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Building the Zynq Linux kernel and devicetrees from source

The script method

We provide a script that does automates the build for Zynq using the Linaro toolchain.

The script takes up to 3 parameters, but if left blank, it uses defaults:

  1. <local_kernel_dir> - default is linux-adi if left blank ; use this, if you want to use an already cloned kernel repo
  2. <devicetree_file> - which device tree should be exported/copied from the build ; default is zynq-zc702-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms2-3.dtb for Zynq
  3. <path_to_other_toolchain> - in case you have your own preferred toolchain [other than Linaro's or Xilinx's] you can use override it with this 3rd param

The script will:

  1. clone the ADI kernel tree
  2. download the Linaro GCC toolchain [if no other is specified]
  3. build the ADI kernel tree
  4. export/copy the Image file and device tree file out of the kernel build folder

Running the script in one line [with defaults]

wget && chmod +x && ./ 

Building using Petalinux

Please see here: Building with Petalinux

On the development host

Make sure you have u-boot-tools installed, to have the mkimage utility available. You can install it via your distro's package manager.


git clone

or do a git pull in the existing repository.

Checkout the Release branch

Use the latest release, if not required otherwise!
Release names and Branches
dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ git checkout origin/2019_R2 -b 2019_R2
Branch 2019_R2 set up to track remote branch 2019_R2 from origin.
Switched to a new branch '2019_R2'

Setup cross compile environment variables

There are a few toolchains that can be used. The Xilinx toolchain is recommended, but the Linaro toolchain can also be used.

Other toolchains/compilers for ARM may work as well, but the ones described here have been tested and found to work.

Using the Xilinx toolchain

Release names and Branches Required Vivado/SDK versions
2014_R2 Vivado 2014.2
2015_R2 Vivado 2015.2
2016_R1 Vivado 2015.4.2
2016_R2 Vivado 2016.2
2017_R1 Vivado 2016.4
2018_R1 Vivado 2017.4
2018_R2 Vivado 2018.2
2019_R1 Vivado 2018.3
2019_R2 Vivado 2019.1

Vivado 2019.1 SDK may be installed into a different directory

dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ source $PATH_to_Xilinx/Xilinx/SDK/$SDK_version/
dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ export ARCH=arm
dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ export CROSS_COMPILE="arm-linux-gnueabihf-"
Find the path to the Xilinx installation folder, and then use it to replace this string: $PATH_to_Xilinx that is written above. Same goes for the $SDK_version, where you choose the SDK version.

Using the Linaro toolchain

Alternatively, the Linaro toolchain/compiler can be used to compile to kernel. Linaro compilers (that work with Zynq) can be downloaded from:


tar -xvf gcc-linaro-5.5.0-2017.10-x86_64_arm-linux-gnueabi.tar.xz
export ARCH=arm
export CROSS_COMPILE=$(pwd)/gcc-linaro-5.5.0-2017.10-x86_64_arm-linux-gnueabi/bin/arm-linux-gnueabi-

Configure the kernel

dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ make zynq_xcomm_adv7511_defconfig
# configuration written to .config

Build the kernel

dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ make -j5 UIMAGE_LOADADDR=0x8000 uImage
scripts/kconfig/conf --silentoldconfig Kconfig
  CHK     include/config/kernel.release
  CHK     include/generated/uapi/linux/version.h
  UPD     include/config/kernel.release
  CHK     include/generated/utsrelease.h

[ -- snip --]

  AS      arch/arm/boot/compressed/bswapsdi2.o
  AS      arch/arm/boot/compressed/piggy.gzip.o
  LD      arch/arm/boot/compressed/vmlinux
  OBJCOPY arch/arm/boot/zImage
  Kernel: arch/arm/boot/zImage is ready
  UIMAGE  arch/arm/boot/uImage
Image Name:   Linux-3.17.0-126697-g611e217-dir
Created:      Fri Nov 28 10:20:40 2014
Image Type:   ARM Linux Kernel Image (uncompressed)
Data Size:    3195872 Bytes = 3120.97 kB = 3.05 MB
Load Address: 00008000
Entry Point:  00008000

Build the devicetree FCMOMMS2/3/4/5

Build the one that fits your FPGA carrier and FMC card

zynq-adrv9361-z7035-bob ADRV1CRR-BOB ADRV9361
zynq-adrv9361-z7035-bob-cmos ADRV1CRR-BOB ADRV9361
zynq-adrv9361-z7035-packrf ADRV-PACKRF ADRV9361
zynq-adrv9361-z7035-fmc ADRV1CRR-FMC the on-board ADV7511 and the ADRV9361
zynq-adrv9361-z7035-fmc-rfcard-tdd ADRV1CRR-FMC the on-board ADV7511, ADRV9361 and the AD-PZSDR2400TDD-EB
zynq-adrv9364-z7020-bob ADRV1CRR-BOB ADRV9364
zynq-adrv9364-z7020-bob-cmos ADRV1CRR-BOB ADRV9364
zynq-adrv9364-z7020-packrf ADRV-PACKRF ADRV9364
zynq-mini-itx-adv7511 Mini-ITX the on-board ADV7511
zynq-mini-itx-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms2-3 Mini-ITX on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS2-EBZ or AD-FMCOMMS3-EBZ board
zynq-mini-itx-adv7511-ad9364-fmcomms4 Mini-ITX the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS4-EBZ board
zynq-zc702-adv7511 ZC702 the on-board ADV7511
zynq-zc702-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms2-3 ZC702 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS2-EBZ or AD-FMCOMMS3-EBZ board
zynq-zc702-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms5 ZC702 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS5-EBZ
zynq-zc702-adv7511-ad9364-fmcomms4 ZC702 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS4-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad6676-fmc ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD6676-FMC-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9265-fmc-125ebz ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD9265-FMC-125EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms2-3 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS2-EBZ or AD-FMCOMMS3-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms5 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS5-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms5-ext-lo-adf5355 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS5-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9364-fmcomms4 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS4-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9434-fmc-500ebz ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD9434-FMC-500EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9625-fmcadc2 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCADC2-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-ad9739a-fmc ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the EVAL-AD9739A
zynq-zc706-adv7511-adrv9371 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the ADRV9371 board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-adrv9375 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the ADRV9375 board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-fmcadc4 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCADC4-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-fmcdaq2 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCDAQ2-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-fmcdaq3 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCDAQ3-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-adv7511-fmcjesdadc1 ZC706 the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCJESDADC1-EBZ board
zynq-zc706-imageon ZC706 FMC-IMAGEON
zynq-zed-adv7511 Zed Board the on-board ADV7511
zynq-zed-adv7511-ad9361-fmcomms2-3 Zed Board the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS2-EBZ or AD-FMCOMMS3-EBZ board
zynq-zed-adv7511-ad9364-fmcomms4 Zed Board the on-board ADV7511 and the AD-FMCOMMS4-EBZ board
zynq-zed-adv7511-ad9467-fmc-250ebz Zed Board the on-board ADV7511 and the AD9467-FMC-250EBZ board
zynq-zed-adv7511-cn0363 Zed Board the on-board ADV7511 and the EVAL-CN0363-PMDZ board
zynq-zed-imageon Zed Board FMC-IMAGEON
dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ make zynq-zc702-adv7511-ad9361.dtb
  DTC     arch/arm/boot/dts/zynq-zc702-adv7511-ad9361.dtb

Copy the generated files to your SD Card

dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ cp arch/arm/boot/uImage /media/BOOT/uImage
dave@hal9000:~/github-linux-build/linux$ cp arch/arm/boot/dts/zynq-zc702-adv7511-ad9361.dtb  /media/BOOT/devicetree.dtb

On the target platform

Modifying devicetrees

1. Make sure the boot partition is mounted. On new images, this can be done by right-clicking the boot icon on the desktop and selecting the “Mount Volume” option. The partition will then be mounted at /media/analog/boot.

2. Convert the compiled devicetree related to the target back into an editable format.

dave@hal9000:/media/analog/boot/zynq-zc702-adv7511$ dtc -I dtb -O dts -o devicetree.dts devicetree.dtb

3. Modify the devicetree.dts file as required.

4. Recompile the devicetree file. Note that this will overwrite the original dtb file, copy or rename the original file if you want to keep it before running this step.

dave@hal9000:/media/analog/boot/zynq-zc702-adv7511$ dtc -I dts -O dtb -o devicetree.dtb devicetree.dts

Building the Zynq boot image

The boot image BOOT.BIN is built using the bootgen tool which requires several input files.

Instructions on how to build the Xilinx Shell Archive (XSA) handover file can be found here:

All further steps are lengthy explained on the Xilinx Wiki Page

Use script to build BOOT.BIN

For ease of use, we provide a bash shell script which allows building BOOT.BIN from system_top.xsa and u-boot.elf


The script can be downloaded from here:

NOTE: After downloading the script you need to make it executable

$ chmod +x


usage: system_top.xsa u-boot.elf [output-archive]
  • Path to system_top.xsa and u-boot.elf are required parameters
  • An optionally 3rd name parameter can be given to tar.gz the output directory (name.tar.gz)
  • Build output is located in a local directory named: output_boot_bin
  • This script requires Xilinx Vitis and bootgen in the PATH
    • A simple way is to source vivado settings[32|64].sh:
$ source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/202x.x/
  • When using cygwin, you can add the following in the ~/.bashrc configuration file:
export PATH=$PATH:/cygdrive/c/Xilinx/Vivado/202x.x/bin
export PATH=$PATH:/cygdrive/c/Xilinx/Vitis/202x.x/bin

There is also a version of script that works in Windows Powershell: build_boot_bin.ps1

NOTE: u-boot.elf
For those who don't want to build u-boot themselves.
The u-boot.elf can be extracted from the project folder on the SD Card image, bootgen_sysfiles.tgz

14 Feb 2018 11:33 · Michael Hennerich
resources/tools-software/linux-build/generic/zynq.1623235911.txt.gz · Last modified: 09 Jun 2021 12:51 by Iulia Moldovan