Yocto Project


The Yocto Project, or more commonly just called Yocto, is a build system used to create custom Linux distributions for embedded systems. It is important to note that it is not a Linux distribution itself, but a collection of tools to generate a custom Linux distribution for your specific embedded hardware.

The logo for the Yocto project.

Child Pages

This page explains the purpose of all the Yocto build output files.
Developing And Remote Debugging Python App On Yocto Linux Build
ContentsOverviewAdding Python, SSH and sudo To The Linux ImageAdd Password To Root UserSetup Deployment In PyCharmAdd Remote Interpreter To PyCharm Overview This tutorial uses PyCharm as the IDE. Adding Python, SSH and sudo To The Linux Image First, you will need to make sure all the right stuff is installed on the Linux image you build using Yocto. We … Continue reading Developing And Remote Debugging Python App On Yocto Linux Build
Device Trees
How to convert from a Yocto generated binary (.dtb) device tree file to a human-readable (.dts) device tree file.
How To Add A Custom App To A Yocto Build
A step-by-step walk-through on how to add your own source code/application to a custom build of embedded Linux using Yocto. This includes making a "Hello, World" application, creating a new Yocto layer, making a new recipe and starting a Linux build.
A tutorial on how to write Yocto recipes, including how to build code from remote Git repositories, licenses, and how to make patches.
Using CMake With The SDK
Step-by-step instructions on how to setup and build a CMake-based project using the Yocto SDK. Useful for when you want to compile either an executable or binary for the Yocto target system using CMake.

Quick Start

This is a Yocto “Quick Start”, aimed to get you familiar with the basics of the Yocto and building a embedded Linux image in no time!

This quick start has been tested with Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit, running in VMWare on a Windows host (the free VirtualBox VM should also work fine).

NOTE: Give your VM a ton of hard drive space, memory and processors. You will be building Linux from source code, and this is very resource intensive! I gave the VM 120GB hard drive space (grows as needed), 8GB memory and 8 processors.

Yocto has it’s own quick start guide at http://www.yoctoproject.org/docs/2.2.1/yocto-project-qs/yocto-project-qs.html. However, I have has problems with this, including errors such as:

Install Prerequisites

Run the following bash command:

Clone Yocto’s poky Repository

poky is a Yocto project release. As of April 2017, this is the most recent release. Run the following command, which should clone poky into ~/poky/.

Checkout The Correct Branch Of poky

Now change into the poky directory:

Switch to the morty branch:

(with new versions of git, this will automatically set it up to track origin/morty).

Initialise Build Environment

Before you can start a Linux build, you need to initialise the Yocto build environment. This can be done with the following command:

After running this command, you should of automatically been moved into the poky/build/ directory.

This command needs to be re-run everytime your environment variables get reset (e.g. everytime you login).

Build Linux

We’re almost at Linux building time! We won’t touch any of the config files for now, and just build Linux using Yocto’s default settings. Run the following command (from the poky/build/ directory):

Now go grab a coffee. Or better yet, take your family out to a restaurant for a nice meal. This is going to TAKE A WHILE

An embedded Linux build in progress (using Yocto), note the CPU usage!

Make sure your computer is not set to go to sleep/shutdown after 1-2 hours of activity, otherwise you might find the build won’t complete!

Yocto will calculate all dependencies, download them, and compile! (make sure you have an o.k. internet connection).

You can safely ignore (usually)   most of the orange “Failed to fetch URL…” warnings that pop-up as the build progresses, as Yocto can attempt to download them from other sources.

After the build was complete, Yocto had used about 35GB of hard drive memory. The output build images should be in poky/build/tmp/deploy/images/. You can now test out the Linux image you just built by running it in QEMU:

This should load up a separate window, and display a GUI of the Linux image you just built.

Running the finished Yocto build in QEMU (an emulator).

The Project Configuration File

The main configuration for a Yocto project is located at poky/build/conf/local.conf.

Moving The Entire Yocto Project Directory Somewhere Else

Moving the entire Yocto project directory isn’t as straightforward as you might think (e.g. moving or renaming the poky folder). Because Yocto stores a small but non-zero amount of information in the project using absolute paths (gasp!), moving/renaming this folder will break a build (assuming a build has already been completed at least once, if not, you’re o.k.!).

You will probably receive an error message along the lines of:


Oh no! I have to rebuild? But that took hours! Luckily, you can fix this without having to do a complete rebuild. Upon receiving this error, open up the poky/build/tmp/saved_tmpdir file in a text editor, and update the path to the new location (the path should be the only thing in this file).

You should now be able to run bitbake ... without any errors, and without having to restart the build from scratch.

Adding A SSH Server

A SSH server can be a very useful thing to have in a embedded Linux build. It enables things such as scp (secure copy, allowing you to copy files between the embedded device to a development computer over the internet).

You should be able to add a SSH server by adding the following line to your build/conf/local.conf file.

Add Python To A Build

Add the following line of code to your build/conf/local.conf file:

Add Boost To A Build

Add the following line of code to your build/conf/local.conf file:

When adding boost, it is work recreating the SDK so that you have the available libraries for cross-compiling.

Disabling sanity Checks

Although not recommended, sometimes it is necessary to disable the sanity checks. This can be done by commenting out the out the INHERIT += "sanity" line from the file meta/conf/sanity.conf, so it looks like the following:

This will disable all sanity checks, including:

  • Do not use Bitbake as root 
  • Error, TMPDIR has changed location 
  • The TMPDIR: <path> can't be located on nfs.