... yes Checking for C header file fenv.h... yes Checking for C header file linux/kvm.h... yes Checking size of struct kvm_xsave ... yes Checking for member exclude_host in struct perf_event_attr...yes Building in /local.chinook/gem5/gem5-tutorial/gem5/build/X86 Variables file /local.chinook/gem5/gem5-tutorial/gem5/build/variables/X86 not found, using defaults in /local.chinook/gem5/gem5-tutorial/gem5/build_opts/X86 scons: done reading SConscript files. scons: Building targets ... [ISA DESC] X86/arch/x86/isa/main.isa -> generated/inc.d [NEW DEPS] X86/arch/x86/generated/inc.d -> x86-deps [ENVIRONS] x86-deps -> x86-environs [ CXX] X86/sim/main.cc -> .o .... .... <lots of output> .... [ SHCXX] nomali/lib/mali_midgard.cc -> .os [ SHCXX] nomali/lib/mali_t6xx.cc -> .os [ SHCXX] nomali/lib/mali_t7xx.cc -> .os [ AR] -> drampower/libdrampower.a [ SHCXX] nomali/lib/addrspace.cc -> .os [ SHCXX] nomali/lib/mmu.cc -> .os [ RANLIB] -> drampower/libdrampower.a [ SHCXX] nomali/lib/nomali_api.cc -> .os [ AR] -> nomali/libnomali.a [ RANLIB] -> nomali/libnomali.a [ CXX] X86/base/date.cc -> .o [ LINK] -> X86/gem5.opt scons: done building targets.
When compilation is finished you should have a working gem5 executable
build/X86/gem5.opt. The compilation can take a very long time,
often 15 minutes or more, especially if you are compiling on a remote
file system like AFS or NFS.
Wrong gcc version
Error: gcc version 4.8 or newer required. Installed version: 4.4.7
Update your environment variables to point to the right gcc version, or install a more up to date version of gcc. See building-requirements-section.
Python in a non-default location
If you use a non-default version of Python, (e.g., version 2.7 when 2.5 is your default), there may be problems when using SCons to build gem5. RHEL6 version of SCons uses a hardcoded location for Python, which causes the issue. gem5 often builds successfully in this case, but may not be able to run. Below is one possible error you may see when you run gem5.
Traceback (most recent call last): File "........../gem5-stable/src/python/importer.py", line 93, in <module> sys.meta_path.append(importer) TypeError: 'dict' object is not callable
To fix this, you can force SCons to use your environment’s Python
version by running
python `which scons` build/X86/gem5.opt instead
M4 macro processor not installed
If the M4 macro processor isn’t installed you’ll see an error similar to this:
... Checking for member exclude_host in struct perf_event_attr...yes Error: Can't find version of M4 macro processor. Please install M4 and try again.
Just installing the M4 macro package may not solve this issue. You may
nee to also install all of the
autoconf tools. On Ubuntu, you can use
the following command.
sudo apt-get install automake