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ChromiumOS SDK Creation


The ChromiumOS project has an SDK that provides a standalone environment for building the target system. When you boil it down, it's simply a Gentoo/Linux chroot with a lot of build scripts to simplify and automate the overall build process. We use a chroot as it ends up being much more portable -- we don't have to worry what distro you've decided to run and whether you've got all the right packages (and are generally up-to-date). Most things run inside of the chroot, and we fully control that environment, so ChromiumOS developers have a lot less to worry about. It does mean that you need root on the system, but unfortunately, that cannot be avoided.

This document will cover how the SDK is actually created. It assumes you have a full ChromiumOS checkout already.

Prebuilt Flow

When you run cros_sdk (found in chromite/bin/) for the first time, it automatically downloads the last known good sdk version and unpacks it into the chroot/ directory (in the root of the ChromiumOS source checkout).

That version information is stored in src/third_party/chromiumos-overlay/chromeos/binhost/host/sdk_version.conf:


This is used to look up the tarball in the chromiumos-sdk Google Storage bucket. So with the information above, we know to fetch the file:

With the --update flag enabled, cros_sdk will ensure your chroot was built from the file in sdk_version.conf, and otherwise re-builds your chroot from that version. This behavior is soon to become the default.

Bootstrap Flow

The question might arise: How is the prebuilt SDK tarball created in the first place? There is a pipeline of builders (a.k.a. the "SDK builders") that builds a new version of the SDK tarball, tests it, and updates the SDK version file so that developers and other builders will use the new tarball. The SDK builder pipeline runs twice per day and takes ~4 hours for a successful run.

For a bootstrap starting point, to avoid the case where the SDK itself may have been broken by a commit, the builder uses a pinned known "good" version from which to build the next SDK version. This version is manually moved forward as needed.

We download a copy of the SDK tarball to bootstrap with and setup the chroot environment. This is just using the standard cros_sdk command with its --bootstrap option.

As with the latest SDK version, the bootstrap version of the SDK to use is stored in sdk_version.conf:


This is used to look up the tarball in the chromiumos-sdk Google Storage bucket. So with the information above, cros_sdk knows to fetch the file:

The SDK builder pipeline also creates binpkgs (prebuilt versions of software packages) for all toolchain packages. These are uprevved simultaneously with the SDK: so toolchains binpkgs will be uprevved if and only if a new SDK is uprevved.

If the overall SDK generation fails, or if the newly built SDK cannot build each target ChromeOS architecture, then the pinned SDK version is not updated.


SDKs are built, uprevved, and tested by a pipeline of builders. ("Builders" are automated jobs in the LUCI continuous integration framework.) The overall flow looks like:

  1. The "SDK Builder" (chromeos/infra/build-chromiumos-sdk) creates a new SDK tarball and toolchain binpkgs.
  2. The "SDK Uprevver" (chromeos/pupr/chromiumos-sdk-pupr-generator) creates CLs that will update the source-controlled SDK version file and binpkg files to point to the new SDK. It sends those CLs into the commit queue for testing.
  3. The commit queue launches the "SDK Verifiers": chromeos/cq/chromiumos-sdk-uprev-*-cq, where * is each target architecture that the SDK needs to be able to build. These verifiers each use the new SDK and binpkgs to build images from source on one of our target architectures. If these tests pass, then the uprev CLs will be merged.
  4. As soon as the uprev CLs are merged, the "Remote Latest File Syncer" (chromeos/infra/sync-remote-latest-sdk-file) will copy the new SDK version into the latest cros-sdk-latest.conf file on Google Storage.

Read on for more information about the different builders.

SDK Builder

The SDK builder does the following:

The builder runs the build_sdk recipe, defined at infra/recipes/ It is configured at infra/config/misc_builders/ You can view the latest runs of that builder on MILO.

In addition to the main SDK builder, there are also a few varieties of this builder:

SDK Uprevver

The SDK uprevver uses the PUpr framework (Parallel Uprevs). This tool was originally developed to uprev ebuilds in the ChromiumOS tree, but has been extended to create SDK uprev CLs.

The builder writes CLs to uprev chromiumos/overlays/chromiumos-overlay/chromeos/binhost/host/sdk_version.conf, chromiumos/overlays/chromiumos-overlay/chromeos/config/make.conf.amd64-host, and chromiumos/overlays/board-overlays/overlay-amd64-host/prebuilt.conf so that they point to the newly built SDK and binhosts. It uploads those CLs to Gerrit, and it marks CQ+2.

SDK Verifiers

When the uprevved files run through the CQ, a few builders are started:

Each of these builders will cherry-pick in the uprev CLs, download the newly built SDK, and try to build a ChromeOS image from source.

If all of the verifiers pass, then the uprev CLs will be merged.

Remote Latest File Syncer

There is a Gitiles poller that polls for changes to sdk_version.conf on main. Whenever that file is modified, the poller automatically triggers the builder chromeos/infra/sync-remote-latest-sdk-file.

That file simply reads the new SDK version, and updates the Google Storage file gs://chromiumos-sdk/cros-sdk-latest.conf. Some workflows within Google3 read that file to figure out which SDK to download.

Reverting an SDK uprev

If the SDK uprev lands but causes issues, the correct action for the on-caller is to revert the uprev CLs. Please be aware of the Cq-Depends during the revert.

Running the SDK builder as a developer

Suppose as a developer you have changes (e.g. in chromite/lib) that you wish to test with the SDK builder. To run the entire chromiumos-sdk builder process described above, use cros try:

cros try chromiumos_sdk -g <cl_1>,<cl_2>

where <cl_1> .. <cl_n> are CLs to be run against, formatted as This will run the staging builder, and thus will not actually merge an uprev, unless you use --production. It will work from the main branch unless you use --branch.

It's likely that just building the SDK board locally would be sufficent for most cases. To do that, from ~/chromiumos/src/scripts run: