Enable QT developement for i.MX6UL

Document created by Xinyu (eric) Chen Employee on Jan 3, 2017Last modified by Xinyu (eric) Chen Employee on Mar 7, 2017
Version 5Show Document
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v1Initial version

Create a user friendly git repo for the Yocto image build. Which solve the following problems which need manual modification by user.

So you do not need to modify the Yocto source anymore now!

  • Create image bb file: fsl-image-qt5-wayland and fsl-image-qt5-wayland-rel. The first one is almost same as v1 by removing X staffs, only use wayland as compositer and backend, the second image would remove all the development things in rootfs, which reduce the ROOTFS size to < 300MB.
  • Add weston calibration init script into rootfs, which enables the first boot calibrate for the desktop
  • Add gstreamer dependency to the Qtbase and Qtmutlimedia, which would enable the Qtmultimedia integrated with gstreamer for video overlay (this is in the TODO list)

Enabled QCamera viewfinder accelerated by PXP CSC. But QCamera performance is still not good, as camerabin2 and qgstvideorendersink eat too much CPU.


Add a QRScanner app into the release image


Qt is a cross-platform application framework that is widely used for developing application software that can be run on various software and hardware platforms with little or no change in the underlying codebase, while still being a native application with native capabilities and speed. It is running in TV, Car, HMI, 3D Printer, almost covering all of the embedded areas. This document introduces how to setup the development environment to build Qt application, deploy to NXP's i.MX6UL EVK board, and run application on the Linux BSP.

Hardware Requirement

  • PC Host: x86_64 Ubuntu-16.10
  • Target: i.mx6ul 14x14 EVK with LCD pannel
  • Mico-SD card
  • Ethernet cable & USB cable for console & Power adapter


QT one ecosystem provide SDK to build powerful, connected and beautiful applications that run on any screen and across any platform. Here for embedded development, we need the following tools:

  1. Qt Creator IDE
  2. Qt5.6 source code
  3. HOST build toolchain
  4. TARGET build toolchain

Qt Creator is a cross-platform C++, JavaScript and QML integrated development environment which is part of the SDK for the Qt GUI Application development framework. It includes a visual debugger and an integrated GUI layout and forms designer. It can run on both Windows, MacOS and Linux, developer create a Qt application on PC HOST and debug the UI on HOST build with HOST toolchain firstly. When debug completed, developer could use TARGET toolchain to build the application, and deploy the binary to embedded system like i.MX6UL linux.

The HOST toolchain would be downloaded with SDK, but the TARGET toolchain is downloaded by Yocto introduced below.

Setup Ubuntu

The default GCC-6 on Ubuntu 16.10 has issue to build the lzop tools for Yocto, install the GCC-5 and create gcc/g++ link to GCC-5 under /usr/bin.

$ sudo apt-get install gcc-5-base gcc-5-multilib

Install required packages:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential # for g++
$ sudo apt-get install libfontconfig1  # for font config
$ sudo apt-get install libglu1-mesa-dev # for HOST OpenGL

Install Qt SDK

Online or offline installer for Linux version can be found on: https://www.qt.io/download-open-source/#section-2 For example, we download a online one here: http://download.qt.io/official_releases/online_installers/qt-unified-linux-x64-online.run

Grant the executable permission to this binary, and run it.

$ chmod +x qt-unified-linux-x64-2.0.4-online.run
$ ./qt-unified-linux-x64-2.0.4-online.run

If you do not have a QT account, just create one. Otherwise login with your account, then "Next". When the installer asking you to chose the components, please chose the "Qt 5.6" which consistent with the Yocto i.MX target QT version with the "Toolchain" and "Source Components" selected. Also the "Qt Creator" is mandatory like below:



The "Toolchain" is used for HOST build for applications, which you can debug your application on HOST before deploy to target. The "Source Components" contains the opensource code of QT and many examples.

After all the packages downloaded and installed, you can run the Qt Creator by:

$ <Qt install dir>/Tools/QtCreator/bin/qtcreator

You would be able to open the examples in the Qt5.x source code and quickly use the HOST toolchain to build and run a example on PC.

i.MX6UL Yocto BSP

Yocto build

Get the repo, this tool can be download from the following sites:

Please chose the workable one, for China user, the following is workable:

$ curl http://php.webtutor.pl/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/repo > ~/repo 
$ chmod a+x ~/repo $ export PATH=$PATH:~/

Download FSL i.MX Yocto BSP

$ repo init -u https://github.com/muddog/fsl-arm-yocto-bsp-qt.git -b imx-4.1-krogo
$ repo sync

Note: if you're in China, as the android source web is blocked, please use tsinghua repo by adding the following param into repo init:


Setup environment

$ DISTRO=fsl-imx-wayland MACHINE=imx6ulevk source fsl-setup-release.sh -b build

Build rootfs

$ bitbake fsl-image-qt5-wayland

NOTE: Please use the fsl-image-qt5-wayland for this use case of developing applications. Only after you have done all our development, you can use fsl-image-qt5-wayland-rel to generate a small footprint ROOTFS for your product release!

Build the QT5 target toolchain, which would be used on the QTCreator to build and deploy the QT application:

$ bitbake meta-toolchain-qt5

Deploy SDcard image

Deploy the rootfs, and install the cross compile toolchain, cross Qt5 library into HOST used by Qt Creator

$ sh tmp/deploy/sdk/fsl-imx-wayland-glibc-x86_64-meta-toolchain-qt5-cortexa7hf-neon-toolchain-4.1.15-2.0.1.sh

You will find the i.MX6UL uboot/zImage/rootfs(ext4)/sdcard image under: build/tmp/deploy/images/imx6ulevk/. Prepare your SD card, and use the following dd command to deploy whole images:

$ sudo dd if=build/tmp/deploy/images/imx6ulevk/fsl-image-qt5-imx6ulevk.sdcard of=/dev/<sdcard dev>

The Qt5 cross compile tools are installed under: /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/x86_64-pokysdk-linux/. The target configuration files, includes and libs are under opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/cortexa7hf-neon-poky-linux-gnueabi/

Qt Creator configure

Launch Qt Creator, create one project or use the example project and open it.

Configure the cross toolchain

Open the "Build & Run" settings from [Menu] -> [Tools] -> [Options...].

1) Add target Qt5 qmake (deploy before under /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/x86_64-pokysdk-linux/usr/bin/qt5) in the tab of "Qt versions":

2) Add cross compile g++/gcc toolchain:

  • G++: /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/x86_64-pokysdk-linux/usr/bin/arm-poky-linux-gnueabi/arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-g++
  • GCC: /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/x86_64-pokysdk-linux/usr/bin/arm-poky-linux-gnueabi/arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-gcc

3) Add gdb host tool:


4) Add Target Kits under the "Kits" Tab:

Select the correct Compiler/Debugger/Qt version created above. And make sure the "Qt mkspec" is set to linux-arm-gnueabi-g++

Qt mkspec

Update the mksepc file: /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/cortexa7hf-neon-poky-linux-gnueabi/usr/lib/qt5/mkspecs/linux-arm-gnueabi-g++/qmake.conf for the toolchain name (arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-), the --sysroot for linker, and the NEON VFP4 hardware float support (as the toolchain is built for hf). Without this update, the linked library can not be found and the link would failed due to different float-abi usage.

@@ -1,5 +1,5 @@ #
-# qmake configuration for building with arm-linux-gnueabi-g++
+# qmake configuration for building with arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-g++
@@ -11,14 +11,17 @@
# modifications to g++.conf
-QMAKE_CC                = arm-linux-gnueabi-gcc
-QMAKE_CXX               = arm-linux-gnueabi-g++
-QMAKE_LINK              = arm-linux-gnueabi-g++
-QMAKE_LINK_SHLIB        = arm-linux-gnueabi-g++
+QMAKE_CC                = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-gcc
+QMAKE_CXX               = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-g++
+QMAKE_LINK              = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-g++
+QMAKE_LINK_SHLIB        = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-g++
+QMAKE_LFLAGS += --sysroot=/opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/cortexa7hf-neon-poky-linux-gnueabi -mfloat-abi=hard -mfpu=neon-vfpv4
+QMAKE_CXXFLAGS +=  -mfloat-abi=hard -mfpu=neon-vfpv4 
# modifications to linux.conf
-QMAKE_AR                = arm-linux-gnueabi-ar cqs
-QMAKE_OBJCOPY           = arm-linux-gnueabi-objcopy
-QMAKE_NM                = arm-linux-gnueabi-nm -P
-QMAKE_STRIP             = arm-linux-gnueabi-strip
+QMAKE_AR                = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-ar cqs
+QMAKE_OBJCOPY           = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-objcopy
+QMAKE_NM                = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-nm -P
+QMAKE_STRIP             = arm-poky-linux-gnueabi-strip

Configure the remote device

Add one "Generic Linux" device for i.MX6UL EVK board. Input the correct IP address, SSH port and username. Click the "Test" button to test the connection between PC and EVK board.

Configure the project

Build & Run

After done above settings, the projects "Build & Run" configurations would be automatically generated. You can see in the "Run" the default deploy way is using the SFTP to upload image files which mentioned above why we need openssh-sftp-server installed into rootfs. One thing to update is the "Arguments" in the "Run settings", the "-platform wayland" should be added, as we use wayland for Qt's backend.

Build settings:

Run settings:

.pro for build

Modify the [project].pro file:

  • Change the target.path to the target application location you want to download to the board.
  • Add three INCLUDEPATH env for target cross compile headers
  • Add macro defines for VFP and GL usage
target.path = /home/root/audiodevices
INSTALLS += target
INCLUDEPATH += /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/cortexa7hf-neon-poky-linux-gnueabi/usr/include/c++/5.3.0/
INCLUDEPATH += /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/cortexa7hf-neon-poky-linux-gnueabi/usr/include/c++/5.3.0/arm-poky-linux-gnueabi/
INCLUDEPATH += /opt/fsl-imx-wayland/4.1.15-2.0.1/sysroots/cortexa7hf-neon-poky-linux-gnueabi/usr/include/

Everythings is done here, now you can build, run and debug your QT applications on the i.MX6UL EVK board.

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