==== Installing musl ====
musl may be installed either as an alternate C library alongside the
existing libraries on a system, or as the primary C library for a new
or existing musl-based system.
First, some prerequisites:
- A C99 compiler with gcc-style inline assembly support, support for
weak aliases, and support for building stand-alone assembly files.
gcc 3.x and 4.x are known to work. pcc and LLVM/clang may work but
are untested, and pcc is known to have some bugs.
- GNU make
- Linux, preferably 2.6.22 or later. Older versions are known to have
serious bugs that will make some interfaces non-conformant, but if
you don't need threads or POSIX 2008 features, even 2.4 is probably
- A supported CPU architecture (currently i386, x86_64, arm, or mips).
- If you want to use dynamic linking, it's recommended that you have
permissions to write to /lib and /etc. Otherwise your binaries will
have to use a nonstandard dynamic linker path.
== Option 1: Installing musl as an alternate C library ==
In this setup, musl and any third-party libraries linked to musl will
reside under an alternate prefix such as /usr/local/musl or /opt/musl.
A wrapper script for gcc, called musl-gcc, can be used in place of gcc
to compile and link programs and libraries against musl.
To install musl as an alternate libc, follow these steps:
1. Configure musl's build with a command similar to:
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/musl --exec-prefix=/usr/local
Refer to ./configure --help for details on other options. You may
change the install prefix if you like, but DO NOT set it to a
location that contains your existing libraries based on another
libc such as glibc or uClibc. If you do not intend to use dynamic
linking, you may disable it at this point via --disable-shared and
cut the build time in half. If you wish to use dynamic linking but
do not have permissions to write to /lib, you will need to set an
alternate dynamic linker location via --syslibdir.
2. Run "make". Parallel build is fully supported, so you can instead
use "make -j3" or so on SMP systems if you like.
3. Run "make install" as a user sufficient privileges to write to the
4. Create a file named /etc/ld-musl-$ARCH.path (where $ARCH is
replaced by i386, x86_64, etc. as appropriate) containing the
correct colon-delimited search path for where you intend to install
musl-linked shared library files. If this file is missing, musl
will search the standard path, and you will encounter problems when
it attempts to load libraries linked against your host libc. Note
that this step can be skipped if you disabled dynamic linking.
After installing, you can use musl via the musl-gcc wrapper. For
cat > hello.c <<EOF
To configure autoconf-based program to compile and link against musl,
you may wish to use:
CC="musl-gcc -D_GNU_SOURCE" ./configure ...
Correctly-written build systems should not need -D_GNU_SOURCE as part
of $CC, but many programs do not use feature-test macros correctly and
simply assume the compiler will automatically give them the kitchen
sink, so the above command is an easy workaround.
You will probably also want to use --prefix when building libraries to
ensure that they are installed under the musl prefix and not in the
main host system library directories.
Finally, it's worth noting that musl's include and lib directories in
the build tree are setup to be usable without installation, if
necessary. Just modify the the paths in the spec file used by musl-gcc
(it's located at $prefix/lib/musl-gcc.specs) to point to the
== Option 2: Installing musl as the primary C library ==
In this setup, you will need an existing compiler/toolchain. It
shouldnt matter whether it was configured for glibc, uClibc, musl, or
something else entirely, but sometimes gcc can be uncooperative,
especially if the system distributor has built gcc with strange
options. It probably makes the most sense to perform the following
steps inside a chroot setup or on a virtualized machine with the
filesystem containing just a minimal toolchain.
WARNING: DO NOT DO THIS ON AN EXISTING SYSTEM UNLESS YOU REALLY WANT
TO CONVERT IT TO BE A MUSL-BASED SYSTEM!!
1. If you are just upgrading an existing version of musl, you can skip
step 1 entirely. Otherwise, move the existing include and lib
directories on your system out of the way. Unless all the binaries
you will need are static-linked, you should edit /etc/ld.so.conf
(or equivalent) and put the new locations of your old libraries in
the search path before you move them, or your system will break
badly and you will not be able to continue.
2. Configure musl's build with a command similar to:
./configure --prefix=/usr --disable-gcc-wrapper
Refer to ./configure --help for details on other options.
3. Run "make" to compile musl.
4. Run "make install" with appropriate privileges.
5. If you are using gcc and wish to use dynamic linking, find the gcc
directory containing libgcc.a (it should be something like
/usr/lib/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.3.5, with the arch and version
possibly different) and look for a specs file there. If none
exists, use "gcc -dumpspecs > specs" to generate a specs file. Find
the dynamic linker (/lib/ld-linux.so.2 or similar) and change it to
"/lib/ld-musl-$ARCH.so.1" (with $ARCH replaced by your CPU arch).
At this point, musl should be the default libc. Compile a small test
program with gcc and verify (using readelf -a or objdump -x) that the
dynamic linker (program interpreter) is /lib/ld-musl-$ARCH.so.1. If
you're using static linking only, you might instead check the symbols
and look for anything suspicious that would indicate your old glibc or
uClibc was used.
When building programs against musl, you may still want to ensure the
appropriate feature test macros get defined, as in:
CC="gcc -D_GNU_SOURCE" ./configure ...