Setup Toolchain for Mac OS from Scratch


Package Manager

To set up the toolchain from scratch, rather than downloading a pre-compiled toolchain, you will need to install either the MacPorts or homebrew package manager.

MacPorts needs a full XCode installation, while homebrew only needs XCode command line tools.

See Customized Setup of Toolchain section for some of the reasons why installing the toolchain from scratch may be necessary.

Install Prerequisites

  • install pip:

    sudo easy_install pip
  • install pyserial:

    pip install --user pyserial
  • install CMake & Ninja build:

    • If you have HomeBrew, you can run:

      brew install cmake ninja dfu-util
    • If you have MacPorts, you can run:

      sudo port install cmake ninja dfu-util

Compile the Toolchain from Source

  • Install dependencies:

    • with MacPorts:

      sudo port install gsed gawk binutils gperf grep gettext wget libtool autoconf automake make
    • with homebrew:

      brew install gnu-sed gawk binutils gperftools gettext wget help2man libtool autoconf automake make

Create a case-sensitive filesystem image:

hdiutil create ~/esp/crosstool.dmg -volname "ctng" -size 10g -fs "Case-sensitive HFS+"

Mount it:

hdiutil mount ~/esp/crosstool.dmg

Create a symlink to your work directory:

mkdir -p ~/esp
ln -s /Volumes/ctng ~/esp/ctng-volume

Go into the newly created directory:

cd ~/esp/ctng-volume

Download crosstool-NG and build it:

git clone
cd crosstool-NG
git checkout esp-2020r3
git submodule update --init
./bootstrap && ./configure --enable-local && make

Build the toolchain:

./ct-ng xtensa-esp32-elf
./ct-ng build
chmod -R u+w builds/xtensa-esp32-elf

Toolchain will be built in ~/esp/ctng-volume/crosstool-NG/builds/xtensa-esp32-elf. To use it, you need to add ~/esp/ctng-volume/crosstool-NG/builds/xtensa-esp32-elf/bin to PATH environment variable.

Next Steps

To carry on with development environment setup, proceed to Step 2. Get ESP-IDF.