Advanced Build

In this section, we provide the gory details that may be handy to know if you are contributing to or developing for Redox.

Setting up your Environment

If you intend on contributing to Redox or its subprojects, please read Creating a Proper Pull Request so you understand our use of forks, and set up your repository appropriately.

Although it is strongly recommended you use the Building Redox process or Podman Build instead of the process described here, advanced users may accomplish the same as the script with the following steps, which are provided by way of example for Pop!_OS/Ubuntu/Debian. For other platforms, have a look at the file to help determine what packages to install for your distro.

Be forewarned, for distros other than Pop!_OS/Ubuntu/Debian, neither nor this document are fully maintained, as the recommended environment is Podman. The core redox-os developers use Pop!_OS to build Redox. We recommend using Pop!_OS for repeatable zero-painpoint Redox builds.

The steps to perform are

Clone the repository

Create a directory and clone the repository.

mkdir -p ~/tryredox
cd ~/tryredox
git clone --origin upstream --recursive
cd redox
git submodule update --recursive --init

Please be patient, this can take 5 minutes to an hour depending on the hardware and network you're running it on.

In addition to installing the various packages needed for building Redox, and both clone the repository, so if you used either script, you have completed Step 1.

Install Pre-Requisite Packages and Emulators

If you cloned the source tree before running, you can use

cd ~/tryredox/redox
./ -d

to install the package dependencies without re-fetching any source. If you wish to install the dependencies yourself, some examples are given below.

Pop!_OS/Ubuntu/Debian Users:

Install the package dependencies:

sudo apt-get install autoconf autopoint bison build-essential cmake curl file \
        flex genisoimage git gperf m4 nasm pkg-config po4a \
        libc6-dev-i386 libexpat-dev libfuse-dev libgmp-dev \
        libhtml-parser-perl libpng-dev libtool syslinux-utils texinfo

Install an emulator:

sudo apt-get install qemu-system-x86


sudo apt-get install virtualbox

If you intend to include Rust in your filesystem config, or any of the games with graphics,

sudo apt-get install libsdl1.2-dev ninja-build meson python3-mako

Arch Linux Users:

sudo pacman -S cmake fuse git gperf perl-html-parser nasm wget texinfo bison flex po4a rsync inetutils

Fedora/Redhat/Centos Linux Users:

sudo dnf install cmake make nasm qemu pkg-config fuse-devel gperf perl-HTML-Parser po4a automake gcc gcc-c++ glibc-devel.i686
sudo dnf install gettext-devel bison flex libtool perl-Pod-Xhtml libpng-devel patch texinfo  perl-FindBin

MacOS Users using MacPorts:

sudo port install make nasm qemu qemu-system-x86_64 gcc7 pkg-config osxfuse x86_64-elf-gcc coreutils findutils gcc49 gcc-4.9 nasm pkgconfig osxfuse x86_64-elf-gcc cmake

MacOS Users using Homebrew:

brew install automake bison gettext libtool make nasm qemu gcc@7 pkg-config Caskroom/cask/osxfuse
brew install redox-os/gcc_cross_compilers/x86_64-elf-gcc

Install Rust Stable And Nightly

Install Rust, make the nightly version your default toolchain, then list the installed toolchains:

curl -sSf | sh


source ~/.cargo/env
rustup default nightly
rustup toolchain list
cargo install --force --version 0.3.20 xargo
cargo install --force --version 0.1.1 cargo-config

NOTE: xargo allows Redox to have a custom libstd

NOTE: ~/.cargo/bin has been added to your PATH for the running session.

The line . "$HOME/.cargo/env (equivalent to source ~/.cargo/env) will have been added to your shell start-up file, ~/.bashrc, but you may wish to add it elsewhere or modify it according to your own environment.


The tools that build Redox are specific to each processor architecture. These tools are located in the directory prefix, in a subdirectory named for the architecture, e.g. prefix/x86_64-unknown-redox. If you have problems with these tools, you can remove the subdirectory or even the whole prefix directory, which will cause the tools to be re-downloaded or rebuilt. The variable PREFIX_BINARY in mk/ controls whether they are downloaded or built.


The Cookbook system is an essential part of the Redox build system. Each Redox component package is built and managed by the Cookbook toolset. The variable REPO_BINARY in mk/ controls whether the packages are downloaded or built. See Including Programs in Redox for examples of using the Cookbook toolset. If you will be developing packages to include in Redox, it is worthwhile to have a look at the tools in the cookbook directory.

Creating a Build Environment Shell

If you are working on specific components of the system, and will be using some of the tools in the cookbook directory and bypassing make, you may wish to create a build environment shell. This shell includes the prefix tools in your path. You can do this with:

make env

This command also works with Podman Build, creating a shell in Podman and setting PATH to include the necessary build tools.

Updating The Sources using make pull

cd ~/tryredox/redox
make pull

Changing the filesystem size and contents

You can modify the size and contents of the filesystem for emulation and livedisk as described in Configuration Settings.

Next steps

Once this is all set up, we can finally Compile! See Compiling The Entire Redox Project.