Building GHDL from Sources#
GHDL can be downloaded as a tarball/zipfile
or cloned with
git clone from GitHub. GitHub offers HTTPS and SSH as transfer protocols. See the Sources page for
Since GHDL is written in Ada, independently of the code generator you use, a compiler is required. Most GNU/Linux package
gcc-gnat (which could be outdated). Alternatively, GNU Ada compiler, GNAT GPL, can be downloaded
without registration from libre.adacore.com (2014, or later; for x86, 32 or 64 bits).
The download page of GNAT Community Edition provides the latest version (x86, 64 bits), with a graphical installer
chmod +x *.bin and execute it). Alternatively, you can find a link to More packages, platforms, versions and sources
at the bottom of the page, where versions previous to 2018 are available as binaries ready to be installed
(untar and run the doinstall script). In any case, you must add
<GNAT_INSTALL_DIR>/bin to your
v0.37, GHDL’s synthesis features require GCC >=8.1, due to some new GNAT features which are not available in
previous releases. Users with older versions (who don’t need synthesis) can configure GHDL with option
GHDL currently supports three different back-ends (code generators):
mcode - built-in in-memory x86 (or x86_64) code generator
GCC - Gnu Compiler Collection (gcc.gnu.org)
LLVM - Low-Level Virtual Machine (llvm.org)
Here is a short comparison, so that you can choose the one you want to use:
The output of both GCC and LLVM is an executable file, but mcode does not generate any. Therefore, if using GCC/LLVM,
the call with argument
-r can be replaced with direct execution of the binary. See section Simulation.
After making your choice, you can jump to the corresponding section. However, we suggest you to read Directory structure first, so that you know where the content will be placed and which files are expected to be created.
In these instructions, the configure script is executed in the source directory; but you can execute in a different directory too, like this:
$ mkdir ghdl-objs $ cd ghdl-objs $ ../path/to/ghdl/configure ...
On Windows, building GHDL with mcode backend and GNAT GPL 32 bit seems to be the only way to get a standalone native executable straightaway. MINGW/MSYS2 builds depend on the environment/runtime. See #1560.
For MacOS 10.15 (Catalina), see #1368 for workarounds to link failures.
In order to follow the traditional way to
make, you need an Ada compiler.
Depending on the OS and distribution you are using, you will also need to install some toolchain dependencies, such as
To use mcode backend (easiest to build), in the GHDL base directory, configure and build:
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local $ make
At that place, you can already use the ghdl_mcode built in the directory. You can also install GHDL:
$ make install
The executable is installed as ‘ghdl’ in
/usr/local. To install it to a different path, change the
--prefix in the
configure. For example, on Windows, you may want to set it to
--prefix=/c/Program Files (x86)/GHDL.